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The Kia EV9 is the template for a modern car interior — here’s why

Kia EV9 GT-Line Three Quarters
Christian de Looper / Digital Trends

Carmakers are in the process of reinventing the wheel. While some companies are simply slapping an electric powertrain in an existing chassis and calling it a day, the majority of companies are taking the transition to electrified as an opportunity to redesign their lineups completely — both outside and in. Just look at the EV6, a car that would be impossible to imagine in Kia’s lineup just five years ago.

But while the fresh and new exterior designs are fun to look at, it’s the interior that really impacts the driving experience. And while plenty of companies are making great changes to their car interiors, in my opinion, there’s no carmaker that has created a better experience than Kia with the new EV9.

And other companies should be taking notice.

Wireless connectivity, wired charging

The Kia EV9 finally offers wireless CarPlay, making it one of Hyundai Motor Group’s first EVs to support wireless connectivity. That means that you can get in, plop your phone down on the wireless charging pad that’s easily accessible, and drive away. No messing around with cables if you don’t want to.

Kia EV9 GT-Line Cupholders
Christian de Looper / Digital Trends

If you do want to charge with a cable, though, there are plenty of places you can do so in the EV9. There are two USB-C ports at the front of the car, with one of them offering a button that toggles between charging and data connectivity. And there are more USB-C ports for second and third-row passengers. There are enough ports in the car for every occupant to charge at least one device if they choose.

Considering the fact that this is a family car that could potentially go on road trips, touches like this are hugely helpful. If that weren’t enough, second-row passengers have access to a large storage bin that doubles as a small table, and there are cupholders for every passenger, at least in the higher-end configuration that offers second-row captain’s chairs instead of a bench seat.

Keeping things comfortable

Comfort is one area where plenty of companies have gotten things right, but it’s also perhaps the most important aspect of a car’s interior. The great experience of driving the Kia EV9 starts with comfortable seats that are easy to sit in for hours on end without issue.

Kia EV9 GT-Line Controls
Christian de Looper / Digital Trends

The seats in the Kia EV9 are plush and padded, with good lumbar support and easy adjustability. Front seat heating and cooling are standard and also available in the second-row captain’s seats, depending on the trim you get. There are three climate zones as standard, and the second-row passengers can control that third zone.

The climate controls at the front of the car are intuitive, too. Unlike Kia’s EV6, the EV9 has some physical climate controls. It has a dedicated display for climate controls, which is unfortunately a little blocked behind the steering wheel. However, there are paddles in easy reach of both the driver and passenger to control temperature and fan speed quickly and easily — meaning you only have to use that display for more advanced controls. I love this system — it means that you can always see what fans are in use and make quick adjustments without having to poke around on a display.

A template

None of this is radically new or different. Kia hasn’t invented any crazy new technology or fundamentally changed what makes a great car interior. Instead, it has simply pulled together all the key details into a cabin that’s comfortable and pleasant to be in. Carmakers can replicate this, and they don’t have to build an SUV to do it. All of this really boils down to ensuring that climate controls are intuitive and there are features like cupholders and USB-C ports for charging in the back. Sure, with more space, additional features like storage bins and lots of legroom come in handy, too — but at this point, there’s really no excuse not to include modern tech in a car interior.

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Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
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