Ian Lamming drives a true award winner in Kia’s latest electric vehicle, the EV9
Ian Lamming drives a true award winner in Kia’s latest electric vehicle, the EV9

IT LOOKS like something Judge Dredd would drive so it’s not surprising that the latest EV from Kia is a bit of a movie star.

The fully electric behemoth has picked up more awards than Oppenheimer and is the current UK Car of the Year.

So what is it and why? It’s a simply gargantuan electric SUV with seven seats and the practicality of a van. I thought the new Land Rover Defender 130 was huge but this is bigger still and when I threw my pushbike in the back it rattled around in the capacious cabin. The judges loved that.

The commodious cabin is ultra-modern, but clean-cut and minimalist. It’s a simple and uncluttered layout so very easy to use, even the touchscreen gubbins which is intuitive to say the least. As the gear control lever is on a stalk on the steering column the centre console is completely uncluttered and therefore has the amazing capacity to swallow your knickknacks.

Behind the driver and front seats passenger are two more rows of seats and a voluminous boot. The centre row swivels right round making it more sociable for the rear set of passengers and all these seats are very flexible folding neatly away to create what is in effect a box-van. The back set rise and fall electrically which makes life even easier.

Weirdly, for such a mammoth vehicle, it is amazingly manageable and far from intimidating to drive even on narrow country roads or in town. You sit so high up and all round visibility is so clear that you can slot it into the tightest of car park spaces, or even reverse parallel park it into gaps in the road.

On the road it drives brilliantly well. The world backs off in its presence. The ride quality is exemplary and the long wheelbase makes it completely stable, yet it handles the curves with aplomb and feels much more nimble than it ought to for (did I mention it’s girth?) its sheer size.

Also for such a wagon it is very sprightly thanks to a 99.8kWh electric motor which oozes 200BHP and 350Nm of creamy smooth torque. The modest sprint time of 9.4 seconds to 62mph feels quicker than the figures suggest and its mid-range is strong for safe overtakes and climbing the hills.

Range, that most important of factors, is good. Kia claims 349 miles, which would be wonderful. But I’m not quite sure how they achieve that as 100 per cent charge for me was registering 285 miles, which, to be fair, is still impressive.

The other good thing is that the range doesn’t plummet when you use it in the real world and is fairly accurate which makes journeys ease to plan. Recharging is fuss-free and seems to be rapid enough, another strength of the EV9.

Looking at equally sized vehicles, the Kia isn’t badly priced at £65,000; though you can add another £10k for all-wheel-drive and more power still.

Being a Kia there are no qualms when it comes to quality and resilience. It’s a marque that prides itself on build quality, hence the seven year/100,000 warranty, eight years on the battery and electric motor, which is phenomenal and will boost residuals.

In a world that seems to be reluctant to embrace fully electric cars it is heartening to see that an EV is picking up all the motoring awards. The Kia EV9 is like something from the future but is very much with us now.

Fact File

Kia EV9

Engine: 99.8kWh electric

Power: 200BHP, 350Nm

0-62mph: 9.4 secs

Top speed: 114mph

Range: 349

Transmission: one-speed auto RWD

CO2 g/km: 0

Price: £65,025