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Big Kia EV9 SUV could get GT treatment

Three-row Kia EV9 electric SUV to leapfrog EV6 GT and become brand’s local flagship

27 Jan 2023

KIA is preparing a kick-ass version of its upcoming electric large SUV, the EV9, by sharing the 430kW powerplant and tuned electronic suspension with the just-launched EV6 GT.


The brand, which made the disclosure at the launch of the EV6 GT at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne last week, indicated that the EV9 GT would become Kia’s most expensive Australian model with a $100,000-plus price tag and aspirations of fronting up against the likes of prestige performance SUVs from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.


Kia Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith said the local branch was hopeful that 2200 units of both the EV6 and EV9 would be available for sale in 2024, the first full year on sale for the EV9.


“But we’d really want 2500,” he said.


Whereas the EV6 is seen by Kia as a spiritual successor to the outgoing Stinger GT large passenger car, the EV9 will be positioned above the Sorento large SUV.


Both electric models are globally in demand, with GT versions expected to attract about 400 buyers each in 2024. The EV6 GT had a pre-sold availability of 500 units in 2023.


The EV9, is a three-row SUV using the same E-GMP platform as the EV6 but with an additional 200mm in the wheelbase to take it to 3100mm.


Its timing for the Australian market later this year comes after two years of deliberation about bringing in the Kia Telluride SUV. 


The Telluride, a seven- or eight-seat large SUV related to the Hyundai Palisade, is produced only in the United States and is not  made in right-hand drive. 


Kia execs said that there was “no chance” Australia would see a right-hand drive Telluride in the current generation but that it was possible a second-gen vehicle would have right-hand drive.


It was pointed out that the Telluride was attractive for Kia Australia given the monthly sales of about 300 units by its Hyundai sister vehicle, the Palisade.


The EV9 replicates much of the Telluride’s dimensions. It has a 3100mm wheelbase compared with the Telluride at 2900mm. The EV9 is wider by 65mm (2055mm), higher by 40mm (1790mm) and shorter by 70mm (4930mm) and estimated to have a similar 2463-litre luggage capacity (two seat rows collapsed).


Kia Australia is currently considering which variants of the EV9 to import, including the choice of short- and/or long-range battery versions.


The company’s general manager of product planning, Roland Rivero, told GoAuto that the purchase price would determine such options.


Mr Rivero said the smaller EV9 battery should have a range in the 400s of kilometres, while the long-range pack should be in the 600s.


He said the EV9 could come in three grades including the entry-level Air along with the GT-Line and GT.


Mr Rivero said based on the sales mix of the EV6, the majority of EV9 buyers will opt for the top-spec variant.


“People who are looking at EV6 are predominantly coming out of a European prestige car,” he said.


“They’re looking at features and they are ticking all the boxes. Sales are now almost 100 per cent GT-Line, with half the rear-drive and half all-wheel drive. 


“This tells us that they’re looking at performance and features rather than price. The Air (at $72,590 plus on-road costs) is about $7000 cheaper than the rear-drive GT-Line but it’s only getting about five per cent of EV6 sales.


“It’s about the emotive choice, it's about the one that makes the biggest statement.”


Mr Rivero said he expected a similar reaction to the EV9, although conceded the Air may attract buyers who otherwise may have opted for the Carnival people mover.

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