That epic three-row interior won't be quite as cool in America.
After a long wait and plenty of excitement, the Kia EV9 has finally reached the North American market. However, when it reaches US-based dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2023, customers may be disappointed to find one brilliant feature missing: the brilliant swivel seats.
This clever design allows the second-row passengers to rotate their seats 180 degrees and face the third row. Sadly, as a Kia spokesperson confirmed to CarBuzz, American customers won't get to enjoy this function. "Those seats don't meet the US FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards)." It's likely FMVSS 207 is infringed upon, as this article dictates how seats must be fastened within a vehicle. There is no provision for rotating seating assemblies.
That's a real shame, as the swivel seats are one of the best parts of the interior. Aside from the ability to rotate and face the rear, the system can also be used to make previously laborious tasks a lot easier than before.
The seats can, for example, be turned to face the door. As we have previously said, this would make loading a young child into a car seat much easier than before, negating the need to fumble for hidden buckles and child seat anchorages. Parents of little ones know how tricky this can be, so the feature would have come as a lifesaver to many customers in the USA.
It's worth noting that the swivel seat arrangement is only available in the six-seater configuration, so customers who were hoping to get their hands on a seven-seater won't be missing anything.
While this is disappointing, the US-spec EV9 still has plenty of other luxuries to get excited about. Kia says all passengers, even those in the rearmost row, benefit from "lounge-style" comfort levels.
If you are relegated to the third row, you'll find cupholders and charging points to keep mobile phones and tablets juiced up for hours. As comfortable as it is, the second row is where occupants will want to be.
Other luxuries include an optional "Relaxation Mode" for front and middle-row passengers with power-operated leg rests. Those seated in the second row also benefit from eight-way adjustable powered seats that are both heated and cooled.
It's a shame that Kia won't be offering the swivel seat feature in the USA due to safety regulations, but it's not the first time this has happened. After a long battle, the government has permitted automakers to fit adaptive headlights to US-spec cars, even though the tech has been available in other regions for some time.
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