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A silver 2024 Kia EV9 driving on an open road.

Kia EV9 Provides a Study in Futuristic Features

Once upon a time, EVs were measured by little more than their efficiency and driving range, but that’s quickly changing. As the EV market becomes more competitive, automakers now find themselves having to up every aspect of their design game to stay relevant in an ever-evolving market. From interior and exterior styling to comfort and convenience features to in-vehicle tech and customization, today’s EVs are a far cry from the spartan offerings of yesteryear.

Just take the Kia EV9, for example. Kia’s new all-electric SUV isn’t just one of the largest EVs on the market; the three-row model is also one of the most technologically advanced, packed with a full suite of advanced features that elevate every aspect of the driving experience. The Kia EV9 is more than just a way to get around town. It features a relaxing sound machine, remote functionality, and a luxury driving experience. The Kia crossover might have just debuted in late 2023, but it’s already generating plenty of industry buzz. Let’s see what all the fuss is about as we take a closer look at some of the EV9’s more unique features.

Luxurious Seating

While a vehicle’s seating doesn’t usually get top billing when it comes to notable tech features, we have to make an exception for the Kia EV9. We’ll start with the driver’s seat. Kia has graced the EV9’s high-end GT-Line trim with its new ERGO Motion driver’s seat, a feature-packed throne that turns the EV9 into a comfortable and relaxing ride for all the miles ahead. Heated and ventilated seats are certainly nothing new, but the ERGO Motion version takes it a step further with a massaging feature in both the seatback and cushion. While most massaging seats use hard rollers to provide a little on-the-go relief, Kia has opted for a new approach that employs large air pockets to knead the driver’s back, legs, and other tension-filled areas. When activated, these air bladders inflate and deflate, allowing drivers to enjoy a soothing massage sensation without feeling like they’re sitting on a bed of marbles.

Kia also treats the EV9’s second-row passengers to heating, ventilation, and eight-way power adjustment, but it’s the seat’s 180-degree swivel that really sets the SUV apart. The second-row seats can be set to three positions: regular to face the front seats, Vis-à-Vis (180 degrees) to face the third-row seats, and Child Care Mode (90 degrees) to face the door for easy access. So, If you’re looking to host the world’s most comfortable road trip, simply swing the second-row seats around to face the third-row passengers.

This versatility is perfect for parents trying to keep an eye on young ones and makes in-vehicle card games more accessible than ever. The swiveling seats replace the standard second-row bench, which means that the seating capacity is up to six passengers. Kia also notes that, for safety reasons, the swiveling feature should only be used when the EV9 is parked.

Three rows of seating in a 2024 Kia EV9.

Remote Control

The award for the most futuristic feature on the Kia EV9 would have to go to Remote Smart Parking Assist 2 (RPA2). The technology essentially turns the three-row crossover into the world’s largest remote-controlled vehicle, giving drivers the ability to drive, reverse, and even park the vehicle using nothing more than the key fob.

Available on the EV9’s Land AWD and EV9 GTL AWD trims, RPA2 automatically controls the vehicle’s accelerator, brakes, and shifter in one of the more innovative uses of automation technology we’ve seen to date. The system uses a wide-angle camera and ultrasonic sensors to detect parking spaces and dividing lines and can be operated regardless of whether the driver is inside or outside the vehicle. Simply press a button on your key fob, and the Remote Smart Parking feature will automatically navigate your EV9 into a parallel, perpendicular, or diagonal parking spot.

The system can also be used to retrieve your vehicle when you’re ready to depart using the Smart Exit feature. The RPA2 system comes in especially handy when you’re faced with the sort of narrow parking spots that can accommodate your vehicle, but little else. Instead of circling the lot repeatedly, drivers can use the system’s Remote Operation feature, allowing them to exit the vehicle and use the key fob to squeeze the vehicle into even the smallest space.

RPA2 is just one feature in the EV9’s advanced driver assistance system (ADAS). The crossover also comes with a full slate of high-tech features designed to increase safety and convenience, from Forward Collision-Avoidance 2 and Highway Driving Assist 2 to Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist. Kia has also packed the EV9 with Safe Exit Assist, a novel feature that will lock the rear doors when the SUV detects an approaching vehicle to help avoid collisions. We’ve all had that close call where you start to exit a vehicle only to be met with a near miss, but such incidents should be a thing of the past, thanks to Safe Exit Assist.

Easy Access

Kia knows drivers want to get behind the wheel of the EV9 as quickly as possible, so they’ve provided no less than five ways to start and access the vehicle. Oddly, a key isn’t actually one of them as, like many modern luxury vehicles, the EV9 comes with a key fob rather than a typical key. Access to the car using the key fob is the more mundane method, especially compared to the available fingerprint sensor. The sensor, which can be keyed to any number of drivers, not only starts the car but can activate valet mode and load each driver’s unique profile, complete with their preferred settings. Other options include a keycard that can be kept within a driver’s wallet and a connected app that turns your smartphone into a proximity-activated key. If you’re looking to lend out your EV9 but don’t want to deal with the hassle of passing around the key fob, Kia also allows drivers to text a temporary key to guest drivers.

Sounds of Nature

Every driver is a little different when it comes to their preferred soundtrack. While some enjoy a pulsing, high-tempo beat that makes them feel like they’re starring in the latest summer blockbuster, others appreciate a more relaxed atmosphere. Whether you’re into show tunes, classical, or pop, the right audio ambiance can make all the difference in creating the ideal driving experience. While anything is bound to sound good when pumped through the EV9’s 14-speaker Meridian Audio system, it’s particularly well suited for Kia’s new Sounds of Nature audio program.

The feature, available on several Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis models, is more than the sort of white noise generator you might use when you’re trying to lull yourself off to sleep at night. The program includes eight different audio loops, each providing a distinctly different vibe, allowing drivers to choose between nature-inspired sounds like Wind, Water, Thunder, Night, and Geiser. Once selected, the driver can use the Mixer section of the tool to change the volume of the background noise and the accompanying instrument and even add a little reverb. Users can even modify each track’s pitch, attack, sustain, and resonance, adjusting different parameters to make a unique soundtrack for their next drive.

The Sounds of Nature program is more than just a custom driving soundtrack. Kia boasts that the app can help induce a flow state that can improve creativity by stimulating the production of alpha waves within the brain. By leveraging the benefits of harmonic progressions, melodic intervals, texture, and the 120 beats per minute tempo that helps drivers achieve positive, calm focus, the Sounds of Nature app turns the EV9’s interior into a therapeutic sound bath. Kia has even released a downloadable version of the Sounds of Nature app for both Windows and Mac, giving drivers a chance to test the innovative feature from the comfort of their desktop.

The front seats and dashboard in a 2024 Kia EV9 parked in the woods.

Meridian Audio

The Sounds of Nature program isn’t the only audio-related feature of note in the EV9. As we mentioned above, the crossover also comes with A 14-speaker Meridian Audio sound system that gives drivers the chance to experience high-quality sound no matter where the road might take them. Premium audio systems aren’t exactly rare in today’s market, especially when it comes to luxury models, but Kia has gone above and beyond for the EV9.

The Meridian Audio system is designed to solve a specific challenge associated with electric vehicle acoustics. While drivers might assume that the constant low drone of an internal combustion engine might be more difficult to engineer around, that’s not necessarily the case. According to Meridian Chief Executive John Buchanan, “The challenge with delivering a fantastic audio experience in an EV isn’t the level of the background noise; it’s the complexity of noise sources and their frequency profiles. These are typically at significantly higher frequencies than in a combustion vehicle, which can affect our ability to perceive the position of sounds, and they can be more random, which makes the acoustic environment more difficult to manage with active noise cancellation.”

Meridian has solved this problem with a suite of proprietary Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technologies like the Meridian Horizon upmixing technology, which can transform a two-channel audio signal into a full multi-channel spectrum to provide an authentic surround-sound experience. Meridian’s lntelli-Q Data-Driven Equalization optimizes playback in response to background noise, ensuring your favorite album sounds just as good whether you’re driving down an empty country road or sitting in the bumper-to-bumper traffic of rush hour. While lesser noise-canceling systems would simply raise or lower the volume in response to outside stimuli, lntelli-Q Data-Driven Equalization takes a more subtle approach, adjusting the low and mid-range sounds to eliminate those annoying volume fluctuations.

The Kia EV9 Is Here to Stay

A tech-heavy cabin and remote control functionality aren’t the only things that set the EV9 apart from the rest of the crossover crowd. Kia also looks to be setting a new benchmark for sustainability with its all-electric offerings, sourcing environmentally friendly materials to create an EV that talks the talk and walks the walk. The automaker is moving away from using leather while integrating sustainable plant-based materials like corn, natural oils, and sugar cane into its design. Kia already uses various recycled materials in the EV9, including fishnets and recycled plastic bottles.

Whether you’re the type of driver who values comfort, convenience, or just pure novelty, the Kia EV9 offers plenty of surprising features. From the EV’s refined Meridian Audio sound system and endlessly customizable Sounds of Nature app to remote control functionality, fingerprint authentication, and some of the most advanced seats we’ve seen outside of the $100,000-plus luxury tier, the EV9 is the perfect showcase for a host of cutting-edge features that will change the way you drive.