The EV era has prompted a whole fresh approach to design from quite a number of brands and Kia is one of them. The EV9, overseen by ex-BMW stylist Karim Habib, is much like the radical concept shown in Los Angeles in 2021, but has slightly smaller 21-inch wheels. And, contrary to the image suggested by the boxy Defender-like silhouette, a lower ride height(because of the required thick battery pack). With the drivetrain beneath the car, you might wonder why it needs such a big bonnet (there's only a small 'frunk' for the charging leads inside). Or such a wide, vertical nose (Kia calls it the 'Tiger Face'), a smooth panel that can be decorated with customisable 'Star Map' LED light patterns shining through from behind. The headlamps and tail lights are both vertically-orientated and in dimensions, we're talking over 5-metres long and almost 2-metres wide - think Range Rover size.
Inside, we're already into a new generation of Kia EV interiors, this cabin less visually dominated by twinkling displays, though there are still plenty of them. The new dashboard gets one large 27-inch instrument panel incorporating a trio of screens, flanked by digital rear view monitors at either end of the fascia, if you've ticked the box for that option. The cabin feel is warmer and more up-market that we've previously seen from Kia, with more cloth and fewer textured plastics. There's a 'D'-shaped steering wheel to make viewing the instrument display easier and the column it's attached to has all the main driver controls to avoid clutter elsewhere.
In the rear, there's a choice of six or seven-seat layouts being offered: choose a six-seater (only available with top 'GT-Line S'-spec) and the middle row has two 'captain's chairs' that can swivel to face the third row seats. Or can be swivelled towards the door openings to help elderly folk in and out. There are tray tables on the front seat backs and a digital climate control panel for the middle row. Depending on seat positioning, expect a large boot too - 572-litres in size. With all the seats flat, capacity rises to 2,319-litres.