How we’d equip our Best Car To Buy 2024 winner

The new Kia EV9 three-row electric SUV won our Best Car To Buy 2024 award (as well as our Best Family Car To Buy 2024), outranking the more than 250 car models on sale now. This total package of style, performance, good range, exceptional features, and an architecture that enables quick DC fast-charging elevates the electric family vehicle to the masses. But with a price delta of $19,000, ranging from the reasonable $56,395 to the questionable $75,395, which EV9 hits the sweet spot?

There are essentially three powertrain configurations across five trim levels. The base Light model costs only $56,395—about $1,900 more than a loaded 2024 Kia Telluride—but it is the only model offered with a smaller 76.1-kwh pack and a range of 230 miles. It has a 160-kw motor rated at 215 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It’s a good option for families with a second car that could be used for road-tripping, while the EV9 would handle all the daily demands of family living. 

It comes well equipped with seating for seven, including three seats in the middle and two in the wayback. It rides on 19-inch alloy wheels, and features twin 12.3-inch screens split by a 5.0-inch display under a single pane of glass. Key comfort features include synthetic leather seating, 8-way power front seats that are heated and cooled, a smart key, two USB ports in each row, a wireless smartphone charger, and wireless smartphone connectivity. Kia knows its audience, and knows that a price this high must be matched with features that exceed expectations. 

2024 Kia EV9

Like other Kia vehicles, the EV9 comes with a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile electric powertrain warranty. This should give shoppers who are anxious to switch to an EV some solace.

More security comes in the form of a suite of standard driver-assist technology meant to avoid or mitigate crashes. It has automatic emergency braking front and rear, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. A limited hands-free driving system is coming on top GT-Line models. 

All of those features in one package typically add up to a luxury price tag, with only the range holding it back. The question is if 74 miles of range is worth an extra $4,300?

Every other EV9 comes with a 99.8-kwh battery pack. The $60,695 EV9 Light Long Range is the range horse of the lineup, and ideal for drivers who don’t have to worry much about wet, cold weather, and who don’t care much for punchy acceleration. It uses a smaller 150-kw rear motor rated at 201 hp and 258 lb-ft, but its range extends to 304 miles. It comes standard with second-row captain’s chairs, however. 

We recommend the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive models that start with the $65,395 EV9 Wind. It has all the features mentioned above, with a heat pump and a heated steering wheel, but it only comes with the seven-seat configuration. That’s the only drawback. With dual-motor output rated at 379 hp and 443 lb-ft, it sprints to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, and handles like it’s more planted than other three-row SUVs thanks in part to its low center of gravity and long wheelbase. Range is 280 miles. Glossy paint in white, black, or blue costs $695 more on the Wind. 

2024 Kia EV9 in Ocean Blue gloss

2024 Kia EV9 in Ocean Blue gloss

The $71,395 Land rolls on terra firma with 20-inch wheels and it adds a Meridian 14-speaker sound system, ambient lighting, a second-row console with a drawer and heated and cooled second-row captain’s chairs, as well as more power adjustments for the driver’s seat.

That’s too hot for our blood. On both the Land and GT-Line, an option for reclining second-row captain’s chairs with leg extensions costs $2,000, but it comes at the expense of third-row passengers. Only get it if the third row will mostly be folded down on road trips.  The Land can be had with a $1,500 towing package with a 5,000-pound tow capacity, but it’s included on GT-Line models.  

As tempting as it is, we’d skip the top GT-Line and its double shot of performance. Sure, the dual-motor output jumps from 443 lb-ft to 516 lb-ft to get the big SUV to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, but the range drops to 270 miles and the price climbs to $75,395. That’s a few thousand shy of the base Rivian R1S with similar range but with genuine off-road capability and a more luxurious package.

The scales swing back to the Kia EV9, however, when considering that it’s better equipped for the future and for family road trips. With an EV, the moans of “Are we there yet?” morph into “Can we leave yet?” when stopped for DC fast-charging on the road. Those cries get muted with the EV9: it’s the only electric three-row SUV built on an 800-volt architecture. It can recharge from 10-80% in less than 25 minutes, and dual-motor models include a heat pump to preserve range in cold weather use as well as to precondition it to charge quickly.

One other note, late this year all Kia electrics will be built with North American Charging Standard (NACS) ports that will enable access to Tesla’s Supercharger network. Existing models will be sold with a CCS1 to NACS adapter by early 2025. That should resolve much of the charging infrastructure anxiety.    

There shouldn’t be much anxiety in buying the Kia EV9, however. It’s the Best Car To Buy 2024. 

Check out all of our Best Car To Buy 2024 coverage here, including our segment winners as well as the Best Car To Buy from our enthusiast arm, Motor Authority, and our efficiency leg, Green Car Reports. 


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