Kia's next all-electric vehicle, the EV9 SUV, is undergoing final testing ahead of its world premiere scheduled for the first quarter of 2023.
The Korean automaker has revealed details of the final intensive testing program undertaken by the large electric SUV along with the most revealing photos so far of the production EV9's exterior design.
Developed over a period of 44 months with the goal of setting new standards in design, performance, range, driving dynamics, technology and comfort, the EV9 is currently being pushed to the limits of durability at Kia's global Namyang R&D center in Korea.
According to Kia, the final testing phase sees the Telluride-sized EV9 subjected to a grueling verification program on a 4WD climbing hill and a rough terrain track, as well as a deep-water wading test, to ensure maximum reliability even in the most challenging conditions.
Engineers are also testing the EV9 on high-speed, handling and low-friction tracks to assess the vehicle's performance and roadholding. Meanwhile, the ride comfort and build quality are being subjected to the harshest possible trials on the cobbles of the Belgian road.
Testing at Kia's Namyang R&D center is only the final phase of a punishing test program for the EV9 that has taken place in locations all over the world.
Gallery: Kia EV9 Camouflaged Teaser Images
As Kia's flagship electric vehicle and its largest one so far, the EV9 will be an important model for the brand. The carmaker promises the EV9 "will revolutionize the large electric SUV segment while while accelerating Kia's brand transformation and affirming its leadership in sustainable electric mobility."
We first got a preview of Kia's newest flagship model last year in the form of the Concept EV9, but as you can see, these photos of a test prototype reveal a much more down-to-earth design.
Compared to the previous EV9 spy shots from earlier this month, Kia's prototype shown here remains fully camouflaged but reveals more details. At the front, we get to see the vertical headlights with extensions at the top and bottom, the trim piece connecting them at the top, another trim piece underneath the closed-off grille and the lower part of the front bumper featuring a skid plate-like element.
The EV9 prototype also offers an unobstructed view of the glasshouse, revealing the third lateral windows and the ascending line underneath them marked by a thick trim piece. Unfortunately, there's no shot of the rear end, but it looks like the EV9 will get similar taillights as the concept.
Featuring the brand's "Opposites United" styling language, the EV9 production model will represent the pinnacle of what is possible with an SUV, according to Kia. As with the EV6, the EV9 is built on Hyundai Motor Group's advanced Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which means it will have an 800-volt electrical architecture, dual-motor AWD and about 300 miles (483 kilometers) of range.
Kia also says E-GMP will enable the electric SUV to "usher in a new era in sophisticated, high-technology, sustainable mobility."