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Every thing I would like in a three-row household EV

Kia’s infotainment software program is zippy and responsive, befitting the EV9’s fashionable shows. Wi-fi CarPlay and Android Auto assist additionally makes it straightforward to attach your cellphone with out fiddling for cables. The EV9 has a big wi-fi charging pad that ought to match my iPhone 15 Professional Max simply fantastic, and there is sufficient room to squeeze in even larger telephones. It was a bit finicky to search out the suitable wi-fi charging zone, a lot so it made me want Kia had applied MagSafe or the newer Qi2 standard to maintain my cellphone in place. I would suggest at all times having a USB-C cable helpful to make the most of the EV9’s quick charging port.

I used to be blown away by the GT-Line EV9’s 14-speaker Meridian system, which has simply sufficient low-end oomph (due to an open-air subwoofer) for music and exact readability for voices whereas listening to podcasts and audiobooks. Meridian says its DSP (digital sound processing) optimizes sound for the EV9’s cabin, and it additionally upmixes audio for five.1 encompass sound (or the equal with many extra audio system).

Kia  EV9
The EV9 is chock stuffed with ambient lighting at night time. (Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget)

The corporate’s Intelli-Q Equalization additionally transforms audio because the EV9’s in-cabin noise adjustments — as an alternative of simply elevating or reducing the amount, it could emphasize particular frequency ranges to cowl one thing like tire noise. In my testing, the Meridian system sounded nice throughout each noisy freeway driving and relaxed native journeys. I positively observed when the Intelli-Q software program kicked in, nevertheless it wasn’t insufferable like older automobiles that might simply get louder on the freeway. (You can too modify the extent of computerized sound equalization, and audio purists can disable it totally.)

The EV9’s second row captain’s chairs are simply as snug because the entrance seats, however they’ve cushioned headrests as an alternative of versatile mesh. As a lot as I just like the second row, although, my household would doubtless be higher off with the 7-seat association from Mild or Wind EV9 fashions. These depend on a bench seat as an alternative of two captain’s chairs, which my spouse prefers when she must journey beside my two-year previous.

Kia EV9Kia EV9
Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

The EV9’s third row seats are snug as properly, however as in lots of three-row SUVs, most adults will not have a lot legroom to work with. I used to be capable of squeeze in my 5-foot 8-inch body, however I would not name the expertise excellent. Anybody using within the EV9’s final row will doubtless must cut price with the individual in entrance of them for some leg house. It is also price noting that the second row is immovable with little one seats, since they lock seat belts down. So you’ll want to have the second row at a snug spot for rear passengers earlier than hooking up little one seats.

Sadly, the US model of the EV9 won’t have second-row seats that can swivel 180-degrees to face the third row, as a result of they do not meet federal security requirements. That characteristic, which was a significant a part of Kia’s preliminary EV9 publicity blitz, can be obtainable in South Korea and different international locations.

Kia EV9Kia EV9
The EV9’s trunk house with the third row of seats folded down. (Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget)

For cargo, the EV9 sports activities 20.2 cubic toes behind its third row seats, and a extra usable 43.5 cubic toes of storage when the third row is folded flat. When you push down the second row seats as properly , you may slot in as much as 81.7 cubic toes of drugs. There is a entrance trunk, or frunk, beneath the hood too, nevertheless it’s not as helpful as different EVs. It will possibly maintain 3.2 cubic toes within the rear-wheel EV9, and an much more minuscule 1.8 cubic toes within the all-wheel drive fashions. In each circumstances, you have got simply sufficient room to carry Kia’s stage 1 charging cable and some different small gadgets.

Kia EV9Kia EV9
Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

On the highway, the EV9 appears like a paradox. Much like Rivian’s R1S, it is a big SUV that is surprisingly fast and nimble for its measurement. I used to be capable of effortlessly glide via native visitors, launch rapidly from stoplights and move automobiles on the freeway with ease. It wasn’t as straightforward to maneuver as my 2019 Volvo XC90, however I used to be nonetheless impressed for the reason that EV9 is a far boxier automotive.

After visiting my mum or dad’s house, a 45-mile freeway journey every manner, the EV9 dropped from 80 p.c cost to 52 p.c. The AC was blasting closely to fight Georgia’s warmth and humidity, in order that vary felt about proper. Simply remember that an EV’s estimated mileage can simply change relying on AC utilization, exterior temperatures and how briskly you are driving.

My spouse, who hasn’t spent a lot time with EVs, famous that she didn’t really feel like she was really driving whereas behind the wheel of the EV9. On well-paved roads, it rides easily with out a lot discernible highway noise. My spouse took some time to regulate to the EV9’s sensitive brakes — it’s straightforward to slam the automobile to a halt — however that’s one thing I’ve observed on many EVs. You should utilize the EV9’s paddle shifters to regulate regenerative braking, which places a little bit of energy again into the battery and doesn’t use the automotive’s conventional brake pads.

In its most excessive kind, the EV9’s regenerative braking permits for one-pedal driving, which lets you utterly cease the automotive just by lifting your foot off of the accelerator. It’s an odd characteristic to get used when you’ve solely ever pushed fuel automobiles, nevertheless it’s a type of issues that EV house owners be taught to like rapidly.

Kia EV9Kia EV9

Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

It might be good to see Kia supply adaptive suspension on the EV9 finally, since you may really feel the impression of tough roads and enormous bumps far too simply. For a automotive that scales as much as close to $80,000 — like our GT-line evaluation unit — smarter and smoother suspension ought to at the very least be an possibility. With out it, the EV9 does not really feel practically as luxurious as the Rivian R1S as driving situations worsen.

I didn’t have a lot hassle parking the EV9 in most heaps, however backing out of areas might typically be painful. That was significantly true in areas designed for smaller automobiles–I’m you, Dealer Joe’s. It took me six bouts of reversing and precarious turning to make it out of 1 spot at my native Regal Cinema. Even then, I might solely depart in a single route, due to a slew of different giant automobiles (together with a very ugly Cybertruck) sitting round me.

Fortunately, the EV9’s high-resolution cameras, proximity sensors and 360-degree overhead digicam (on the GT Line solely) helped me get out of tight spots. However even with these assists, it was nonetheless extra annoying than the chunky Pacifica hybrid minivan I used to personal.

Kia EV9Kia EV9
Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

The Kia EV9 helps 210 kilowatt quick charging, and it’s appropriate with each 400- and 800-volt chargers. Utilizing essentially the most highly effective 800V {hardware} (which admittedly isn’t at all times straightforward to search out), the EV9 can cost from 10 p.c to 80 p.c in 24 minutes. Utilizing a neighborhood Electrify America charger, which clocked in at 150kW, the EV9 went from 21 p.c of battery to 90 p.c in 39 minutes.

I don’t have a Stage 2 charger at house, which might utterly juice up the EV9 in six to seven hours, however I used to be capable of plug it right into a Stage 1 charger utilizing an ordinary 120V outlet in a single day. That usually added a further 10 to fifteen p.c of cost after eight to 10 hours. This stage of charging might not be possible for the long run, nevertheless it’s useful when you don’t have the flexibility so as to add a Stage 2 system at house, or when you’re touring and want so as to add a bit extra juice to succeed in the following quick charger.

Kia EV9Kia EV9

Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

The Kia EV9 begins at $54,900 (not together with vacation spot costs) for the “Mild” mannequin, which incorporates rear-wheel drive, 215 horsepower and 230 miles of vary. Leasing choices begin at $487 a month on average, with $2,000 due at signing for a 36-month time period. These numbers might additionally change relying on the gives Kia makes obtainable, in addition to what native sellers are keen to cost.

The “Mild Lengthy Vary” mannequin will get you a much bigger battery with 304 miles of vary for $59,200 and a barely weaker 201hp motor. Larger-end trims are practically twice as quick with 379hp all-wheel drive motors. That features the $63,900 “Wind” EV9 and the $69,900 “Land” mannequin, each of which have 280 miles of vary.

On the prime finish, there’s the flagship GT-Line mannequin we reviewed, which begins at $73,900. It has a bit much less vary (270 miles) than mid-range decisions, nevertheless it additionally has nearly each characteristic Kia might throw in, together with a 12-inch heads-up show on the windshield, 21-inch alloy wheels and the 14-speaker Meridien sound system.

Whereas its value escalates rapidly, the EV9 remains to be a greater deal than each different three-row EV in the marketplace. The Rivian R1S begins at $75,900, and it presently leases for $699 a month with at the very least $8,500 in signing charges. The ageing Tesla Model X begins at $77,990. These automobiles are additionally each considerably sooner than the EV9, they usually supply higher journey choices like adaptive suspension.

Kia EV9Kia EV9
Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

After eagerly awaiting the proper household EV for years – following my time with the Rav4 hybrid, Sienna hybrid and the Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid – I’m shocked it’s coming from Kia and never a extra established model like Toyota. The EV9 is spacious, extra inexpensive than different EVs and it drives (principally) like a dream. It costs rapidly, and most fashions have greater than sufficient vary to take care of the occasional highway journey. Merely put, the Kia EV9 is every thing I’ve been on the lookout for in a three-row household EV.

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