The Kia EV9 is kind of the all-electric equivalent of the Telluride. The pair of three-row SUVs are almost identical in size, but the fact that the EV9 has an all-electric powertrain has several advantages over its combustion-powered stablemate. However, there are some things in the zero-emissions SUV that might annoy owners.

To find out what the EV9 is like to live with, the folks at Consumer Reports bought one with their own money, and recently they published an early owner’s review of the electric SUV that points out the good and the bad ahead of the more detailed review that will come further down the line.

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The Kia EV9 starts getting into customers' hands

The EV9 is Kia's first-ever electric three-row SUV. It's a big, spacious EV that can seat up to seven people and drive up to 304 miles on a full charge. It's also one of the most anticipated zero-emissions family cars, and now owners have started posting their impressions of the car after taking delivery, including the folks from Consumer Reports.

When our own Kevin Williams wrote the InsideEVs' first drive review of the Korean EV, he said that it’s incredibly useful for families, and Consumer Reports seems to be on the same page here.

The video embedded below mentions the ample room inside, especially for passengers sitting on the second row of seats, and that it’s extremely easy to get to the third row–you just have to press a single button, and the second-row seat automatically raises and moves forward to get out of the way.

Comfort is also a plus, with the front seats providing good support. The funky mesh-style headrests also got a thumbs-up from Consumer Reports because they’re squishy and soft.

The EV9 in CR’s fleet is the Wind trim with all-wheel drive and a long-range battery that has a capacity of 99.8 kilowatt-hours. It’s the least expensive AWD version of the electric SUV and has an estimated range of 280 miles. Charging can be done at up to 350 kW from a compatible DC fast charger.

The car comes with plenty of equipment as standard, including a dual sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a hands-free power liftgate, as well as wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Consumer Reports selected a single option–the $225 carpeted floor mats–bringing the total to $65,620 including the destination charge.

The EV9 has decent handling for a three-row SUV, but the driver is always aware of the hefty, 5,715-pound weight, which is 1,400 lbs more than the Telluride.

Moving back inside, the dashboard is dominated by a pair of 12.3-inch screens–one for the digital instrument cluster and one for the infotainment system. There are also touch-sensitive controls under the infotainment screen that give a little bit of feedback, but they’re not old-school clicky buttons. The problem is, when you want to rest your palm on the edge where the touch controls are, there’s a big chance you’ll press one of the buttons by accident, according to Consumer Reports.

On the flip side, there are physical controls further down the center console for the audio system, climate control, and driving modes.

Having two great big screens glued on top of the dashboard looks futuristic, but it’s not to everybody’s taste, especially when the controls are laid out in such a way that you can’t actually see them when keeping your hands on the steering wheel. And this is exactly what happens in the EV9, according to CR–the virtual buttons for things like the defroster and recirculating air are in an area of the screen that’s very difficult to see when you’re keeping your hands on the wheel.

Gallery: 2024 Kia EV9 in US specification

Some other annoying things that were noticed by the CR team have to do with the placement of the gear selector–which includes the starter button–and the controls for the heated and cooled seats. The gear stalk is behind the steering wheel and below the stalk for the headlight controls, while the heating and cooling buttons–including the one for the heated steering wheel–are on the driver’s door. These aren’t necessarily bad places to put these things, they’re just new.

And that’s the thing with new cars. Sometimes, manufacturers might try to get away from the norm and move buttons that we’re all accustomed to seeing on the dashboard or the center console–for style or cost-cutting reasons. It’s not great, but once you get used to them, the newness disappears and all is well. Heck, Tesla removed the steering column stalks altogether and owners seem to have coped just fine.

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