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Kia released pictures of the new KIA EV9 all-electric SUV this week, and one thing stuck out; this thing is being designed to go off-roading. It also looks like it’s game to take on the new all-electric Rivian R1S SUV. We’re not sure how much mudding the new SUV will really tackle, but in some of Kia’s shots it certainly looks like the company is aiming to make sure it won’t high-center on the first rock on the trail.

But can it take on the new Rivian SUV, the R1S?

Will the Kia EV9 be good off road?

The new Kia EV9 on an off-road test.
The Kia EV9 undergoes final technical testing ahead of 2023 world debut | Kia

Kia now says that the EV9 prototypes are going through a battery of tests that include a four-wheel drive climbing wall, a rough terrain track, and a deep-water wading test. Those are certainly off-road tests for the new EV. But, then, Kia is also doing high-speed handling tests, rough road tests, and more. The company also confirmed to Car and Driver that the EV9 will go on sale in the U.S. in the second half of 2023.

The Rivian R1S is based on the R1T truck, which with loads of clearance, four wheel drive, and old-school Land Rover looks, should match its truck sibling off road. The $86,000 Rivian R1S is finally on the road, and reviewers have praised its 835-horsepower quad-motor powertrain.

How big is the Kia EV9?

The Kia EV9 shown at a t
The Kia EV9 undergoes final technical testing | Kia

The Kia EV9 Concept is a a three-row SUV, and the production version should be, too. That concept has unconventional rear-hinged rear doors that would make getting into the big SUV a breeze, but the prototype seen in the testing pics has a more traditional pillar, which means that it will have regular doors. It’s expected to be about the size of the Kia Telluride SUV.

The Concept EV9 measures 194 inches in length, 81 inches in width, 70 inches in height, and has a wheelbase of 122 inches. Compared to a GMC Yukon, it’s 16 inches shorter but about the same width. A lot of that length, however, is in the Yukon’s engine bay which will be frunk, or front trunk, in the EV9.

The Rivian, too, has three rows and seating for seven. The third row is designed to fold flat and create a smooth load floor with the middle row seats. We don’t know how large the cargo area is in the Kia, but in the concept the rear seats are nearly flush with the back glass. In the Rivian, there is a cargo area behind the third row.

When will the Rivian R1S and Kia EV9 be available?

The Rivian R1S electric SUV just dropped the Explore package from its lineup.
2022 Rivian R1S | Rivian

Kia said the new EV9 will be available in the second half of 2023. Rivian has started delivering some R1S SUVs, but if you order one today don’t expect to see it in your driveway for at least a year. Both SUVs will come with some impressive new technology. The New Kia EV9 will also get Kia’s new AutoMode, which is the Korean company’s first autonomous driving technology. The Rivian R1S has one giant touchscreen in the center that controls almost everything in the SUV, from the air conditioning to the stereo, and even vent adjustments.

The three-row Kia EV9 SUV will be able to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph (100kph) in five seconds, with a range of 336 miles, according to Kia. The R1S has a 316 mile range, and can accelerate to 60 in about 3.5 seconds.


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