Kia unites opposites with big, bold digitized EV9 SUV
Kia plans to introduce its production three-row flagship electric SUV, the EV9, later this month. Ahead of the full reveal, it's released a rather complete exterior walk-around and an interior preview via a series of bright, clean pictures. The new all-electric utility shares the 2021 concept's boxy, angular styling but gets a revised face and some alterations inside.
Kia calls the design strategy woven into the EV9's DNA "Opposites United," explaining that its design team has worked to temper the SUV's aura of all-terrain ruggedness with the clean sophistication of an all-electric vehicle.
The design sticks more closely to the Concept EV9 than we would have expected, carrying over the flat roofline, sharply cut glasshouse and polyhedral side volumes. Its large wheel-tire combo is also topped by the same style of half-octagonal wheel arches.
The whole thing looks almost like a LEGO interpretation of a modern SUV – something that's sure to attract its fair share of opinions from every angle.
Where the design breaks away from its conceptual preview just a little is at the front. Kia still adorns it with something called a "Digital Tiger Face," but this time it features a broader lighting structure with larger headlamps that incorporate stacked-cube LED daytime running lights.
Kia has focused most of its concept-to-production polishing inside the EV9. The cockpit still has the effect of floating components, but they've been fleshed out with the addition of physical controls and integrated into the greater structure in a less skeletal way.
The design maintains its digital emphasis, focusing the driver's attention on a high-definition widescreen instrument panel that's technically two 12.3-in displays joined within a continuous body.
The EV9 rides on Kia's Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) and maintains a spacious cabin thanks to the flat EV architecture and a long wheelbase. Buyers will be able to choose between six- and seven-seat three-row configurations, promising comfortable amounts of personal space for all occupants. The first two rows will include reclining seats, and the second-row seats will also be capable of swiveling 180 degrees, camper van-style, so that passengers can interact with those in the third row.
Kia is saving additional details for the EV9's full debut later this month. The Concept EV9 brought the promise of a 300-mile (483-km) range and 25-minute (10 to 80%) 350-kW ultra-fast charging, so we'll see if the production model follows suit.