Electric SUVs don’t come cheap. Sure, there are some decent options out there, but for anyone who wants something larger than a midsize crossover like the Tesla Model Y or Kia EV6, you’re looking at spending some serious change. But there’s one EV that will be here soon, and it could finally breathe life into the accessible electric SUV space — the Kia EV9.
After a flashy concept, over a year of rumors, and finally, more public details, the Kia EV9 is finally on the way. And while it won’t be the best EV of the year, it’s certainly the one I’m most excited about. In fact, once it’s released, it could be the car that I eventually buy, after holding out on an EV to date.
A true SUV
As mentioned, there are plenty of excellent electric SUVs out there — if you’re flexible with your definition. Many vehicles are often called SUVs, but are actually closer in size to crossovers. The best of these include the Tesla Model Y, the Kia EV6, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E. At the upper end, you’ll also find cars like the Tesla Model X and Mercedes EQS SUV.
But these really aren’t SUVs, at least not the type Americans are used to SUVs. These are still mostly five-seater cars with a taller body and extra storage space. Yes, I know the Model Y and Model X support up to seven seats, but those extra few seats are cramped, and seriously take away from the storage space in the trunk.
Then there are the true SUVs that are electric, but these are much less common. Perhaps the most obvious of these is the Rivian R1S, which starts at $78,000 — and while you might argue that’s not a terrible price for what you get, it’s still a daunting number.
Kia is king
Kia is the perfect company to take on that challenge of offering a large SUV that’s also a little more affordable. Why? It has been, arguably, the most important SUV maker of the past five years. The Kia Telluride offered, and still offers, a high-quality SUV experience at a reasonable price. I’ve reviewed a few Tellurides over the past few years, and loved them every time. They feel great to drive, and they have plenty of room in them to satisfy that U.S. desire for big cars.
The hope, of course, is that much of what makes the Telluride great will be brought over to the EV9. And it seems like that will indeed be the case. Ultimately, the EV9 looks to be a cross between the Telluride and the EV6, offering some design cues and interior features from the Telluride, coupled with the technical capabilities of the EV6.
The EV9 has yet to actually release, and it likely will later this year. There are plenty of photos and videos of the car online, and some journalists have experienced it in person. If, however, it can capture the magic of the Telluride, with the tech of the EV6, at a reasonable price, it will radically help push forward the advancement of electric cars, especially where big cars sell better, like in the U.S.