Kia EV9 Reveal: South Korea’s G-Wagen Rival Finally Unveiled

Including our first look at the car's luxurious interior.

Kia EV9 Reveal: South Korea’s G-Wagen Rival Finally Unveiled

The wait is over: Kia has finally lifted the covers off their hotly anticipated new flagship vehicle… And we like what we see.

It’s fair to say that hype levels around the Kia EV9 are pretty high. The second model in Kia’s “EV” electric car range after the impressive Kia EV6 – a sporty, mental sedan-like crossover that easily ranks as one of the best electric vehicles on the market – the EV9 is a large, high-riding luxury SUV that promises to be Korea’s eco-friendly answer to the Toyota Land Cruiser or Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

Late last year, Kia released official shots of the EV9 undergoing low-friction, off-road and skidpan testing in South Korea – although the EV9 remained heavily camouflaged. In February 2023, spy shots emerged of uncamouflaged prototype EV9s driving on public roads in Chile and Germany.

Now, Kia has finally put us out of our misery and shown us what the final production version of the EV9 will look like, as well as giving us our first look yet at the car’s interior. Here are our key takeaways from the reveal.

True-to-concept exterior

The Kia EV9 is refreshingly faithful to its concept car’s design – a rarity in the auto industry.

We got our first look at the Kia EV9 at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show with the Concept EV9: a concept car that even by concept car standards, really caused a stir at the show. Boxy yet futuristic with huge rear suicide doors and massive rims, it was a real stunner and statement of intent from Kia.

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What’s rather exciting is that the production EV9 doesn’t diverge much from the concept car – in all the areas that count, at least. While the final EV9 lacks the rear suicide doors and camera-only wing mirrors of the concept car, all the key design cues have survived the move from concept to production car.

Other differences from the concept car include chunkier four-spoke rims in place of the concept’s triangular three-spoke design, a slightly smaller front ‘grille’ and a more conventional headlight enclosure.

The production car has also gained roof rails and crucially, door handles. Yeah, you might need those on a production car…

A truly luxurious interior

The Kia EV9’s cockpit is very modern, but approachable.

Now, for what we haven’t seen before: the Kia EV9’s interior. Our first impression is that it looks pretty good – it’s very modern but doesn’t seem unnecessarily complicated. The single-piece instrument cluster and infotainment panel are a good look (it’s similar to current BMW designs but Kia’s design seems a bit better executed) but thankfully, it seems there are still buttons for all the important stuff.

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This reveal also confirms that the EV9 has three rows of seating for a total of six passengers – all the seats are very generous but the tradeoff there is that you don’t get a middle seat in the middle row, with the middle row seats being captain’s chairs.

Indeed, the middle row seats can actually rotate 180 degrees, which means your four rear passengers can sit and face each other. It will also aid ingress and egress for middle-row passengers, as well as being a pretty cool feature that few SUVs on the market have these days.

With all the back-row seats down, there’s a truly cavernous amount of space in the rear of the EV9. We’ll have to await an official capacity figure, but you can safely assume it’ll exceed 1,300L.

The rotating captain’s chairs are a fun touch.

We’re not in love with this grey colour scheme, however – it might not date that well. Presumably, you’ll be able to get an EV9 with a slightly sleeker black interior.

Kia EV9 specs

Built on the same e-GMP platform as the Kia EV6, Genesis GV60, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the forthcoming Ioniq 6, the EV9 is projected to have a driving range of around 483km as well as a 5-second 0-100km/h time. A high ride height and boxy dimensions mean it’s probably pretty good off-road, too.

We’re still awaiting the final specifications for the vehicle locally.

Similarly, Kia Australia hasn’t released pricing yet but we can safely assume you probably won’t have much change from $100,000 (or indeed, you might even need more dosh than that to get behind the wheel of one).