Kia's EV9 electric SUV will offer Level 3 autonomy and a 336-mile range

The three-row EV arrives in the second half of the year.


Kia is finally sharing some specs for the EV9 electric SUV, and they may be good news for families planning road trips. The three-row EV will now include Level 3 self-driving (that is, the car drives itself in some situations but may need you to take over) in some countries when you spring for the GT-line trim. The planned Highway Driving Pilot will use LiDAR and other sensors to let you “take a break” from driving, where conditions allow.

The EV9 might also deliver more range than you'd expect for an SUV this size. Kia claims the RWD Long Range model with a 99.8kWh battery will offer up to 336 miles of range, based on WLTP testing. We'd expect a more conservative estimate from the US' Environmental Protection Agency, but that's still a very healthy figure for this vehicle class. There will also be an AWD variant with the same battery as well as 76.1kWh RWD Standard Range base configuration. The 800V charging architecture should give the EV about 149 miles of range in 15 minutes, and vehicle-to-load tech lets you power camping gear and laptops.

Performance can be relatively brisk depending on the model. The RWD Long Range with a 150kW motor will be the slowest-accelerating model with a 0-62MPH time of 9.4 seconds, but the Standard Range edition with a 160kW motor will manage that run in 8.2 seconds. Opt for the AWD model and you'll get a dual-motor 283kW powerplant that can normally hit 62MPH in six seconds (more on that in a moment).

Like it or not, Kia is joining the ranks of automakers locking car features behind digital purchases. You'll need to buy items from the company's Connect Store to enhance the pattern lighting on the grille, and even to add a "Boost" that delivers extra torque for a 0-62MPH dash in 5.3 seconds. Yes, you'll have to pay for features your EV9 can technically handle. You will get a number of driver aids and conveniences, including hands-off parking and navigation-based "Smart Cruise Control." This will be the first Kia to support ultra-wide band digital keys, so you won't have to take out your conventional key to step inside.

Kia hasn't yet divulged pricing for the EV9. The machine will go on sale in some countries sometime in the second half of the year, with South Korean pre-orders starting this spring. It's safe to presume the SUV will sell for more than the EV6 crossover. Not that this will necessarily be a problem for the brand. There are few three-row electric SUVs, and those that exist (such as the Tesla Model X) are likely more expensive.