Kia EV9 Styled to the Nines

The Korean automaker’s new 3-row battery-electric vehicle boasts a futuristic appearance inside, with some never-before-seen features and cool technologies.

Christie Schweinsberg, Senior Editor

June 4, 2024

3 Min Read
EV9 seats artfully sculpted, perforated.

Kia steps up to the premium ranks with the exquisitely styled and smartly designed EV9. Within the 3-row CUV, it integrates the latest technology into a plush, pleasantly illuminated cabin, earning it a 2024 Wards 10 Best Interiors & UX award.

Wards judges praise our $78,000 battery-electric GT-Line AWD Long Range test vehicle for its unique hard trim, stylishly perforated black-and-white upholstery and plentiful soft-touch materials, including fabric on the doors, the dash, center console and backs of the front seats.

Extra points are earned for upscale touches such as powered leg rests for the heated and ventilated first and second row seats, as well as power second-row seats that can be folded down or raised up from the main touchscreen.

Kia EV9 IP angled.jpeg

The attention to style, especially in the often-forgotten third row, is commendable. Passengers in the far back seat get gloss-gray trim edging along the cupholders and the same geometric-patterned speaker grilles as passengers up front – pumping out 708 watts from the 14-speaker Meridian Surround audio system.

Mix-and-match interior-illumination options within the ambient lighting system also score high marks, with pink-purple and blue-green favorite combinations.

Storage abounds in the EV9. One of our judges’ most-liked features is a large drawer that slides out of the back of the center console, providing a cubby for second-row passengers. The drawer also has a lid that pulls out separately to serve as a tray table.

The front passengers aren’t forgotten, as the center console’s cantilevered design allows for a storage bin below the cupholders.

Kia EV9 mesh headrest.jpeg

The concept-car-derived front headrests, less bulky than ordinary head restraints and with white athletic mesh fabric stretched around a black frame, are out-of-the-ordinary, as are circular metallic ceiling vents and hidden controls that appear along instrument panel trim when needed, with haptic buttons for main infotainment system categories such as home, map and media stylishly concealed below film wearing a miniature wind-turbine pattern.

The EV9’s 12.3-in. (31-cm) touchscreen abuts an equally large digital gauge cluster, giving the impression of one very wide, dual panoramic display screen.

Both displays earn top marks for stylish graphics that echo shapes found elsewhere in the vehicle, as well as for their high resolution and vivid color.

The EV9’s infotainment system is smartly organized, and its voice recognition works quickly and accurately to find locations, change radio stations and adjust cabin temperature. We also like its speech-to-text ability, typing our spoken commands as we gave them for assurance we are heard correctly.

Pairing phones to utilize the standard wireless Apple CarPlay is a snap, while the multicolor head-up display helps keep our eyes on the road when navigating to new locations.

Device-wielding kids will appreciate the plentiful USB-C ports, although perhaps not the Passenger Talk feature that allows mom or dad’s voice to be piped to the third row. There are also four USB-C ports within easy reach for the younger set, on the upper, inner edges of each of the front seats.

Judge Jim Irwin came to appreciate the thoughtful and useful reminder to retrieve his phone from the onboard charger before exiting the vehicle, as well as the handy list of nearby public charging stations that appears when the EV9 gets low on power. “Its little touches made me feel as if the EV9 was partnering with me, not just moving me from Point A to Point B,” he says, also lauding the EV9 for one of the most advanced designs seen among our 2024 crop of 10 Best Interiors & UX candidates.

Simply put, the EV9’s fantastic technology and features, coupled with its modern design aesthetic, are what sell this vehicle.

Kia EV9 ext three qtr.jpeg

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