Titch Talk: Are EVs Disrupting Brand Perception – From Range Rover to the Kia EV9.

By Paul Titchmarsh, Operations Director at JCT600 VLS

When the last generation of Range Rover was launched in 2012, I’m fairly certain if you’d suggested people would consider a Volvo XC90 as an alternative, you’d have been met with a puzzled expression. Jump to 2015 when the current XC90 broke cover and suddenly Volvo had really moved upmarket. This car spawned the next XC60, V60 and the other family members and strangely enough, it gained traction. It was firmly in the running for consideration against Range Rover products – probably more RR Sport than full size, but the eagle had landed.

Fast forward to 2023 with Kia having made enormous strides over the last 5 years or so, they are firmly leaving budget territory behind and certainly hitting customer choices where Volkswagen and Volvo have comparable models. The EV6 for Kia had suddenly made the brand competitive and relevant against Volvo (XC40), Tesla (Model 3), Audi (Q4) and Polestar (2) as just a few interesting examples.

This is where the switch to EV is subtly changing views on brands. As there are fewer models in each price bracket/body type than the equivalent piston vehicle categories it is a slightly forced comparison – but to be credible, the vehicles have to be right and the EV6 certainly has hit the nail on the head for Kia.

The next challenger from Kia is now about to appear, the EV9. Would customers 5 years ago have considered a large Kia against the fabulous new XC90 that is treading on Range Rover’s toes, probably not, but they certainly might today. That being said, Volvo have complicated matters a little by launching EX90 an all-new BEV equivalent to XC90, it does however have a “starting from” tag of £95k. Whereas the EV9 is a large SUV with 7 seats as standard and the “starting from” tag? £65k.

That is quite a way from £95k, although this is for a 2wd car with 201hp. 4wd starts at £72.5k but the extra motor bumps the power up to 378hp. Key things to note on the 4wd model:

  • Has a range of 308 miles, so a solid effort
  • Boasts a sizeable 99.8 kWh battery
  • The charging system can operate at up to 240kW
  • 10-80% can be finned in under 25 minutes when charging in ideal conditions
  • Has a heat pump, a great bonus for vehicle efficiency in colder weather

Size wise EV9/EX90/XC90 are remarkably similar. Within +/- 5cm of 5 meters in length, 3cm of 2 meters in width and 2cm of 1.75 meters in height. Then there is the styling. This car doesn’t copy anyone, you’ll surely recognise one when you see it. Whether your view is it looks a bit like Tonka or Lego is up to you, but there is no doubt it is imposing and very modern in style.

So, who knew? Kia stepping into the large £65k+ SUV arena, with a more than credible alternative to premium competitors.