Kia wants its upcoming EV9 to do proper 4WD stuff
When we say ‘off-roading’, what do you immediately think of? Land Cruisers, probably, Land Rovers if you’re British and Wranglers if you very much aren’t. Or perhaps that the entire endeavour could only be more tedious if you had to walk it instead of driving.
What you probably aren’t thinking – although feel free to correct the record on that if we’ve done you wrong – is an electric SUV from the company that did those Hamster Rap commercials.
But here we are. Well, nearly are, in any case. Kia’s EV9 SUV will arrive early next year, and its job, in Kia’s own words, is to ‘transform the large electric SUV segment’. That’s not exactly the biggest or most populous niche, so what does it actually mean to transform it? Yep, you guessed it – being properly off-road capable.
So the EV9 has been designed and tested to handle the sorts of things you’d generally think twice about attempting in road-biased electric SUVs like the Model X, e-tron, Mach-E and so on. That means the EV9 is currently "being pushed to the limits of durability" on a "4WD climbing hill and rough terrain tracks", as well engaging in an amount of deep-water wading usually reserved for residents of Lismore. And that, of course, is on top of all the track, road and harsh-environment testing you get from a road-going car.
In the future, then, when we say ‘off-roading’... what are the chances the new 4WD triumvirate will be Rivian, Hummer and Kia?