Kia EV9 Luggage Test: How much fits behind the third row (and frunk)?

According to its interior dimension specs, the Kia EV9 electric SUV has 20.2 cubic-feet of cargo volume behind its raised third row. For comparison, the Kia Telluride has 21 cubic-feet, while most other three-row crossovers are in the 16-18 cubic-foot range. So, in theory, the EV9 should be able to carry more stuff behind its third row than most. It should also be awfully similar to the Telluride.

Of course, as I've found time and time again, it's rarely that simple. There are underfloor storage areas to consider, and in the EV9's case, a frunk as well. Let's see how much can actually fit back there.

Here is the space behind the third row. Immediately, I can see that this is an atypically deep space. Also, this is the first time I can remember that the wheel wells extended deeper than the third row. This would be the result of the EV9's electric platform that expands the wheelbase and pushes the wheels to the corners.


The Telluride relies upon a large, useful underfloor storage area (above right) to effectively lower its cargo floor and stuff in more bags than every competitor but the Chevrolet Traverse/Buick Enclave and Toyota Grand Highlander.

As you can see above left, the EV9 does not have this. It still provides a space to store the cargo cover (goes over the lowered third row) and there is space for the tire inflation bottle thingy and other odds and ends, but it is not useful for expanding luggage capacity.

Now, onto the bags. First, since the EV9's third row reclines, I set the angle (as always) to what I would deem a comfortable angle. That's as scientific as that gets, I'm afraid. Second, as with every Luggage Test, I use two midsize roller suitcases that would need to be checked in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 wide, 11 deep), two black roll-aboard suitcases that just barely fit in the overhead (24L x 15W x 10D), and one smaller green roll-aboard that fits easily (23L x 15W x 10D). I also include my wife's fancy overnight bag just to spruce things up a bit (21L x 12W x 12D).

Pretty good! The EV9 joins the Grand Highlander as the only three-row crossover I've tested that is wide enough to put my two biggest bags next to each other like that. They just barely fit in the EV9, though, and there was considerably more space between them and the liftgate in the Grand Highlander.

As you can see, the EV9's body narrows as it rises (aka tumblehome). It does so more than the Grand Highlander (and Lexus TX), which could fit both of my medium black bags end-to-end. The EV9 had to go with the shorter green bag instead. The Grand Highlander/TX also have enough remaining height and depth to swallow the final two bags, but again, that's the present gold standard.

This result is actually better than the Telluride if you don't use the underfloor area (which you couldn't if you weren't able to remove that cargo cover cartridge). If you DO use the underfloor area, however, the Telluride is able to hold all my bags except the fancy bag. Telluride is therefore quite a bit more useful than the 0.8 cubic-foot difference with the EV9 would suggest.

Now, the EV9's result is still better than the majority of three-row crossovers since it can hold both of my biggest bags. It's actually rare for one of them to fit.

Ah, but what about the frunk?

No help here I'm afraid. The frunk is way too small to fit any of my bags. On the bright side, its existence means that the emergency charge cord and Kia's electrical plug doo-dad (plug into car, plug whatever you want to power into plug) don't take up space in the cargo area. I'm not sure why the tire-filling bottle thingy can't go in here too.

To open the frunk, press the middle button above left twice. There's no latch necessary to fumble to find under the hood lip.

To open the frunk if you're an abducted Oompa-Loompa, lift the flap above right and press the glow-in-the-dark button.

Back to the cargo area, there is a 125V outlet behind a sliding cover. There are also buttons in this range-topping EV9 GT Line that lower the power-operated second row. While fancy and certainly nice once seated in those second-row captain's chairs, they take FOREVER to motor forward while trying to access the third row.

Here's something I've never seen before. Under a flap is a liftgate open/close button. Now, Ford and I'm sure others I've forgotten used to put the liftgate close button roughly here, without a cover, rather than on the now-expected placement on the liftgate itself. That's not what this is.

Instead, it seems to be for the sole purpose for opening and closing the liftgate from inside the EV9. If you hold the button and start to close the liftgate from outside, the liftgate stops once you lift your finger. I'm guessing that's why the flap is there.

Not sure if there was a demand for this, but hey, why not?

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