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Is the 2024 Kia EV9 the Family SUV We Have Been Waiting For?

It’s no secret that American drivers are obsessed with large SUVs. However, anyone shopping for a family-friendly electric SUV hasn’t had much in the way of options. In fact, your only alternatives to the cramped three-row variants of the Tesla Model X and Model Y were the incredibly scarce Rivian R1S and the overpriced Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV.

Now, Kia has stepped in to fill that large SUV-sized hole with the all-new 2024 Kia EV9. Almost identical in size to the popular Kia Telluride, the EV9 boasts even more interior space thanks to an extended wheelbase made possible by its electric powertrain. Add in plenty of technology, an attractively futuristic exterior, and what we hope will be an approachable price tag, and the EV9 could be a real hit with families looking to ditch gasoline and go green.

Reimagining the Three-Row SUV

Going electric brings a ton of advantages. You will eliminate your monthly gas bill, reduce your time and money spent on car maintenance, cut the number of pollutants you are exposed to, and enjoy driving an exceptionally responsive vehicle. However, electric powertrains have another more subtle advantage that Kia has fully capitalized on with the 2024 EV9. While a gasoline SUV must be designed to fit a large engine, a bulky fuel tank, and a driveshaft running the length of the vehicle, an electric model provides far more freedom to engineer the ideal family vehicle. Independent front and rear electric motors do away with the central driveshaft and allow the axles to be moved further apart, increasing cabin space and producing a flat floor.

Like most three-row SUVs, the Kia EV9 offers six-seat and seven-seat configurations. However, the six-seat configurations are not with your standard captain’s chairs; the available second-row “relaxation seats” recline to match the first row, while the optional “swivel seats” can turn 180 degrees. This allows passengers in the second and third rows to face each other, transforming your time on the road into something more social. The rest of the interior is comfortable and filled with modern features. The reveal even includes side camera displays instead of traditional side view mirrors, although it is highly unlikely that this feature will make it to America as our laws still require physical mirrors.

Where the Money Meets the Road

The real question with all new electric models is their range. Unfortunately, we do not have an EPA range figure for the 2024 EV9. Kia did provide an estimated WLTP range of 336 miles, but the European WLTP test cycle notoriously overestimates EV range. For instance, it claims that the 2023 Kia EV6 has a range of 328 miles, while the EPA only credits that car with a range of 310 miles. At best, we can say the EV9 should get somewhere around 300 miles of range. Of course, even that figure will only be possible with rear-wheel drive and the available 99.8 kWh long-range battery pack.

Many SUV drivers will likely prefer all-wheel drive, and that is an option for the EV9, but it will likely noticeably reduce the range––probably to somewhere around 290 miles. There is also the option to equip EV9 with a 77.4 kWh battery pack and rear-wheel drive, which should help make this three-row model a little bit friendly to families shopping on a budget. This powertrain could potentially offer around 250 miles of range, which is not bad for a bulky SUV, and may well be the preferred powertrain option for anyone who does not live in a climate that sees harsh winters.

The Beginning of a New Era of Electric Vehicles

Today’s scarcity of family-friendly electric vehicles is somewhat surprising, but it provides the Kia EV9 with the perfect opportunity to steal the show. While we are still waiting on some important details like range and pricing, models like the EV6 and Telluride show that Kia has done a good job creating compelling EVs and three-row SUVs. Now it just has to combine those two areas of expertise. We will undoubtedly see more three-row electric SUVs roll out in the near future—however, until then, the 2024 Kia EV9 might just be a model to keep in mind while shopping for a new family SUV.