TOKYO -- The new Kia EV9 all-electric three-row crossover gets hauling power to match its rugged looks along with all the latest trappings of the new EV era, including Level 3 autonomous driving and lots of over-the-air software updates.
The features are meant to put the EV9 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 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 in both standard and long-range models.
The long-range rear-wheel-drive version will achieve a range of 541 km (336 miles) under the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure. Using the EV9's 800-volt charging system, the vehicles can top up to 239 km 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 can acclerate the car from 0 to to 100 kph (62 mph) in 9.4 seconds. The standard rear-wheel-drive variant gets a more powerful 160-kilowatt motor that accelerates from 0 to to 100 kph in 8.2 seconds. The AWD variant has two electric motors for combined output of 283 kilowatts and goes from 0 to to 100 kph in 6.0 seconds. An optional boost feature lifts torque and cuts that acceleration time to 5.3 seconds.
Kia has given the EV9 extra range thanks to a slick 0.28 drag coefficient, an impressive feat of aerodynamics because of its boxy, squared-off and upright stance. A number of features contribute to this, including a 3D underbody panel that has a convex shape in the front and a concave shape in the rear, as well as aerodynamically optimized wheel rims and innovative air intakes in the front bumper.