Buy now, pay for more performance later with the new Kia EV9, revealed in Korea

Published Mar 29, 2023


Seoul - Subscription services and paying for updates are all part of the future motoring landscape whether you like it or not.

But is it fair to ask a customer to pay extra for something when the hardware is already installed in the car they’ve bought? BMW, for instance, has ruffled a few feathers by offering a subscription service in some markets for heated seats.

Performance updates that you can purchase later through software updates is another thing the motoring world will soon get used to. Tesla already does it and now Kia is offering something similar with its new EV9 flagship electric SUV.

After revealing the vehicle’s concept car-inspired exterior and interior designs earlier this month, Kia has now spilled the beans on all the technical details, including performance and range.

At the top of the pile is a twin-motor, All-Wheel Drive (AWD) model that offers outputs of 283kW and 600Nm, allowing for a six-second 0-100km/h sprint. But purchase the optional ‘Boost’ feature from the Kia Connect Store, at an as-yet-unspecified price, and an extra 100Nm of torque is unlocked, allowing you to accelerate to 100 in 5.3 seconds.

The AWD model comes with a 99.8-kWh battery, which is also fitted to the Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) Long-Range variant with outputs of 150kW and 350Nm, and for this one Kia claims a range of up to 541km on the WLTP cycle if 19-inch wheels are fitted.

For those who’ve conquered their range anxiety, Kia is also selling a RWD base model with a 76.1-kWh battery. No range figures have been divulged, but it does have a slight performance advantage over the Long-Range model, thanks to reduced weight and slightly higher (160kW) output, allowing it to accelerate to 100 in 8.2 seconds, versus 9.4s for the Long-Range.

One of the Kia EV9’s big selling points is its 800 volt electrical architecture, which allows for ultra-fast charging - find the right public outlet and you can add up to 239km of range in just 15 minutes, Kia says.

This vehicle, assuming it ever comes to South Africa, could come in handy during load-shedding, as the battery can discharge up to 3.68kW to power laptops or camping equipment.

Kia has also upped its game when it comes to semi-autonomous driving capability with a new Level 3 system called Highway Driving Pilot. Its 15 sensors, including two lidar units, not only enhance safety but they also allow for hands-off automated driving in certain instances where conditions and laws permit.

Choose what you want from an online store

The Kia Connect Store that we spoke about earlier offers a lot more than just a performance upgrade. Customers will have access to a wide variety of options that are purchasable online, comprising various digital features and services, including content streaming, the Remote Smart Parking Assist 2, and even bespoke lighting patterns for the digital grille.

As the brand’s flagship SUV, the EV9 is practical and versatile too, and it’s available in six-seat and seven-seat configurations. To that end there are four second-row seating options available, including a three-seater bench as well as standard, relaxation and swivel-type two-seat options. When fitted with the second-row relaxation seats, occupants of the first two rows can recline together while the vehicle is charging.

“The Kia EV9 transcends all aspects of traditional SUV thinking and represents the pinnacle of Kia’s design and engineering capabilities,” said Kia CEO Ho Sung Song.

“Created to meet the needs of all family members, the EV9 also spearheads Kia’s rapid transition to a sustainable mobility solutions provider, not just by its advanced EV architecture, but also through the numerous recycled and sustainable materials used in its creation,” he added.

The Kia EV9 will be rolled out to various international markets from the second half of 2023, but at this stage it has yet to be confirmed for South Africa. Its smaller EV6 sibling, however, is set to reach our shores in limited numbers.

IOL Motoring