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The 2024 Kia EV9 is the South Korean automaker’s first three-row electric crossover in the U.S. Though Kia already offers three-row SUVs in the Telluride and Sorento, neither is fully electric. The EV9 is slotted above the EV6 as the biggest EV in the lineup. But how family-friendly is the Kia EV9? Let’s examine whether this new model is a good buy for the average family.

The 2024 Kia EV9 is the brand’s most family-friendly electric vehicle

2024 Kia EV9 family EV
The 2024 Kia EV9 | Kia

The all-new 2024 Kia EV9 is arguably the best all-electric family vehicle in the company’s lineup. That’s primarily because it has the most seats. This three-row midsize SUV can accommodate seven people. It’s a well-equipped crossover with standard features like 19-inch alloy wheels, a smart power liftgate, a 29.6-inch panoramic dashboard display, and heated and ventilated front seats. It also boasts 25 collision-avoidance and advanced driver-assistance systems.

Regarding its electric powertrain: A single-motor, rear-wheel-drive configuration is standard, and a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup is optional. The single-motor Light Long Range trim can go 304 miles on a full charge, while most AWD models get a 280-mile range. As for performance, the single-motor version makes 215 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the dual-motor setup harnesses 379 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Kia claims the GT-Line trim can zoom from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds flat, but MotorTrend test drivers accomplished the feat in 4.5 seconds.

Why the EV9 might not be great for families

Reservations recently opened for the 2024 Kia EV9, whose base MSRP is $54,900. For reference, Kia’s other three-row SUVs start at $30,090 for the Sorento and $35,990 for the Telluride. For what it’s worth, the Kia Carnival is the most affordable minivan on the market, starting at $33,200.

But the EV9’s starting price of almost $20,000 more than the award-winning Telluride will make it a tough sell for families looking for practical transportation. Notably, if you want AWD, the most affordable trim is the Wind, starting at $63,900. AWD is a popular SUV feature, especially for families in snowy climates. You can get some gas-powered three-row luxury SUVs with AWD for well under $63,900, including the Acura MDX, Cadillac XT6, and Infiniti QX60.

Even if you want a three-row SUV with a powertrain that’s sporty and efficient, there are compromises available. For example, the new Lexus TX 500h F Sport hybrid makes 366 hp and gets 27 mpg combined. Meanwhile, the Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring has an impressive plug-in hybrid powertrain with a whopping 630 lb-ft of torque and a 21-mile all-electric range. The hybrid versions of the TX and Aviator start at about $70,000. That makes them cheaper than the Kia EV9 GT-Line, which starts at $73,900.

As for practicality, the Kia EV9 doesn’t have as much third-row legroom or cargo space as the Carnival. If you have kids and will use the third row regularly, you and your passengers will appreciate the minivan’s sliding doors and extra interior space.

Is Kia’s largest EV a good buy?

Even though the 2024 Kia EV9 benefits from the low fuel costs of an EV, its hefty price tag makes it prohibitively expensive for car shoppers on a budget. The average family might be better off considering one of Kia’s more affordable three-row SUVs.