TOKYO — The new Kia EV9 all-electric three-row crossover gets hauling brawn to match its rugged looks along with all the latest trappings of the new EV era, including Level 3 autonomous driving and a plethora of over-the-air software updates through Kia's online store.
The full range of features is meant to put the new entry, unveiled today, at the top of the Kia range and lift the image of what was once a bargain-basement brand.
"We consider the Kia EV9 to be the new flagship for our brand," Kia Corp. CEO Ho Sung Song said. "It also will play a key role in how the Kia brand is defined going forward."
In detailing technical specifications for the first time, Kia said the EV9 will come in all-wheel and rear-wheel drive variants for the U.S. market, in both standard and long-range models.
The long-range rear-wheel-drive version will achieve a range of 336 miles under the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure, which is considered more generous than U.S. EPA calculations. Using the EV9's 800-volt charging system, the vehicles can top up to 148 miles of range in 15 minutes, Kia said.
A 76.1-kWh battery is offered in the rear-wheel-drive standard model, while a 99.8-kWh battery is fitted in both the rear-wheel-drive long-range and all-wheel-drive variants.
The rear-wheel-drive long-range model has a 150-kilowatt electric motor that boasts 0 to 62 mph in 9.4 seconds. The standard rear-wheel-drive variant gets a more powerful 160-kilowatt motor that accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 8.2 seconds. The AWD variant has two electric motors for combined output of 283 kilowatts and goes from 0 to 62 mph in 6.0 seconds. An optional boost feature lifts torque and cuts that acceleration time to 5.3 seconds.
Kia eked every extra mile of range partly thanks to a super-slick 0.28 drag coefficient, an impressive feat of aerodynamics, given the EV9's boxy, squared-off and upright stance.