Kia and Tesla are leading the way in the EV market by offering drivers greener and more sustainable vehicles without sacrificing performance or luxury. Additionally, they have competing SUV models like the yet-to-be-released Kia EV9 and the Tesla Model X (2023) that prioritize comfort and more seating capacity.
The Kia EV9 is the newest addition to the electric SUV market, with a unique exterior design plus a spacious and attractive interior made using recycled and sustainable materials. In contrast, the Tesla Model X is among the most expensive and luxurious electric SUVs, known for its elegant design, advanced infotainment system, and falcon wing doors.
But the question remains: which electric SUV should you buy? Is it the premium-priced Tesla Model X? Or the affordable Kia EV9 to be released in late 2023 or early 2024?
Let’s compare these two electric SUVs by exploring their specifications, features, and pricing to help you make an informed decision.
Kia EV9 vs. Tesla Model X: A Side-by-Side Comparison
|Kia EV9 (Base Model)||Tesla Model X (2023)|
|Release Year||Late 2023||2015 (initial release), upgraded in 2023|
|Price||$50,000 – $75,000||$99,990 – $109,990|
|Range||300 miles||348 miles|
|Horsepower||200 hp||670 hp|
|Torque||250 ft/lbs||469 ft/lbs|
|Weight||Over 5,000 lbs||Long Range 5,185 lbs|
|Seating Capacity||6- and 7-seater options||5-, 6-, and 7-seat configuration options|
|Recharge Time||80% in 20-30 minutes||100% in 25-30 minutes at Supercharger|
|Acceleration||0 – 60 mph in 8.5 seconds||0 – 60 mph in 6 secs|
Kia EV9 vs. Tesla Model X: What’s the Difference?
Kia EV9 and Tesla Model X are three-row SUVs with lots to offer and some huge differences. Let’s compare them based on their common features: price, interior, exterior, battery capacity, performance, and connectivity.
Price and Availability
The Kia EV9 is the brand’s flagship vehicle, whose concept design was first revealed in November 2021 during the Los Angeles Auto Show. It was not until March 2023 that Kia revealed the production model.
Although Kia has yet to share the price or specifications of the EV9, we anticipate it to cost between $50,000 for the base model and $75,000 for the topmost trims. It’s expected to be available as the 2024 model, and it’ll be ready for purchase at the end of 2023 or early 2024. With only a few three-row electric SUVs available from luxury brands like Mercedes and Tesla, the Kia EV9 will be affordable and accessible to people looking to own a functional yet stylish electric SUV.
The Tesla Model X is a high-end luxury electric SUV that’s been on the market since 2015, when it was initially made available on a pre-order basis with a deposit of between $5,000 and $40,000. Eight years later, the Tesla Model X has received numerous upgrades, and the 2023 base model is now available worldwide for $120,000. The price might be steep for most, but it’s worth it for a super-fast, functional, and practical electric SUV from the leading EV automaker globally.
The Tesla Model X has special features, like the Full-Self Driving Capability for $15,000 and the Enhanced Autopilot mode for $6,000. You should also note that Tesla does not include a charger with their EVs. You must also pay $425 for a Wall Connector (a quick and convenient home charging solution) or $230 for a Mobile Connector (a convenient charging solution for home and away).
The Kia EV9 is an evolution of Kia’s design language, including a boxy profile with bold creases that jut out from the bodywork. The front has Kia’s trademark “tiger nose” that gives the car a strong and distinctive face, but it doesn’t have grills because the lack of a combustion engine makes front air intakes unnecessary. The front features “S-shaped” DRL headlights with 3D detailing and unique daytime running lights that play an animation when you turn on the vehicle.
The EV9 is a beast considering it’s longer and wider than the Kia Telluride at 4.9 meters long, 2 meters wide, and almost 1.8 meters high. The side view of the Kia EV9 is defined by flush-fitted door handles and side skirts that open all the way. Unfortunately, traditional front-hinged doors in the concept model have replaced the rear-hinged back doors. The production model comes with two-tone 21” alloy wheels with a square-shaped, blacked-out design, but we also expect the option of triangular-shaped wheels, as seen in the concept. The futuristic angular profile of the Kia EV9 gives it a sophisticated design that’s highly capable, adventurous, and practical.
The Tesla Model X also has a futuristic and iconic design with elegant details. It’s smaller than most SUVs on the road, 5.05 meters long, 1.9 meters wide, and 1.6 meters high when set at medium suspension, but it has a 5,000 lb. towing capacity. It’s a curvy electric SUV that looks more like a luxury vehicle than it does a seven-seater SUV.
It has electrically powered doors that are nothing short of spectacular. The driver’s door opens automatically as you approach the vehicle with a key, and you can open the passenger’s door simply by pressing the door handle. Once you’re inside, you don’t need to pull the doors to close them. Instead, simply press the foot break, and the doors shut. A feature of the Model X we can’t get enough of is the falcon wing rear doors that open towards the skies to provide great access to the rear seats. You can open and close the falcon wing doors using the key fob on the Tesla app, a button inside the car, or by selecting an icon on the touchscreen. The Tesla Model X has numerous sensors that detect and prevent the doors from bumping into people and objects.
The Tesla Model X has two types of exterior lights: automatic lights and others you control from the touchscreen. Headlights, taillights, parking lights, license plate lights, and side marker lights are some of the lights that come on automatically when you’re driving in low-light conditions. Hazard flashers and turn signal flashers require you to turn them on and off manually.
The Kia EV9 is the manufacturer’s first three-row electric SUV with a premium interior cabin focusing on stillness and mindfulness. It comes with three seating rows in either six or seven-seat configuration options. The second row has two adjustable captain’s chairs that turn around to face the rear row, a feature borrowed from old models of Chrysler minivans. You can also turn these second-row seats to face the door. This 90-degree rotation comes in handy when you want to sit facing outside when parked at a scenic location or fixing kids’ car seats in the car.
The third row includes only two seats with sufficient legroom thanks to the flat floor and excellent headroom for extremely tall people, thanks to the high and relatively flat roofline. The seats on the third row are adjustable and have an AC controller overhead and a gigantic quarter glass, all to maximize the comfort of the backseat passengers. The dashboard is minimalist, with a dual-screen setup for the driver information gauge and infotainment system within your eye line. It also has a few knobs and buttons, like the volume, hazard, and temperature controllers, while the touch menu items below the screen have haptic feedback to ensure you keep your eyes on the road even as you scroll.
The Kia EV9 introduces a new steering wheel, different from what we got with the Kia EV6, that now houses the gear selector with an on and off button. The panoramic sunroof that extends from the second to the third row of this car elevates comfort levels by allowing passengers to capture natural light and scenery during rides. The Tesla Model X has a sophisticated and luxurious interior with a yoke steering wheel, an expansive panoramic windshield, ample sitting space, and leather upholstery. The steering is not the easiest to use, but it makes driving on autopilot better because you have an open space to place your hands as the car cruises.
Say goodbye to the annoying vertical touchscreen in previous generation Tesla Model X versions and hello to a convenient 17-inch horizontal touchscreen. The touchscreen can tilt towards or away from the driver, and right below it is a wireless phone charging station and numerous USB-C charging ports throughout the vehicle. Most navigation is done on the screen, including switching gears, because this Tesla EV has very few buttons.
The Tesla Model X is available in five, six, and seven-seat configuration options, allowing you to choose the setup that works for your family and provides maximum comfort. There’s sufficient legroom throughout the vehicle, especially for the five- and six-seat configurations. It also has space between the two middle-row captain’s chairs for easy access to the third-row seat.
The third-row seats are also roomy and have cup holders and USB-C ports. Comfort is guaranteed on this Tesla EV model thanks to the adaptive air suspension that maintains level height for the front and rear to ensure a smooth ride. These seats fold down to reveal additional trunk space and deep storage under it, and you get more space in the front trunk than you do in the Model Y or Model 3, where you can fit in a small suitcase.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Kia EV9 launches a new generation of infotainment, but very little has been revealed about that so far. However, we know that the production model comes with a pair of 12.3-inch screens: one on the left for the gauge cluster and the other on the right side for infotainment, separated by an HVAC readout.
It also comes with a few physical knobs and buttons, including the volume knob, the hazard button, and a few key HVAC control buttons. The dash has several touch-sensitive controls with haptic feedback that help you jump between menus. The Tesla Model X has an impressive infotainment system that includes a huge 17-inch infotainment screen that’s placed at the center of the dashboard. It boasts a 2,200 x 1,300p resolution and superior responsiveness. These features elevate the navigation experience for the driver and deliver a smooth movie streaming and gaming experience for the passengers.
The touchscreen can tilt towards or away from the driver, and right below it is a wireless phone charging station. The Tesla Model X has another display screen right in front of the middle row seats that the passengers at the back can leverage for climate control, watching movies, streaming music, or gaming.
Your passengers can also charge their devices from anywhere in the vehicle, thanks to the numerous USB-C charging ports throughout the vehicle. There are two at the medium console, two below the second-row display, and two more at the third-row console. Even better, like with all other Tesla EVs, you can download the Tesla app on your phone, which allows you to control everything remotely, from opening and closing doors to venting windows, adjusting climate controls, and changing drive modes.
Battery Capacity and Recharging
Kia is yet to reveal the actual battery capacity of the EV9, but we believe it’s the same 77 kWh battery used in the EV6 and EV GT. This battery is fast charging, filling up from 10 to 80% in less than 30 minutes, and has a long range of up to 300 miles on a single charge. The E9 is also expected to use the same 800-volt charger used for the EV6. It also has a solar panel under the hood vent to replenish a small amount of energy. The Tesla Model X boasts more powerful lithium-ion batteries than the E9, rated at 100 kWh, which can power your vehicle for up to 348 miles when your battery is fully charged. The Tesla Model X is an efficient EV SUV, especially for people traveling long distances because you can charge it anywhere.
The ever-expanding Tesla’s Supercharger network has over 40,000 charging stations worldwide, which can get you up to 175 miles of range in under 15 minutes and 40 minutes for a full charge. You can also rely on the 100V Mobile Connector Bundle or the 220V Tesla Wall Connector that you can connect wherever you find an electricity source. The home charging option is slow and requires the vehicle to be connected overnight to get a full battery.
Kia has been quiet about the expected performance of the EV9, so we don’t have hard numbers on range or capacity yet. But, going by the specs we know and the information on the streets, there are a few things we can anticipate. For instance, we expect the EV9 to come with a single rear motor and a dual motor setup for all-wheel drive. Base models will have a single-rear-wheel electric motor that outputs 200 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. This may not seem like much, but it makes the Kia EV9 base model a reliable family vehicle that accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds. The models with dual motors and all-wheel drive will have 400 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6 seconds.
Although off-road capability is not among the features EV buyers prioritize. However, Kia highlighted the concept that this vehicle is off-road capable thanks to its rugged and adventurous design. Kia has even been putting the production model through rigorous off-road tests to push its durability limits and ensure it can perform on tracks, rough terrain, deep waters, and steep hills without trouble.
The Tesla Model X is among the most powerful and fastest electric SUVs on the market today. It keeps the performance of the electric SUV at par with a sports car. This electric SUV is powered by rear and front-wheel motors, making it all-wheel drive. It produces 670 horsepower, enabling this EV to maneuver through different terrains easily. The Model X powers up from 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds, almost half the time we get with the Kia EV9, and can go as fast as 155 mph. It also has a two-inch receiver and wiring for an accessory carrier that can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
The unique selling point for the Kia EV9 must be its sustainability. For starters, the solar panel we spoke about above helps to boost the EV’s juice, which would come in handy when you take this car off-road and get caught out somewhere without electricity. The interior is also made with natural and recycled materials, such as recycled plastic bottles for the seats and old fishnets repurposed as floor fabric. All the upholstery in the EV9 is made from vegan leather instead of natural leather.
The Tesla Model X has many “special features” compared to other electric SUVs. But the special feature we’d like to highlight here is the Full-Self Driving (FSD) feature you can get for only $15,000. The FSD is a computer-powered driver assistance feature that can ease the burden of long drives by requiring less input from the driver.
You can use the FSD feature to automate repetitive maneuvers like lane changes, adjusting speed to maintain a safe distance from other drivers, and auto parking with minimal driver input. However, it still requires the driver’s attention and hands on the steering wheel to maintain control and responsibility for the vehicle.
Kia EV9 vs. Tesla Model X: 5 Must-Know Facts
- With the Tesla Model X, you can purchase the full-self driving and enhanced autopilot packages for added convenience.
- The Tesla Model X is the only electric SUV with falcon wing rear doors that are sleek and elegant.
- The interior of the Kia EV9 is made from natural and recycled materials, such as plastic bottles and fishnets.
- The Kia EV9 has two 12.3-inch infotainment screens on the dashboard.
- The Tesla Model X has a 27-inch screen on the dashboard and a smaller one in front of the middle-row seats.
Kia EV9 vs. Tesla Model X: Which One is Better?
The EV9 and the Tesla Model X are amazing SUVs with a seven-seat passenger capacity. Everything else between the two electric SUVs is worlds apart, and your budget, needs, and design preferences greatly impact your final decision.
The Kia EV9 is your standard SUV, but it’s electrically powered and cheaper than most other electric SUVs today. It supports fast charging and solar backup charging, has a long mileage range, and offers solid performance. We love it most for its spacious interior with rotatable second-row seats, ample headroom for all passengers, and sustainably made upholstery. If your choice was solely based on budget and spaciousness, then the EV9 is the best option.
The Tesla Model X wins the hearts of many because it merges an SUV design with sports car performance without foregoing the luxurious look and feel of Tesla vehicles. It’s ideal if you want to travel long distances in different terrains, and you never have to worry about where to recharge it, thanks to the thousands of Supercharger stations spread across the globe. Not to forget, you can plug it in anywhere there’s electricity using your wall or mobile connector. Unfortunately, the Tesla Model X is among the most expensive SUVs in the world, and you have to pay $120,000 or more for additional functionalities to take this car home.