Kia EV9 reader test team

The Kia EV9 seven-seat, luxury electric SUV is an exciting addition to the electric luxury SUV ranks. Our readers issue their verdicts...

Kia EV9 reader test team

As part of the annual What Car? Awards, our readers can nominate the upcoming model that they’re most looking forward to seeing in showrooms. This year, they voted overwhelmingly for the new Kia EV9 luxury electric SUV

As Kia’s flagship model, the EV9 is intended to build on the success of the smaller EV6, which was our overall Car of the Year in 2022. On paper, it looks promising. Two versions are available: a 201bhp rear-wheel-drive model with an official range of 308 miles, and a 378bhp four-wheel-drive version that promises 336 miles between charges. Both come with seven seats as standard (or six if you opt for the top-spec GT-Line S), and a 235kW maximum charging rate means a 10-80% battery top-up can take just 25 minutes. 

On top of all that, a price range from £64,995 to £76,995 makes the EV9 much cheaper than rival electric luxury SUVs, such as the Audi Q8 e-tron and BMW iX, which have only five seats. In fact, the EV9 isn’t a great deal pricier than the combustion-powered seven-seat Audi Q7 and BMW X7

To find out if the EV9 has what it takes to steal sales from premium brands, we asked six readers to act as judge and jury. 

Brian Grant

Kia EV9 reader test team

Age 76

Job Retired

Drives Skoda Karoq

“I’ve had a couple of Kia Sportages in the past, and neither of them suffered any faults, so Kia is a brand I know and trust. I like that it offers a seven-year warranty rather than the typical three years’ worth of cover; this is very reassuring.

“I wanted to look at the EV9 because I have nine grandchildren and often need to carry several of them at a time. One feature I’ve spotted on the EV9 that would help to ensure they don’t feel car sick or uncomfortable is the air-con vents for the second and third-row seats. You can turn it up high and it really blasts cold air out.

“I really like how the EV9 looks, and I’m very impressed with its interior quality. Inside, it’s pretty close to matching the standards of more expensive premium SUVs, such as the Range Rover. It’s certainly in a different league from my Karoq, which feels very ordinary in comparison.

“I also like the fact that many functions can be controlled by simple buttons on the dash. I don’t like cars that make you use apps in the infotainment system or steering wheel buttons.” 

Star rating 5

Jonathan Beale 

Kia EV9 reader test team

Age 41

Job Company director 

Drives Range Rover P440e and Volkswagen Touareg

“I first saw images of the EV9 a year ago and was really struck by its looks, and I’m just as impressed in the metal. I like the chunky front end, and the bulges on the front and rear wings give it a rugged appearance.

“Overall, it feels like a high-quality product, not far off the quality of my Range Rover. The doors close with a solid clunk and the handles feel chunky, plus the seats feel very premium.

“I like how the seven-seater’s second-row seats slide and tilt, and I was surprised that I fitted into the third row, even though I’m nearly six feet tall.

“I’m seriously impressed with the pricing. Even the most expensive model is miles cheaper than my Range Rover, and it has two more seats as standard.

“I am disappointed that there’s no air suspension option. The only other negative is that it doesn’t have as high a driving position as the Range Rover.

“I can’t tell if I’ll go for an EV9 until I’ve driven it, but I am very interested in trying one out.” 

Star rating 5

Jhanti Halai

Kia EV9 reader test team

Age 38

Job Company director

Drives Range Rover P440e, Renault Zoe

“I was keen to look at the EV9 because it could be a good pure- electric replacement for my Range Rover. My wife has a Renault Zoe, so we’re already used to living with an electric car, and I have chargers at home and at work. I’m comfortable with the EV9’s range; it would get me to most places I need to go without needing to recharge it on the way.

“The EV9 is very competitively priced, especially for a pure electric model. It doesn’t cost a lot more than some non-electric seven-seaters I’ve been looking at, such as the Volvo XC90.

“I found the second-row seats really spacious, and my children would have no trouble fitting in the third row. My children are seven and nine and it’s always good to have the flexibility of six or seven seats, in case they have friends over.

“I like the premium features, such as the heated and ventilated seats, and that there’s a massage function for the front seats.

“I’m very impressed with the overall look of the car; it’s imposing and has real presence. The only things against it are that the driving position feels a bit low down, and the infotainment screen is small compared with the one in my Range Rover.” 

Star rating 4

Ash Johnson

Kia EV9 reader test team

Age 54

Job Company director

Drives BMW 5 Series 530d Touring

“I lead a busy life and our family car needs to cope with dogs, garden waste and delivering samples to clients. I used to have an Audi Q7, which was vast and therefore perfect. I have a BMW on a short-term basis at present, but rather than buying another Q7, I’m interested in finding out if the EV9 is a worthy alternative.

“I like the EV9’s sophisticated but rugged styling. It doesn’t appear to be as tall as my Q7, though, and I would prefer it to have adaptive suspension, but these things aren’t deal-breakers.

“The interior is comparable with that of the X5 loan car I’m in today. In fact, it’s better than those of most modern cars, because it has physical buttons, rather than making you access everything via the touchscreen.

“I like the EV9’s comfy, supportive seats, and the handy touches, such as the USB sockets in the front seatbacks.

“It’s great that Kia has used environmentally friendly materials in the EV9, including making the dash and other trim from recycled plastic bottles. More firms should do this.

“One thing that feels like poor design is the trim that fits over the tonneau cover when it’s stored in the boot floor. It feels like it wouldn’t be hard-wearing.” 

Star rating 4

Pete Norton

Kia EV9 reader test team

Age 58

Job Company director

Drives Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer

“My car needs to be my mobile office as well as my transport, so I need plenty of space for equipment and to work on my laptop. The Insignia is huge, but I wanted to look at the EV9 to see if it could convince me to switch from diesel to electric.

“There’s certainly plenty of room in the EV9; the first and second rows are airy and there’s lots of boot space with the third-row seats folded.

“On the whole, the interior feels very high in quality; only the thin plastic curve that pops out when you use the cupholders feels a bit flimsy. The big storage cubby between the front seats is too low down to make retrieving items easy, too.

“The car we’ve seen is amazingly well specified. I get hot when driving, so I appreciate the ventilated seats, and I like the fact that the seats are vegan leather; my wife is vegan, so she would be pleased, too.

“The exterior looks really dramatic up front, with the angular lights and imposing bonnet, although I’m not sure the filled-in grille works visually.

“The EV9 seems to have decent ground clearance, too; that’s important to me, because I drive off road quite often.” 

Star rating 4

Steve Wilbur

Kia EV9 reader test team

Age 78

Job Retired

Drives Citroën C4 Picasso

“In recent years I’ve switched from diesel to petrol and I’m now considering going electric. I was interested in seeing the EV9, because it looks to be roomy and has a good range.

“I’m fairly tall and find it hard to get comfy in smaller cars, so I’m looking for a car with lots of seat adjustment and tall, wide door openings. I easily found a good driving position in the EV9, and had no problem with access.

“I’ve been put off electric cars in the past because their range hasn’t been good enough for my regular 300-mile round trip to visit relatives. However, the EV9’s rapid charging rate means topping up wouldn’t be a chore.

“The front end is a bit square looking, but you don’t see that from the inside, so it wouldn’t put me off. The interior is great, though; its quality is certainly a notch up from my Citroën’s, and the infotainment is clear and easy to use. I like the thoughtful features, too, including the option of swivelling second- row seats – great for enabling children to get in and out easily.

“I did consider switching to a Kia when I bought the C4 six years ago, and now that I’ve seen the EV9, I’ll be looking closely at the Kia range when I do decide to replace my car.” 

Star rating 4

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Next: Read our review of the Kia EV9 >>

Also consider