2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line Review: Hall-of-Famer Family Hauler

This year, thousands of Americans will flock to Chevy, Cadillac, Lexus, and Ford dealerships to get themselves a leather-lined, three-row SUV whether they need one or not. And almost every single one of them is going to make the wrong choice. However, a few discerning customers will make a less popular, more unusual, but ultimately better choice: the 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line.

I get it, though. Big V8-powered SUVs with adventurous names like Tahoe, Expedition, and Land Cruiser are enticing. Who wants a car with a computer mouse model number for a name? Kia, is “EV9 GT-Line” really the best you could come up with? What happened to “Stinger?” But those that get lost in the Kia’s competitors’ promise of wondrous exploration will miss out on a three-row family SUV that will smoke its V8-powered competitors at traffic lights, handle like it has an “M” badge on the back, and burn a total of zero hydrocarbons while doing so.

I went into my week with the Kia EV9 GT-Line with quiet optimism. I’d already liked what Hyundai and Kia had been doing with their electric vehicles so I figured the EV9 would continue the trend. What I wasn’t expecting was to find one of the best three-row SUVs I’ve ever driven and proof that great family cars can not only be electric but incredibly good fun.

The Basics

The EV9 is Kia’s second electric car in the numbered “EV” model line, with the first being the EV6. It’s also Kia’s second large three-row SUV, following the suburbanite-favorite Telluride. However, while the EV9 is neither Kia’s first EV nor its first three-row SUV, it’s unlike anything the brand has made before. It’s incredibly stylish, boasts the best interior to ever wear a Kia badge, and—if you spec the GT-Line—one of its best-performing models. 

Before you get in the EV9 GT-Line, though, you can’t help but just stare at the damn thing. For better or worse, it’s an incredibly eye-catching design. With its imposing size, sharp edges, funky C-pillar, and digital-looking headlights, the EV9 looks like nothing else on the road. I don’t necessarily love its design but I appreciate how fun and different it is. Even the standard car, without the GT-Line’s sporty visuals, stands out from the sea of the usual boxy family haulers from GM, Toyota, and Ford. 

Kia doesn’t carry that same funkiness over to the interior. Though I suspect that may be intentional, so as not to frighten off less adventurous buyers. However, despite its lack of extravagance, the EV9’s cabin is lovely. Its grown-up design and rich materials belie its exterior flamboyance. Outside of Genesis, I’ve yet to drive a Hyundai or Kia product that feels anywhere near as nice as the EV9. It’s also more spacious than it seems on paper. You’ll read that its three rows of seats can hold up to eight passengers but, until you sit inside, you can’t experience the cavernous headroom or first-class second-row legroom. 

Two permanent-magnet electric powers haul the bulky EV9 GT-Line around with 379 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. And, readers, I don’t believe that hp figure for a freakin’ second. Kia claims a 0-60 mph time of 5.0 seconds but it feels significantly quicker than that. Even if it isn’t, though, I have a hard time believing that just 379 hp can haul 5,886 pounds to 60 in five seconds flat. The dual-motor EV9 pulls hard and doesn’t let up until you’re doing very illegal speeds. 

Juicing those motors is a 99.8 kWh battery pack, which makes up 1,248 of its 5,886 pounds on its own. Kia claims it will do 270 miles to a charge, which sounds low especially compared to other, mostly smaller EVs but actually isn’t too bad considering this is a high-performance three-row SUV we’re talking about.

Driving the Kia EV9 GT-Line

If you look at the EV9’s sharp styling—especially in my car’s Ocean Blue Gloss paint—and think it’s going to handle like some high-performance SUV … you’d be right, actually. I was gobsmacked five minutes into my first drive. Something as big and heavy as the EV9 shouldn’t haul ass through corners the way this thing does, with such well-weighted and direct steering, and an almost perfectly judged ride quality. The car that kept popping into my mind while driving the EV9 was the BMW iX, which is high praise indeed. 

Nico DeMattia

But Kia deserves such praise. The EV9 is a triumph, deftly masking its size and behaving like a much smaller, much sportier SUV, while also being able to fit kids, a dog, and all of the junk that comes with them. The EV9 isn’t the first big SUV to blend sporty handling and spacious practicality, but it’s arguably the first electric one to do the job properly. 

Are there better driving seven-seat SUVs? Maybe. The BMW X7 is pretty great, as is the Lexus LX. However, the Kia hangs right there with ‘em and does so with a purely electric powertrain, more style, and a significantly lower price tag. 

The Highs and Lows

The best part of the EV9 GT-Line is just driving the damn thing, which can’t be said for many three-row SUVs. But it isn’t a one-trick pony, either. Its second-row captain’s chairs are excellent and provide plenty of space, there are cubbies and clever storage spaces abound, and the seats themselves are excellent for long-haul driving. Speaking of seats, the power-extending leg rests are among the best I’ve ever experienced and make the front seats feel like those of a first-class airplane cabin. Road trips are made easy by the EV9. 

Unfortunately, those road trips will have frequent long stops because the EV9’s range is a bit of an issue. Despite a massive 99.8-kWh battery pack, the big Kia can’t shake its poor efficiency, which never even sniffed three miles per kWh during my test. Kia claims a max range of 270 miles, which is already behind many modern EV SUVs but still seems optimistic. Is that so much of a problem for me personally? No, my bladder isn’t making 270 miles in one stretch anyway. However, I can see some EV customers wanting more range, especially if they don’t have access to home charging. 

Other quibbles? The interior is a bit bland looking despite feeling high quality, the digital gauges are boring, and its peak charging speed of 210 kW is going to age quickly as more and more competitors launch 350 kW charging. 

Kia EV9 GT-Line Features, Options, and Competition

One area where Hyundai and Kia both continue to beat their competition is in equipment. Sure, the $75,395 GT-Line version is expensive but customers won’t want for anything, even without checking a single option box. From the jump, the EV9 GT-Line gets a 14-speaker Meridian sound system, 21-inch wheels, self-leveling rear suspension, first and second-row heated and ventilated seats, and Hyundai/Kia’s massive suite of active safety features. 

The only real options for the GT-Line are the second-row captain’s chairs, which are a must, and some dealer add-on accessories. Aside from that, it’s pretty well-equipped.

At the moment, nothing out there really competes with the EV9. The Mercedes EQS SUV isn’t as big and is far more expensive ($105,000 to start), the same goes for the BMW iX, and the Cadillac Lyriq is too small. I haven’t driven the Rivian R1S, so I can’t say how it compares, but it might be the EV9’s toughest competitor, in terms of size, style, practicality, speed, and comfort. It’s also much more expensive, though. 

Range, Charging, and Efficiency

As previously mentioned, 270 miles of max range just isn’t going to cut it in today’s world of EVs, especially when the R1S has a similarly sized battery (106 kWh) but also has almost 100 more miles of range, with even more power. 


During my week with the big Kia, I mostly saw efficiency in the low two miles per kWh range. Sometimes it would even drop under two, which is understandable for something so big and heavy but still on the low side. Having said that, massive V8-powered SUVs get pretty shit fuel economy, too. Most SUV customers go into buying such cars with their eyes open.

Value and Verdict

While the 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line is expensive, it’s not that bad when you compare it to most other SUVs of its size. A Chevy Tahoe costs $62,000 to start, is slower despite having a V8, and comes with far fewer features. So in the world of big, leather-lined SUVs, the EV9 GT-Line is right on the money. 

Unless access to a charger or outright range is an issue, I see no reason to get a comparable gas-powered SUV. The Kia EV9 GT-Line is everything you could ask from a family hauler and then some. As my week was coming to an end, I couldn’t help but repeatedly think “Someone is just going to buy another Tahoe without ever knowing how good this thing is.” And you know what? They’re missing out.

2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line Specs
Base Price (as tested)$75,395 ($78,090)
Powertraindual-motor all-wheel drive | 99.8-kWh battery
Torque516 lb-ft
Seating Capacity6 or 7
Cargo Volume20.2 cubic feet behind third row | 43.5 cubic feet behind second row | 81.7 cubic feet behind first row
Curb Weight5,800-5,886 pounds
0-60 mph5.0 seconds
Top Speed124 mph
Max Charging Rate210 kW
EPA Range270 miles
Quick TakeA three-row Kia you can sleep in but shouldn’t sleep on.
Nico DeMattia

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