Electric SUV Comparison: Hyundai Seven Vs. Kia Concept EV9

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These two concepts take the Koreans to new heights.

On the same day, Kia and Hyundai revealed two important concept vehicles in Los Angeles. While each automaker already has an electric vehicle on the market, the Hyundai Seven Concept and Kia Concept EV9 preview the arrival of two much larger, more luxurious, and heavily tech-laden EVs. For Hyundai, the Seven previews the production-bound Ioniq 7, while the Kia Concept EV9 will eventually take the form of what should be known as the EV9. With dramatic style, flexible interiors, and fast-charging batteries, these are the SUVs of the future. The question is: does the future look brighter for Kia or Hyundai?

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Exterior Design: A Study In Contrasts

Both of these concepts ride on the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), but you wouldn't say that they share any commonality from the outside. Hyundai has gone for a cleaner, less intricate, and more rounded design with a steeply raked windshield. By comparison, the Kia Concept EV9 has sharper lines, a much more upright windshield, and a wedgy overall shape. The Hyundai Seven's theater is all in its lighting, with the Parametric Pixels lighting up like a retro video game's interface. The Kia's exterior lighting is also flashy, but to our eyes, the Concept EV9 creates more of a stir when the lights of both are switched off.

Both vehicles are large, although the Seven's wheelbase is nearly 126 inches long, close to four inches longer than the EV9's wheelbase. Pillarless coach doors are a feature of both, allowing for easier entry into interiors that will totally change the way we interact with SUVs.

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Kia
Hyundai
Hyundai
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Interior Design: Versatile Luxury

The term "lounge" has repeatedly been used to describe the dramatic cabins of both vehicles. Essentially, three-row SUVs as we know them today suddenly seem needlessly cluttered, claustrophobic, and inflexible compared to what's on display here.

The coach-style doors allow for an impossibly wide entry point. Inside, bright colors, glass roofs, and a distinct lack of traditional knobs and switches are what stand out. The Concept EV9 is more conventional - if that word even has a place in this comparison. Its dashboard is somewhat more familiar to what a current SUV would offer, and there is a familiar three-row configuration. However, the Kia's interior has three modes. One of them will see the front seats rotating to face the third row while the second row folds away and becomes a table.

In the Hyundai Seven, things are even more futuristic. The front barely resembles a traditional dashboard at all since the driver's retractable control stick can be folded away entirely. At the back, there is a curved bench for a truly lounge-like atmosphere. Side-door ambient lighting, a vision roof with a panoramic OLED content screen, and a universal island console are other stunning features.

In both cases, autonomous driving technologies have enabled the automakers to design these highly versatile cabins.

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Kia
Kia

Power And Performance: Still Some Unknowns

One gets the distinct impression that these concepts are less about their electric powertrains and more about the design innovations that have been implemented. Neither automaker shared information about the number of electric motors or their outputs.

What we do know is that both SUVs have a targeted range of around 300 miles on a single charge. Both are also capable of fast-charging with a 350-kW charger allowing their batteries to be replenished from 10% to 80% in as little as 20 minutes. We expect all-wheel drive and power outputs starting at around 300 horsepower in EVs of this size. Besides, the much smaller Kia EV6 already makes up to 576 hp in its most powerful guise.

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Hyundai

Technology: Spaceship-Shaming Innovation

Where to start? Both EVs are packed with fresh thinking and technologies that haven't been seen before in any Hyundai or Kia product. The Hyundai's retractable driver's control stick may not make it to production, but who knows? It also comes with a built-in mini-fridge, dramatic ambient lighting in the doors, and a vision roof with an integrated panoramic screen. A UVC Sterilization system kicks in when occupants have exited the vehicle so that you always return to a bacteria- and virus-free cabin.

Things are no less advanced when it comes to the Concept EV9. It has retractable roof rails for improved aerodynamics, and cameras replace bulky rearview mirrors for the same reason. A 27-inch ultra-wide display for media and other functions is beautiful to look at. There's also a panoramic sky roof, while an Enjoy Mode for the cabin turns all three rows rearwards to the open tailgate, creating a sheltered viewing deck.

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Kia
Hyundai
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Price And Verdict: Mighty Ambitions

Concept vehicles are supposed to inspire and grab your attention. Not everything about them needs to make sense in the here and now, but they've got to push the boundaries to help manufacturers ultimately come up with the best possible production car. In that respect, both the Hyundai Seven and Kia Concept EV9 have delivered. The Kia is more exciting to look at and the Seven's interior appears more revolutionary, but both point to an exciting future for large Korean EVs. The production EV9 and Ioniq 7 certainly have a fantastic foundation to work with.

As these are concept vehicles, no price is attached to them. However, considering that a Kia Telluride costs over $45,000 at the upper end of the range, both of these EVs are expected to easily surpass $50,000. The Hyundai Ioniq 7 is slated to arrive sometime in 2024 and we expect the Kia EV9 to arrive at around the same time.

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