2024 Kia EV9 Land GT-Line

Kia's first shot at an electric, mainstream, three-row crossover does many things right
Kia's first shot at an electric, mainstream, three-row crossover does many things right

by Imran Salam | April 10, 2024


“We gonna rock down to electric avenue!” Eddy Grant might have been onto something when he released that song in 1982. I’m still not completely sold on electric vehicles, but this 2024 Kia EV9 Land GT-Line might be one that starts to sway me. It’s one of the most impressive yet.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if you don’t find the EV9 attractive, you might want to consider an eye test. Kia really nailed the design of this three-row SUV by tip-toeing the line between traditional and futuristic theme to damn near perfection. It’s clear the EV9 shares some styling cues with the Telluride, yet manages to be different and significantly cooler. There’s an easy appeal to the EV9 with its boxy shape, those quirky four-spoke 21-inch wheels, and the unique lighting signatures both front and rear, especially the DRLs hidden in the front fascia. The GT-Line package adds some black accents and a more aggressive front bumper, along with those aforementioned 21-inch wheels. It’s hard to explain because the EV9 isn’t technically that different from anything else on the road, but it looks unique without coming off as gimmicky.

I need to get back to the lighting, because this is where the EV9 stands out.  Out back, the tail lights have a three-way design that extends up the tailgate, down the side and horizontally into the tailgate.  Sounds busy, but it works well even when the lights are off. The front end is where the real razzle-dazzle lies; L-shaped DRLs wrap around vertical headlights, with two rows of six mini LED projectors. There’s some hidden LEDs integrated into the front ‘grille’ that light up at night — in patterns you can choose yourself. It’s fun, futuristic, and upscale, all at once. You can tell Kia had fun developing this EV9.

The spacious interior has a ‘Swedish simplicity’ vibe to it, with a few inviting textures and finishes that would feel at-home in a modern condo. The light grey and black two-tone leather is just out-there enough to be effortlessly cool. The mesh-like headrests are both comfortable and make headrests, of all things, look cool.  The fabric trim running across the dashboard resembles a home speaker grille, and the texture feels soft and inviting. The abundant ambient lighting glows soft and indirectly, as opposed to LED strips and sharp lines. It looks striking yet easier on the eyes, and has multiple colour options.

A subtle touch is the light-up Kia logo up on the steering wheel, illuminating just enough to where it’s almost imperceptible but enough to be interesting. All these — plus a lot more, like the plus and minus icons on the pedals — are just some of the countless cheeky and fun details Kia placed throughout the EV9’s cabin.

The second- and third-row seats are spacious and comfortable, featuring USB outlets at every seat, which is a big win these days. The front- and second-row seats are both heated and cooled, with second-row cooling being a bit of an unexpected addition. I was surprised at how comfortable the third row was, enough so that my aging parents had no trouble getting in and sitting all the way back there. Bonus points for both the second- and third-row seats being powered.

The Kia EV9 is loaded with all the tech you’d expect today. You have your full suite of active safety features and some self-driving assists, like auto lane-change, in addition to basics like lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control.  The infotainment system is typical Kia with clean graphics, an easy-to-use interface, snappy responses, and there’s plenty of customization buried within the menus. At first I was slightly disappointed in the simplistic digital gauge cluster, which has lots of empty screen real estate, but I grew to appreciate the simplicity and easy-to-read arrangement. It’s a stark contrast to most other vehicles today; here’s looking at you, Mercedes. The Meridian audio system sounds clean and crisp, with decent staging and the right amount of bass without being overbearing. Kudos to Kia for maintaining physical controls for temperature adjustment and basic media; the rest of the climate controls are positioned on-screen between the gauge cluster and main infotainment.

My wife wants me to point out the fact that only the driver seat has a massage function, and a good one at that. Kia clearly doesn’t care about maintaining a marriage, but if you’re the driver, it’s a great place to be. Kia calls it the Ergo Motion seat, which features various types of massages as well as programming that kicks on after 30 minutes of driving, to help get the blood flowing and rejuvenate your body. It’s a welcome surprise when it comes on and does a good job of waking you back up, but c’mon Kia! #PassengerLivesMatter!

Not everything is perfect.  There are a couple of ergonomic grievances to air, but they are minor. First, I’m not a fan of the “squircle” steering wheel; I sometimes keep my hands near the 10-and-2 spots, precisely where the squircle begins, so handling the wheel sometimes feels uncomfortable.  Why can’t we just have a round steering wheel? The second issue I have is the placement of the power button; it’s located on the inner part of the shifter stalk, itself nestled behind the steering wheel. To turn the EV9 on or off, I had to awkwardly reach under and around the steering wheel. I got used to it, but it never felt particularly natural. But see how small these grievances are?  It shows how great the EV9 is. [Yeah, stop complaining. —Ed.]

Enough about the EV9’s interior. How it drives might just be the highlight of the whole package. This tester featured the dual motor setup, pumping out 379 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Neither of these numbers are earth-shattering in today’s world, especially when you have to haul more than 6,000 pounds of SUV, but it’s just-right enough to make Goldilocks happy. It’s enough to give you a bit of a shove into the seat and certainly enough for all the passing power you could need, but it doesn’t have the tear-your-face-off sort of acceleration you experience in other EVs. Stuff like that gets old fast; Kia didn’t fall for those trends here, instead doing the right thing and balancing range, power, and feel to near-perfection. A range of 420 kilometres is adequate for anything but long road trips, which are doable if you can find a DC fast charger capable of maximizing the EV9’s excellent 350 kWh charge rate. If you get lucky, you can top it up from 10 to 80 per cent in just 24 minutes.

Better than the powertrain is the excellent suspension and steering tuning, both of which continue the trend of feeling just-right. The EV9 errs on the side of sporty, offering up a taut ride and sharp handling you wouldn’t expect from something so big. “Squircle” steering wheel aside, steering is weighted nicely and makes the EV9 feel smaller than it is, easily navigating through tight parking lots and an oddly willing dance partner in the twisties.

In this business, I’m often asked what vehicle I liked the most, or what surprised me the most. The answers most people expect are generally some kind of exotic or sports car. Don’t get me wrong, those sorts of red-blooded vehicles are fantastic, but we expect them to be. The most surprising and exciting are usually among the mainstream; last year it was the Genesis GV70, and although it’s only April, the 2024 Kia EV9 Land GT-Line is already among my top surprises this year. Put me in this EV9 and I’ll have no problem rocking down to electric avenue.


Vehicle Specs
Three-row electric SUV
Engine Size
Dual electric motors (318 kW) w/ 99.8 kWh battery pack
Horsepower (at RPM)
379 hp
Torque (lb-ft.)
516 lb-ft of torque
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
572/1,232/2,313 (all seats up/third row down/all seats down)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Imran Salam

Staff Writer

Imran is a true enthusiast who you'll find at shows, local meets, Sunday drives or the track. He appreciates the variety the car industry has to offer, having owned over a dozen cars from different manufacturers. Imran is grateful to own one of his childhood poster cars and enjoys inspiring the next generation. When Imran is not behind wheel he is found playing basketball or spending time with family.

Current Toys: '13 Boxster S 6MT, '24 Integra Type S, '08 328xi