The exciting three-row electric crossover can't get here soon enough.
Kia showed off its EV9 Concept at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show, and a production version is slated to arrive in 2023. Prior to the official reveal of the 2024 Kia EV9 electric SUV, the automaker is putting the vehicle through "final rigorous testing" at its global Namyang R&D center in South Korea. To prove that the EV9 is ready to become the company's new flagship model, Kia will push it to its limits over rough roads, race tracks, and other challenging surfaces.
The final testing phase involves steep hill climbing, a rough terrain track, and a deep-water wading test. On the race track, Kia will test the EV9 for high-speed stability, handling, and low friction. Then, to improve comfort and build quality, the EV9 will drive over European cobblestone roads.
These new photos are our best look yet at the EV9. We've previously spotted the car wearing heavier camouflage and flexing its muscles at the Nurburgring race track in Germany. The car is covered less in these photos, meaning we can see elements like the rear side windows and full headlight design. Unfortunately, all of the pictures are taken from the front, meaning Kia didn't give us a better look at the rear end.
From these images we can tell the production EV9 will look close to the concept, which is rare in the automotive industry. The overall proportions, shape, and lighting elements seem to have translated well into production. Those rear-opening doors are the only major feature missing, and those were never going to make it past the concept stage.
Kia hasn't said much about the EV9's powertrain, though it will likely retain many of the features that make the EV6 great. These include an 800-volt charging architecture, dual-motor setup, and over-the-air software update capability. We can expect a larger battery than the EV6's 77.4 kWh pack, enabling up to 335 miles of range (estimated). At the top of the lineup, an EV9 GT is expected to match the EV6 GT with 576 horsepower. Though it's still unconfirmed, we imagine the mid-level EV9 will match the dual motor EV6 with 320 hp.
We don't have too much longer to wait for the EV9, as Kia confirmed the global premiere will take place in the first quarter of 2023. Kia previously confirmed sometime in 2023, but now we know the reveal will happen early in the year. Of course, this doesn't mean the EV9 will arrive at dealerships next year. Kia (and its sister company Hyundai) like to reveal new vehicles to a global audience before revealing market-specific details months later. We imagine the EV9 won't have a North American debut until late 2023 before it ultimately arrives on our roads in 2024.