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If you’ve ever had the slightest, itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie inkling  to switch to an all-electric EV, I have a little suggestion for you. Go take a spin in a Kia EV9.

 

Here, in all its bold, brash, boxy, big-wheeled glory is a game-changer of a three-row, high-luxe, super-refined SUV. 

 

Priced from just $54,900, it’s a terrific value, especially compared to three-row EV rivals like Tesla’s Model X and Rivian’s RS2. But it’s so, so much more than an appealing sticker.

Take the sheer amount of interior space. This thing has more rear-seat legroom than a Cadillac Escalade, Range Rover, Mercedes EQS SUV or Tesla Model X. Power-lift the tailgate, fold down the second and third-row seats, and Mayflower moving vans don’t have this much load space.

 

And don’t forget the “frunk”. Pop the hood and there’s a handy storage bin big enough to keep a computer bag, gym bag, handbag or backpack away from prying eyes.  

It can also go the distance with up to 304 miles of range, and with the available 99.8kWh battery pack, the EV9 can rocket from 0-to-60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. When the power goes out at home, the EV9 can even be plugged in to keep the lights on and the espresso machine humming for up to two days.

 

Worried about battery pack longevity? Kia warranties its batteries for 10 years or 100,000 miles. That’s two years more than Tesla or Rivian offers. 

But what I love most is the EV9’s head-spinning styling. Yes, it’s boxy, angular and about as subtle as a Sherman tank. But it stands out in a sea of tofu-bland sport-utes lined-up in the high school drop-off line.

 

While the body is about the same size as Kia’s gas-powered Telluride sport-ute, the EV9 looks bigger. Put that down to that body-colored nose with its amazing LED light show, the military-grade squared-off wheel arches, the arrow-straight, horizontal waistline, and funky up-to-21-inch wheels. 

Five versions of this new EV9 are on offer, though I’ve just spent an electrifying week with the top-of-the-line, all-bells-and-whistles GT-Line AWD costing $73,900 complete with plug.

Wait, $74-grand for a Kia? Electric SUVs this well-equipped don’t come cheap. That said, the price is similar to base versions of the competition.

And right now, because EV9s are imported from Kia’s plant in South Korea, the $7,500 EV tax credit isn’t offered. But by summer, Kia’s plant in West Point, Georgia will be cranking out US-made EV9s, and the tax credit should be available.

 As for our flagship EV9 GT-Line, it comes with electric motors front and rear, that honking 99.8 kWh battery pack, and a combined 379 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Plug it in, charge it up, and you’ll get around 270 miles of range. 

And to drive it is to love it. Yes, it has electric-car, rock-out-of-a-catapult acceleration. But what is arguably even more impressive is its remarkable refinement. 

 

Cruising around town it’s all but totally silent. And even under pedal-to-the-metal sprinting, there’s little more than a distant whoosh. Sleeping kittens make more of a racket. 

Add to that a ride that’s as smooth as Ali Baba’s magic carpet, and steering that’s pin-sharp precise and beautifully-weighted. Paddle-shifters behind the wheel don’t control gear shifts but the level of regenerative braking for one-pedal driving. 

 

Inside, you sit up high with terrific all-round visibility and great support and adjustment from the body-gripping seats. The cabin is trimmed in I-don’t-believe-it’s-not-leather SynTex vinyl and looks classy and upscale. 

 

Second-row captain’s chairs come with levitating footrests and armrests, and in the third row, there’s legroom and headroom plentiful enough for adults and not just kids.  

 

No wonder than that this EV9 was voted 2024 World Car of the Year, World Electric Vehicle, and North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. As I said, it’s a game-changer. 

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