Like it or not, there is a truth about modern-day trucks that we’re all going to have to accept and get used to. And no, we’re not just talking about the inevitable shift from internal combustion engine (ICE) autos to electric. That’s a thing too, but very subtly, today’s trucks have gotten soft, and what’s more, we don’t actually mind. This whole thought process brings us to the 2024 Kia EV9 GT-Line. One of the newest EVs on the market, Kia’s first EV SUV is something special.

Coming in at about the same size as Kia’s current gas-powered Telluride, the EV9, at least when decked out in its top GT-Line covered in Ocean Blue Gloss is nothing short of striking. Trim-specific roof rails, black trim, and front fascia set it apart from its lesser kin. Riding on big 21-inch black and dark silver 285/45 Series rubber, the EV9 evokes a sense of progressive strength without the flamboyantly excessive stylings of some other EVs that shall go nameless.

Power comes from a big 99.8-kWh battery pack, which sets into motion a dual-motor setup that makes a respectable 379 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, which jumps up to an even more impressive 516 lb-ft with the available Boost Mode. As with all EVs, that massive torque figure is available at zero RPM, which means that despite tipping the scales at a healthy 5,839 pounds, the EV9 GT-Line can hustle from 0-60 mph in a scalding 4.5 seconds and through the quarter mile in a tick over 13 seconds. For some context, Kia is happy to brag that its EV9 is quicker than the much pricer EQS SUV from Mercedes-Benz, as well as the Range Rover P400.

Despite the power increase, the EV9 GT-Line has an estimated range of 270 miles. Opting for the Light Long Range trim will bump that figure up by more than 30 miles, but then you’re giving up a bit of fun, so the sacrifice is not one at all in our book. Plus, the 11-kW on-board charger helps things ramp back up about as quickly as anything else on the market, and its 240-kW DC fast-charging speed will tack on 100 miles in just about 13 minutes.

Beyond looks and performance, the EV9 GT-Line was built to be a real truck. The EV9 has a full 7.8 inches of ground clearance and can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. Its big 122-inch wheelbase allows for 20 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear and up to 82 cubic feet when the rear rows are folded down.

Inside, the front passengers are treated to heated, ventilated, and massaging seats, while the second-row passengers also get power extendable footrests. Kia went to great lengths to try to provide plenty of room for both the second- and third-row passengers, as well as offering them their own USB-C charging ports and cupholders.

The EV9 also gets Kia’s latest suite of technological safety features. The newest version of the company’s Auto Emergency Braking, Blind-Spot View Monitor, Parking Collision-Avoidance, as well as the second-generation of Highway Driving Assist and Lane Following Assist.

Although the GT-Line is the most expensive trim in the EV9 lineup, even with a pricetag of $75,395, it still comes in thousands less than many of its luxury competitors and even manages to stay under the 80K mark to qualify for the $7,500 government EV rebate program. But, if all the bells and whistles seem a bit much for you, then the Light RWD trim comes in with a base price of just $56,395.

The Kia EV9 is a landmark vehicle in the autoverse. It provides truck-like capabilities with luxury-level comfort for a price that is within the range of many who, not so long ago, were priced out of the EV market. So, while it may be true that trucks have gotten softer over the years, if the future looks and feels anything like the EV9 GT-Line, the softer the better.

Photos: Kia

Previous articleThe Tesla Model Y Long Range
Next articlePontiac Solstice: A Hidden Gem in Sports Car History