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Update: Added 18 additional spy photos in a new gallery, available below.

The large, boxy Kia EV9 concept revealed last year is one step closer to production. New spy photos capture Kia’s new battery-electric vehicle out testing for the first time, and the SUV looks quite similar to the concept that precedes it. The production version will retain 80 to 90 percent of the concept’s styling, and a lot of it is visible despite the camouflage and cladding.

The exposed front fenders on the test vehicle feature the same Y-shaped creases as the concept. The Kia also features the concept’s vertical headlight, but it looks like the designers toned them down for the production model. The test vehicle loses the concept’s suicide rear doors for a more traditional design.

Gallery: Kia EV9 Additional Spy Photos

While Kia attempts to hide the SUV’s rear fender arches, the Y-shaped taillights hint at their wide, flat styling. The taillights retain the shape of the concept’s ones, but they look a bit thicker for production. Cladding distorts the rear bumper and hatch, but we hope the concept’s roof spoiler made it through the final design process.

Gallery: Kia EV9 Spy Photos

While this is our first look at the production version, we do have a good idea about what to expect when it launches. The EV will go on sale sometime next year in the US, likely delivering around 300 miles (483 kilometers) of range. It should go on sale for around the $50,000 mark and be capable of hitting 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) in around 5 seconds.

We don’t know anything specific about the powertrain, but the EV9 will ride on the E-GMP architecture that underpins the EV6 and other EVs underneath the Hyundai Motor Group umbrella. The battery technology will allow fast charging that can refill the battery to 80 percent in 30 minutes. We know the EV9 will get a high-performance GT variant, and it’ll be big, measuring 5 meters (16.4 feet) long, 2 m (6.5 ft.) wide, and 1.8 m (5.9 ft.) tall.

The Kia EV9 is one of several EVs we should expect from Kia over the coming years. The Korean brand plans to launch 14 battery-electric vehicles worldwide through 2027. It will launch two new EVs a year, starting in 2023, so the EV9 shouldn't be Kia’s only EV reveal next year. 

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