By Moses Akaigwe


Kia EV9’s global winning streak is not about to come to a halt, and this is because the all-electric three-row midsize SUV won three awards at two different events same day last week.

The EV9 achieved a remarkable dual victory at the 2024 World Car Awards. Revealed during a live announcement at the World Car Awards ceremony at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday, March 27, the EV9 secured prestigious titles for both World Car of the Year and World Electric Vehicle.

The honours are coming at a time the Kia representative in Nigeria, Kia Motors Nigeria Ltd, is introducing EV9’s younger sister – the EV 6 – with an invitation to lovers of the brand to book for the new arrival (and enjoy a special introductory offer reserved only for early buyers of the electric vehicle).

Selected by a jury of 100 distinguished automotive journalists representing 29 countries, the World Car Awards recognised the Kia EV9’s innovative design, spacious seven-seat interior, and competitive price point.

Based on the E-GMP platform, the EV9 is the first Kia to feature fourth-generation battery technology for improved performance.

Established in 2003, the World Car Awards are renowned globally as a premier standard for automotive excellence and leadership, celebrating remarkable accomplishments within a rapidly changing automotive industry.

Prior to the 2024 event, Kia had already claimed three wins at the World Car Awards – the Telluride as World Car of the Year and the Soul EV as World Urban Car in 2020, along with the Kia EV6 GT taking World Performance Car of the Year in 2023.

Reacting to the award, Ho Sung Song, President and CEO at Kia said, “We are hugely honoured that the EV9 has been named the World Car of the Year and World Electric Vehicle. This triumph is a testament to our unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology and design excellence.

“The Kia EV9’s continued success will drive us to keep delivering exceptional vehicles that redefine the driving experience for customers around the world.”

The two wins in the World Car Awards add to an already impressive haul of accolades for the Kia EV9.

And the EV9 awards haul includes victory in two key categories at this year’s Newsweek World’s Greatest Auto Disruptors Awards, also announced in New York, the USA, on March 27.

Apart from the all-electric EV9 winning ‘Research and Development Disruptor of the Year’, Kia’s Head of Kia Global Design, Executive Vice President Karim Habib, was also named ‘Design Disruptor of the Year’.

Announced during an event at Newsweek HQ in New York, the World’s Greatest Auto Disruptors Awards recognise those driving fundamental, transformative change with measurable real-world results.

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These latest accolades follow on from previous Hyundai Motor Group successes, including 2022 wins in the ‘R&D Team of the Year’ and ‘Powertrain of the Year’ categories, as well as individual honours for Executive Chair Euisun Chung – named ‘Visionary of the Year’ in 2022 – and Chief Creative Officer Luc Donckerwolke – named ‘Designer of the Year’ in 2023.

A central figure in Kia’s success since his arrival in 2019, EVP Karim Habib is the driving force behind the brand’s award-winning Opposites United design philosophy.

Taking inspiration from the contrasts found in nature and humanity, Opposites United shapes the exterior, interior, colour, and materials employed across all new Kia models, and is particularly evident in the striking styling of the all-electric EV9.

Speaking upon the announcement of his award, EVP Karim said: “It makes me extremely happy that Kia is seen as pushing the boundaries when it comes to design, and I believe that it is essential for designers to consistently take creative risks.

“It is important that design remains authentic and true to our brand values. At Kia, an innovative and forward-thinking mindset is an intrinsic quality, essential for providing relevant and meaningful products and experiences. We want our brand to provide environmentally responsible mobility for all; and we want our brand to be a symbol of innovation and progressive solutions.”

Winner of Kia’s second award of the evening, for ‘Research and Development Disruptor of the Year’, the Kia EV9 features multiple innovative R&D features including 800V architecture, Over The Air (OTA) update technology, and a drag coefficient of just 0.28, bringing next generation technology, luxury, and efficiency to more buyers than ever before.

Heuiwon Yang, President and Head of Kia R&D Division, said: “Kia R&D is driven by process, but not limited by it. At Kia, that means our engineers have the agency and trust to accelerate development, continue to pioneer new technology, and deliver improvements faster than the industry average.

“The EV9 was designed to reshape expectations in the segment, but affordability is a defining factor in the three-row mainstream segment—especially for growing families. We wanted the EV9 to offer the best of everything, without passing on those costs to the consumer.”

Receiving the award on behalf of Kia, President and CEO of Kia North America and Kia America Seungkyu (Sean) Yoon added: “The recognition of Newsweek’s editors is of particular significance to Kia, which strives to disrupt the status quo through innovative products which enrich the lives of their users.

“These dual awards demonstrate that the visionary leadership offered by our senior executives is having a real and meaningful impact on the vehicles which we create, delivering on Kia’s goal to become the leader in sustainable mobility solutions.”

These latest awards follow on Kia’s recent five-award status at the 2024 iF Design Awards, where the Kia EV9 added to its honourable list of awards with exclusive Gold award status while demonstrating the continuing impact of Kia’s ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy.

In addition to the EV9’s successes, Kia was honoured to have several other projects recognised by the iF judges, including the branding for Kia’s ’80 years of movement’ communications, its ‘Windows of Inspiration’ trade fair booth design and ‘Kia EV Unplugged Ground’ interactive media experience.

The iF Design Awards were founded in 1954 by iF International Forum Design GmbH in Hanover, one of the world’s leading independent design institutions. Each year around 10,800 designs from 72 nations are considered for the awards, which honour and celebrate winners in 81 categories across nine disciplines: Product, Communication,

Packaging, Service Design, Architecture, Interior Architecture, User Experience (UX), User Interface (UI) and Professional Concepts. To be win an iF Design Award requires passing a rigorous two-stage selection process adjudicated by renowned design experts, signifying a design’s contemporary relevance and global impact.