There’s no denying that America is in love with SUVs. And fashions with three rows of seats are fairly fashionable, particularly with bigger households. These automobiles are modern-day minivans with higher off-road potential and better towing capability. Whereas three-row SUVs usually present more room and utility, they’re additionally giant and heavy, making them much less fuel-efficient and extra harmful for different highway customers.
Security is a tough drawback to resolve with bigger, heavier automobiles, however electrification is an effective way to repair the gas effectivity difficulty. As well as, since SUVs are costlier than smaller, lighter crossovers to start out with, the extra value of electrification has much less of an impression on the general worth of the car. As such, electrical three-row SUVs are gaining traction with folks occupied with switching to EVs.
Now don’t get me fallacious. I wish to see extra inexpensive (sub-$30k) EVs come to market, however I imagine that right here in America, electrical pickup vehicles and three-row electrical SUVs usually tend to persuade American shoppers to purchase EVs – at the least within the quick run. I got here to this conclusion not too long ago after driving Kia’s model new EV9 three-row electrical SUV, a car that provides Rivian’s R1S a run for the cash.
Rivian R1S: the last word journey car
Rivian is, alongside Tesla and Lucid, one of many three American EV startups disrupting the auto business. Like its friends, it delivers a number of the finest EVs in the marketplace right this moment. These software-defined vehicles (SDVs) are designed from the bottom as much as be electrical and embody the R1S, a three-row electrical SUV that’s the last word journey car, and the R1T, an electrical pickup truck that’s the swiss-army knife of EVs.
With costs starting from $78,000 for a dual-motor (AWD) mannequin with the usual battery pack (260-mile EPA vary) to $99,000 for a efficiency dual-motor (AWD) model with the max battery pack (400-mile vary) – together with quad-motor (AWD) and huge battery pack (352-mile EPA vary) choices in-between – the R1S is dear. However you get what you pay for: an excellent mix of efficiency, consolation, and utility.
The R1S is as fast, luxurious, and sensible as an Audi RS7 Avant, extra off-road succesful than a Jeep Wrangler, and as tech-forward as any Tesla. Plus – and that is subjective – it seems nice. Backside line: in case you can afford it, the R1S is the three-row electrical SUV to beat. Whereas I haven’t examined the R1S but, I drove the R1T electrical pick-up truck for a day and was extraordinarily impressed. And I’m not a truck/SUV individual.
On the tech entrance, the R1S contains a 15.6-inch infotainment touchscreen (powered by Unreal Engine), Level 2+ ADAS, and full help for over-the-air updates (OTAs). It additionally comes with a flashlight hidden within the driver-side door and a detachable Bluetooth speaker that slides into the middle console. As well as, the R1S (and R1T) will get Tesla Supercharger access someday in 2024, plus a NACS connector in 2025.
However what actually units the R1S aside from the competitors is the usual absolutely impartial air suspension with adaptive dampers (for as much as 14.9 inches of floor clearance) and the non-obligatory quad-motor drivetrain. These options make this electrical SUV an absolute beast off-road. The R1S additionally packs twin 120V energy shops and an air compressor on-board, together with an 11 cubic-foot frunk underneath the hood.
Kia EV9: 80% of the R1S expertise for $14.1k much less
Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis (which all fall underneath the Hyundai Motor Group), are three conventional automobile manufacturers which are taking EVs severely and providing merchandise which are aggressive with these made by the three American EV startups. The ensuing E-GMP (Electrical International Modular Platform) -based EVs, Kia EV6, Hyundai IONIQ 5 / IONIQ 6, and Genesis GV60, are wowing reviewers and shoppers alike.
And Kia’s new EV9 is not any exception. This three-row electrical SUV delivers 80% of the R1S expertise for $14,100 much less – $63,900 for the EV9 Wind (AWD, 280 miles) vs. $78,000 for the bottom R1S (AWD, 260 miles). EV9 costs vary from $54,900 for the Gentle (RWD) mannequin with the 76.1kWh battery pack (230-mile EPA vary) to $73,900 for the GT-Line (AWD) model with the 99.8kWh battery (270-mile vary).
Whereas the EV9 is not any match for the R1S off-road, it does embody locking differentials, 7.8-inches of floor clearance. The EV9 additionally provides barely extra room for third-row occupants than the R1S however will get a a lot smaller frunk (just one.8 cu.ft). When it comes to efficiency, consolation, and utility, the EV9 GT-Line is kind of much like the bottom R1S. However the EV9 consists of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, that are lacking on the R1S.
Talking of tech, Kia’s 12.3-inch infotainment expertise isn’t as polished as Rivian’s, however the remainder of the EV9’s tech is stable, and consists of Stage 2+ ADAS. Not like the R1S, the EV9 isn’t a full SDV (software-defined car), however Kia claims this new EV helps OTA (over-the-air) updates for almost all of the car’s methods. Actually, the corporate already provides a Increase replace that improves acceleration (0-60mph in 4.5s).
One other replace delivers a choice of 5 distinctive lighting patterns for the LEDs embedded within the entrance grille. Like different E-GMP-based EVs, the EV9 helps V2L (vehicle-to-load) performance as much as 9.6kW through a pair of 120V energy shops and can get entry to Tesla’s Superchargers later this 12 months. The EV9 may even energy your private home in an emergency – assuming your electrical panel is correctly outfitted.
General, I loved driving the EV9. The outside design is sharp and trendy (it seems like an idea) and the inside is quiet and cozy (it feels premium). It’s additionally nice to drive, with a compliant experience and assured dealing with. Efficiency is spectacular for such a big, heavy car – which can also be true of the R1S. With the EV9, Kia is each going upmarket and making three-row electrical SUVs extra accessible.
Rivian’s R1S and Kia’s EV9 are simply two compelling three-row electrical SUVs accessible right this moment. However extra are on the best way, together with the Volvo EX90 Electrical, Hyundai IONIQ 7, and Cadillac VISTIQ. And that’s not counting electrical crossovers like Tesla’s Mannequin X and Y, which can be found with a smaller, non-obligatory third-row that’s finest fitted to kids. Frankly, contemplating the gasoline alternate options, it is a good factor.
Whereas I’m nonetheless involved concerning the risks giant, heavy vehicles and SUVs pose to others on the highway, driving Kia’s EV9 was an eye-opening expertise. Identical with Rivian’s R1T. If it takes electrical pickup vehicles and three-row electrical SUVs to persuade American shoppers to purchase EVs, I’m all for it. Hopefully, this doesn’t distract automobile producers from bringing inexpensive (sub-$30k) EVs to market as nicely.