• The EV9 Concept Previews Kia’s Assault on the Premium EV Segment

The Kia EV9 is sharp and aggressive on the outside yet remarkably smooth on the inside

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Right around the same time that Hyundai revealed its new SEVEN Concept, Kia revealed the new EV9 concept, which is arguably, a little more production ready. Like the SEVEN Concept, the EV9 previews a real production model, but it’s not quite so large, and has more of an aggressive exterior appearance while the interior has hints of luxury all around. Is this the future of Kia? We certainly hope so.

The EV9 Concept Previews Kia's Assault on the Premium EV Segment Exterior
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According to Kia, the sharp-edged exterior of the EV9 Concept takes inspiration from the “shapes of crystals and rocks.” That much is clear, but what I found very impressive is how Kia has been able to successfully build an attractive nose on an EV without its grille-less nature having any type of awkward ambiance to it. And, the solution was simple, remove the grille and put a body-colored bar across the nose with built in LEDS to offer different functions. As an example, the outer edges have vertical LED running lights while the rest of the panel provide sequential patterns of illumination to welcome you as you approach.

The EV9 Concept Previews Kia's Assault on the Premium EV Segment Exterior
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The hood has a vent near the base of the windshield, but we’re not sure what it’s there for as there’s no need for extra cooling with no engine. The only potential thing I can think of is that this could be used for channeling fresh air to the front motor or some other heating/cooling function. Then again, it could just be purely aesthetic, but it’s still better than having a fake grille up front, so there’s that. It’s said that Kia could install a solar panel here to help charge the batteries when the vehicle isn’t plugged in. The side profile is dominated by the suicide doors, but you shouldn’t count on those making it to production. The retractable roof rails might make it to production, though, as those are a legitimate aerodynamic feature that can cut down on drag when they aren’t needed. The side view cameras will likely be replaced by real mirrors too, unless the U.S. changes its stance on not having mirrors.

The EV9 Concept Previews Kia's Assault on the Premium EV Segment Exterior
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At the rear end, there’s some unique design styling, with the rear quarters moving upward to a into a very sharp point , but what’s most attractive is the way the unique taillights, rear quarters, and overhang all create a visually appealing package. The overall plane rear hatch with a single body line is also a fresh take on design that is easy to appreciate.

The EV9 Concept Previews Kia's Assault on the Premium EV Segment Interior
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While the exterior design is bold and aggressive, the interior of the EV9 takes more of a minimalistic approach that’s more about luxury and enjoyment. There’s a massive 27-inch display that runs half of the dashboard and there’s plenty of natural light from the big glass roof. The seats in the cabin have the ability to rotate and move fore and aft so that front and rear passengers can be face to face when autonomous driving is engaged. The third row seats can apparently be rotated backward so those passenger can look out the rear. There’s a good chance that most of this won’t make it to production since, you know, were not capable of building true, self-driving cars yet, but it’s certainly a preview of the distant future. What we can say, though, is that we can expect similar amounts of luxury in the production version of the EV9.

The EV9 Concept Previews Kia's Assault on the Premium EV Segment Exterior
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As for powertrain and performance, we don’t have a lot to go by. Kia says that the EV9 is capable of 300 miles of range on a single charge. When attached to 350-kWh charger, it’ll charge from 10- to 80-percent in 20-30 minutes. There’s no definitive timeline when for when the EV9 will enter production, but expect Kia to launch the production model before 2025.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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