The 2024 Kia EV9 is one of this year’s greats. But it begs the question: What took so long?

SUVs are the family vehicle of choice, at least so far this century, while EVs represent the technology of choice for a growing subset of the American public. Yet up until now, with the arrival of the 2024 Kia EV9, there hasn’t been a non-luxury electric SUV that’s truly family-sized for America, with a third row that’s adult-sized and easy to access (sorry, Model Y).

What has arrived is a gaggle of sporty-looking crossovers that might be great for couples or empty-nesters but aren’t entirely formatted for families—like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, our Best Car To Buy 2021, or even the Kia EV6, a finalist last year. 

The EV9 is spacious, allowing enough flexibility to fit grandparents and child seats together, or to have grownups fit in the third row while child seats are in the second row, for instance. Or flip the third row down and turn what’s already an adequate 20 cubic feet in the farthest-back quadrant into a flat-floor loading zone ready for the big-box trip. There’s a frunk, too—good enough to make sure the handbag and laptop bag are out of sight. 

2024 Kia EV9

2024 Kia EV9

2024 Kia EV9

2024 Kia EV9

2024 Kia EV9

2024 Kia EV9

2024 Kia EV9

It also offers a smooth, quiet ride, with a soft sophistication that’s a perfect fit for the family mission, damping out all but the most jarring bumps, and presenting on the road with an impression of muted heft. It’s not one you’ll be craving to take on canyon roads, but it’s confident.

The 2024 Kia EV9 comes in Light, Wind, Land, and GT-Line trim levels, and so far Green Car Reports has only driven the top-spec GT-Line, offering up 379 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque in its all-wheel-drive layout. That brings strong acceleration and it’s good for a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds. But if you want single-motor rear-wheel-drive output, the numbers are far lower, at 201 or 215 hp, and 258 lb-ft for both.

2024 Kia EV9

2024 Kia EV9

The two figures correspond to battery packs. Base Light versions can be had with a smaller 76.1-kwh pack, while the rest of the EV9 lineup gets a 99.8-kwh battery pack. 

Driving range meets expectations, too. With the larger pack, the EV9 goes up to 304 miles, while the base version with the smaller pack gets a 223-mile EPA range rating. 

The great range numbers come thanks to a lot of work with the wind tunnel. While its Telluride-meets-futuristic exterior looks crisp and sharp in some respects, it manages a great 0.28 coefficient of drag. 

Wallbox Quasar 2 with Kia EV9

Wallbox Quasar 2 with Kia EV9

The EV9 is also the only electric three-row SUV built on an 800-volt architecture, permitting super-quick road-trip fast-charging of 10-80% in less than 25 minutes, according to Kia. All but the base Light trim include a heat pump (it’s optional with the longer-range Light), which should help keep range numbers from plummeting in the cold.

Bidirectional charging comes standard in the EV9, too, and can be enabled for home power backup now or potential future vehicle-to-grid support with a factory-supported Wallbox solution.

The EV9 can also tow up to 5,000 pounds. Off-roading isn’t out of the question either, as the EV9’s 7.8 inches of ground clearance and 18.5 inches of water-fording depth should give outdoorsy families what they need to get out to the trailhead. 

2024 Kia EV9

2024 Kia EV9

It isn’t all honeymoon, but they’re minor gripes. We’re not thrilled with some of the dash materials, which don’t match the price in look and feel, and while the 12.3-inch gauge cluster flowing neatly into the 12.3-inch infotainment might be a good look at first glance, we still see the 5.0-inch screen space bridging the two as a step backward compared to the EV6’s dual strip of real buttons. 

The EV9 is on sale now in all 50 states. Initial U.S. deliveries of the EV9 are coming from South Korea, but that’s set to change by mid-2024 with the arrival of U.S.-built EV9s coming from Kia’s assembly plant in West Point, Georgia. 

2024 Kia EV9

2024 Kia EV9

And that leads to the final point: The EV9 is expected at that time to be eligible for at least some of the EV tax credit. With 2024 Kia EV9 prices starting at $56,395 and spanning up to $75,395, the entire lineup fits below that credit’s $80,000 ceiling—and below the starting price of three other U.S.-built three-row electric SUVs, the Rivian R1S, Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV, and upcoming Volvo EX90.

Don’t worry about why it took so long. It’s here now.