Kia EV9 Air Review and Buyers Guide | Electrifying

Kia EV9 Air Review

Price: £65,025 score


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The Kia EV9 Air is the entry-level version of Kia’s big, electric seven-seater, and the only model to get a single motor. Despite being a bit slow, overall the EV9 Air is the most recommendable of the excellent EV9 range.

  • Battery size: 99.8kWh
  • Miles per kWh: 3.7
  • E-Rating™: A

    Click here to find out more about our electric car Efficiency Rating.​

  • Max charge rate: 210 kW
  • Range: 349 miles

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  • Battery size: 99.8kWh
  • Miles per kWh: 3.7
  • E-Rating™: A

    Click here to find out more about our electric car Efficiency Rating.​

  • Max charge rate: 210 kW
  • Range: 349 miles

Ginny Says

“I absolutely love the EV9, it’s got one of the best family-friendly interiors out there. Even the back seats are good for adults; they get air-vents, cup holders and charging points, so it really can do long journeys with seven people in comfort. ”

Tom Says

“The EV9 does feel like it’s verging on being a bit big for UK roads, to be honest. It’s a great car, and hugely practical, but I wish it’d at least have rear-wheel steering as an option to make manoeuvring easier. ”

Reviewed by 

Vicky Parrott

29 Feb 2024

​The Kia EV9 is already one of our favourite cars. And why wouldn’t it be; it’s huge, comfy, stacked with equipment and – above all - it finally means that you can buy a big, seven-seat electric car that isn’t a Tesla Model X.

​Now, we’ve driven the Kia EV9 Air, which is the entry-level model in the range and gets a single, 200bhp motor that drives the rear wheels. It’s also some £8000 cheaper than the four-wheel drive EV9 GT-Line that’s next up in the line-up. Here, then, we’re not really asking whether the EV9 is any good, so much as which EV9 should you buy? 

Range, battery and charging

The Kia EV9 Air gets the same 99.8kWh (usable capacity) battery as every EV9 but, thanks to the lower-powered, single motor powertrain, that’s good for a WLTP range of 349 miles. A decent improvement on range compared with the 313 miles that the EV9 GT-Line manages, and we also found the Air reasonably efficient in the real world. Our test drive was fairly brief, but we saw a real-world range of just over 290 miles despite it being a fairly fast route on a very cold day – the standard heat pump no doubt helped with that efficiency. We’d expect to see real-world range creep up to over 330 miles in summer. 

Rapid charging is still at 210kW thanks to the 800V system - which is kind of like having industrial-strength electricals so that the car can suck up more electricity than most other electric cars that only have 400V systems. It makes the EV9 one of the fastest charging cars out there, and it’ll get a 10-80% charge in around 24 minutes provided you plug into a powerful enough charger. You’ll need to find one of the 350kW ultra-rapid chargers that are becoming more common on the motorway network if you want to make the most of the EV9’s charging speed.    

Vehicle-to-load charging is standard in the EV9 Air, too, so you can charge up another electrical device from the car’s battery. 

Practicality and boot space

Practicality is exactly the same as the rest of the Kia EV9 range, but you can’t get the six-seat ‘executive’ layout; you have to go for top-spec GT-Line S, and then add that as an option. 

The Air does get seven seats as standard, which is what most will want anyway, and it’s one of the best cars out there – electric, hybrid or otherwise – for space and comfort. You really can get seven adults in the EV9 in comfort, and the boot is absolutely vast when it’s in five-seat mode. Check out the full EV9 review for more details on the EV9’s practicality, but suffice to say that this is about as spacious and versatile as a big SUV gets. 

Interior, Design/Styling & Technology

The EV9 Air does without some of the style cues of GT-Line, but it still looks like nothing else on the road, with blocky, geometric styling that is just brilliant – provided you don’t mind an attention-seeking car. 

Again, inside is much the same as the rest of the EV9 range, with leatherette seats and a classy-feeling cabin that falls a bit short of what you get in a Volvo XC90 PHEV or the (much smaller) Mercedes EQB, but that’s up there with perceived quality in a Tesla. 

You also get the same infotainment system in the Air as in the other EV9 trims, meaning that you still get two 12.3-inch screens, with the central touchscreen offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as in-built sat-nav that automatically searches for a charging stop and factors in charging time if you’ll need to top-up the battery on your route. 

Motors, Performance & Handling 

This is where you expect to really notice the differences between the EV9 Air and the much more powerful, four-wheel drive versions. After all, the Air gets 200bhp and will do 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds, which looks virtually glacial compared with 378bhp and 6.0 seconds in the GT-Line models. But, actually, in everyday driving there’s not a huge difference in the way the EV9 goes down the road. It feels fast enough, even if you ask for a bit of a boost from 30mph up to motorway speeds; in fact, with the EV9 being such a huge, heavy car of over 2,500kg, we’d argue that it actually feels more appropriate to have gentle acceleration rather than the fairly aggressive performance you can have in the rest of the EV9 range. Yes, you are going to think twice about overtaking a slower car on a country road if you’re in the EV9 Air, but it really does feel punchy enough to satisfy on British roads. 

Of course, there’s also brake regen’ that can be toggled through three different weights and set to be adaptive or not, too. 

The only thing that you will notice in the EV9 Air is that it can lose traction when you pull out of junctions, even if it’s only a bit damp – as it was when we tested it. It’s not a deal breaker, but if you deal with poor weather and slippery conditions a lot, we wouldn’t blame you if the all-weather peace of mind sways you towards the four-wheel drive EV9s. 

As for the handling, the Air is a hefty thing to wield around the UK’s often narrow and awkward roads, but it still feels predictable and confident. It will wash wide very noticeably if you go into a corner a bit quickly, but it’s easy to correct by lifting off the accelerator, and as we’ve mentioned – this just isn’t a car that you really want to be chucking about with gusto, anyway. 

Ride comfort is good; the Air gets 19-inch alloy wheels as standard, and we’d advise that you avoid the optional 20-inch wheels as it’ll impact on range as well as comfort. Our test car had 19-inch alloy wheels and soaked up the worst bumps and ruts nicely, even if there is a fair amount of body movement over bigger undulations, speed bumps and the like. 

It’s not quick, but it is comfy and relaxing to drive, the Kia EV9 Air – and that’s exactly what it needs to be.   

Running Costs & Pricing 

List price is £65,025 for the Kia EV9 Air, which is seriously good for such a huge seven-seat electric car with long range. Not to mention that equipment is generous, too, and includes heated seats in the front and back, heated steering wheel, electric front seat adjustment, privacy glass and window blinds in the back, reversing camera, wireless charging and more. There’s also a full suite of safety aids including adaptive cruise control with stop-start, lane-keep assist and blind spot monitoring. 

Our only criticism is that PCP finance costs are currently quite high. Even with a decent £6,500 deposit or trade-in, the EV9 Air comes in at nearly £1000 per month, and interest rates are comparably high. A Volvo XC90 PHEV is usefully cheaper on PCP, for instance, but the Kia EV9 will no doubt see more competitive finance deals come in as initial demand eases. 


We really like the EV9. It’s so hugely practical and spacious, and by the standards of big electric SUVs it’s also great value. Well, to be more precise, it’s in a class of its own. They’re literally aren’t any direct rivals to the EV9 – the Tesla Model X is much more expensive and left-hand drive only, the Volvo XC90 is plug-in hybrid, and the Mercedes EQB (the only other seven-seat electric car currently on sale) is much smaller and isn’t comparable for overall space and practicality. 

The Air is our favourite of the lot given the cost savings, too; it’s definitely the one to go for provided you’re not worried about icy conditions or red light races. 

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