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Volvo EM90 vs. Kia EV9: Which is the right EV to haul your family?

Two Kia EV9 cars
Kia / Kia

Car buyers looking for a crossover or sedan have a plethora of options when it comes to electric cars, but those who want something a little larger have a slightly more limited selection — especially those on a budget. Thankfully, some new options have been popping up for electric people moving. The Volvo EM90 is a new electric minivan, and it joins the Kia EV9, which is more SUV than minivan, but still built with interior space in mind.

The Volvo EM90 is very new, but there is a lot we know about it. Curious about whether or not it’s the right big-size car for your needs? Here’s a look at how the Volvo EM90 and Kia EV9 compare.

Design

The exterior design of these two vehicles is quite different. The Volvo EM90 is shaped like a minivan, with a somewhat boxy build overall and sliding doors on the sides. It has slim and stylish headlights on the front, with that increasingly well-known Volvo EV front-end.

Volvo EM90 Driving
Volvo

The Kia EV9, on the other hand, looks more like an SUV. It still has a somewhat blocky overall shape, but it’s a little sleeker, and it swaps out the sliding doors on both the front and the back in favor of traditional doors. On the back, there are sleek, angular taillights, while on the front, the car has Kia’s so-called Digital Grille, which looks great.

Design is really down to personal preference, but there’s no denying that the Kia EV9 is sleeker and more stylish. This one goes to Kia.

Winner: Kia EV9

Interior and tech

The insides of these cars also differ. The Volvo EM90 has a minimalistic interior, with a large display at the front for accessing infotainment and a separate display for instrument monitoring. The EM90 has enough room for six passengers — two at the front, two in the second row, and two in the third row.

Kia EV9 interior
Kia

The Kia EV9 also has an attractive interior, though it’s more futuristic than minimalistic. It has two displays at the front, one for infotainment and one for instrument monitoring. The EV9, unlike the EM90, has options for six or seven seats, with the difference coming down to either two “captain’s chair” seats in the second row or a bench seat that can accommodate three passengers.

Both the Volvo EM90 and the Kia EV9 offer modern and sleek interiors, and the difference will largely come down to personal preference.

Winner: Tie

Performance

The Volvo EM90 isn’t necessarily built for performance, so it may not be quite as quick as the Kia EV9. The EM90 offers the ability to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 8.3 seconds, according to Volvo. That’s all we know about the car’s performance right now, though — and if it eventually gets released in the U.S., it’s possible it’ll come in multiple different models.

Volvo EM90 Seats
Volvo

The Kia EV9 is much more performance-focused. According to Car And Driver, the all-wheel drive EV9 was able to get from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds, which puts it way ahead of the Volvo EM90. That model has two motors, which deliver a combined 379 horsepower, but the EV9 also comes in lower configurations. The EV9 Light has a single rear motor that delivers 215 horsepower, and the EV9 Light Long Range has the same motor, but a slightly lower horsepower, at 201.

Winner: Kia EV9

Range and charging

We don’t yet have all the details about the range and charging for the Volvo EM90 because, so far, the vehicle has only been announced for China. The EM90 has been certified to offer 450 miles of range, however it was certified under the China Light-Duty Vehicle Test Cycle (CTLC) rating. Typically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating ends up being around two-thirds of the CTLC rating — which would put the Volvo EM90 at around 300 miles. The Volvo EM90 will go from 0 to 80% charged in under 30 minutes, according to Volvo, thanks to the 200kW charging speed.

Kia EV9 front exterior
Kia

The EV9 is a little clearer when it comes to the EPA-rated range. The standard-range RWD models only offer around 230 miles of range, which isn’t great — but you will get up to 304 miles of range with the single-motor Long Range model. The Kia EV9 does, however, have a charging speed of a hefty 350kW, which gets the EV9 to 80% charge in under 25 minutes.

Because we don’t have EPA ratings for the Volvo EM90, it’s hard to award a winner here. This one’s a tie.

Winner: Tie

Pricing and availability

The Kia EV9 is rolling out now, and it’ll soon be widely available and easy to buy, including in the U.S. The Volvo EM90, however, has only just been announced, and it has only been announced for China. In the announcement, Volvo said that availability would “start in China,” suggesting that the EM90 will come to other markets — but there’s no word on which other markets.

The Kia EV9 starts at $54,900, which is quite good. The Volvo EM90 will start at 818,000 yuan, which equates to around $114,000 — more than double the price of the EV9. That pricing could change if the EM90 eventually comes to the U.S..

The EV9 is cheaper and, of course, actually available.

Winner: Kia EV9

Overall winner: Kia EV9

The Kia EV9 is not only cheaper than the EM90, but it performs better and, in my opinion, has a better design. That’s not to say that the Volvo EM90 isn’t for you — it may well be. But if you want a large vehicle with a sleek design and a decent range, the Kia EV9 is probably the better option.

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