Family travel goes big, bold, high-tech and electric

Electric vehicle options continue to expand, and Kia’s newest addition to the larger three-row SUV category. In the year The 2024 Kia ​​EV9 made its global debut this week and will be unveiled to US consumers next week at the New York International Auto Show. The electric SUV features an advanced exterior lighting system, seats up to 7 people and can travel over 330 miles on a single charge. Kia says the EV9 can regain 150 miles of range in 15 minutes with its 800-volt charging system.

The Kia EV9 breaks several barriers in the electric vehicle space. While it’s not the first large three-row SUV to hit showrooms, it’s the first from a major high-volume brand, and prices will likely start around $50,000 (prices haven’t been officially confirmed yet). It’s also the first to feature Level 3 conditional autonomy, which means the EV9 can handle “all aspects of driving” when engaged, although driver attention and readiness to take control is still required.

This capability, dubbed HDP or “Highway Drive Pilot,” could make the EV9 the first production car sold in the U.S. when it goes on sale in the second half of 2023. including dual lidars (laser imaging sensors) to provide a detailed scan of the area around the SUV. In Level 3 autonomy, the vehicle can change lanes, overtake slow-moving traffic and follow directions from a navigation system while the driver watches a video or connects to a smartphone or tablet.

Additional high-tech features include over-the-air (OTA) updates and upgrades, allowing owners to increase the EV9’s technology level by adding features after purchase. For example, the EV9 will have Kia’s new Remote Smart Parking Assist 2 technology, which allows the car to park itself while the driver is looking outside. Even more advanced, the EV9’s “Digital Pattern Lighting Grille” can be added after purchase, allowing owners to animate and customize the daytime running lights near the headlights. And Extra Power, or “Boost” as Kia calls it, can also be purchased, improving the EV9’s zero-to-60 times with extra torque.

The base EV9s comes with a single, rear-wheel-drive motor and a 76.1 kWh battery. There’s a larger 99.8 kWh battery, as is the dual-motor model. Single-motor EV9s deliver 200 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque and zero to 60 in 9.4 seconds. The dual-motor version delivers 380 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque, with a zero to 60 time of 6 seconds. Owners bought an additional 74 lb-ft of torque, dropping that zero-to-60 time to 5.3 seconds.

Seating options include a 6-passenger, second-row captains chair configuration or a 7-passenger, second-row bench seat configuration. When choosing the captain’s chairs, they rotate 180 degrees, and both the first and second rows offer a “relaxation” setting, or they are fully reclined. An interesting feature when stopping for charging and sleeping. The interior features sustainable materials and the use of recycled and bio-based materials.

The 2024 Kia ​​EV9’s attractive exterior design, spacious interior, 300-plus-mile range and advanced technologies make it a unique offering in the electric vehicle category. If the price is right and it delivers on what it promises at launch, it could find a willing customer base in various global markets, including the US.

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