Kia EV9 review: Look out Land Rover, you’ve got competition

The Air version tested here is a touch less impressive; more prone to jitter and fidgetiness over rougher surfaces and feeling slightly less well tied down, though that's not to say that it is uncomfortable by any stretch. In fact, there are plenty of combustion-engined SUVs that deliver worse ride comfort than this. At speed, there's a trickle of wind noise and some road rumble, but not so much that they become intrusive.

Again, the EV9's weight works to its advantage, making it feel rooted to the Tarmac; crosswinds rarely, if ever, blow it off course. And while it would be wrong to try to represent it as some sort of hot-hatch slayer, equally the EV9 changes direction with far greater alacrity than you'd expect of a car of this bulk. The front answers the steering cleanly and progressively, body lean is well controlled and as a result there's a decent amount of lateral grip to dig into - all of which translates into a car that shouldn't go to pieces during an emergency swerve.

The Telegraph verdict

Usually with EVs, the simplest, least complicated version is the one to have.

That isn't the case here. The two-wheel-drive model is good enough to earn four stars; it's the four-wheel-drive car, however, that feels the most special - in that form the EV9 might well get a full five. Having said that, whichever version you choose, it isn't hard to see that the EV9 is deserving of its most recent gong.

Yes, it's expensive, but so are the cars it is aiming to usurp; what's undoubtedly true is that no EV yet can come close to the level of practicality and versatility of the EV9, while few can match its sheer serenity. And the EV9 feels special enough that it just might work in the Home Counties. Lined up in a row of "normal" cars, it looks like it's just landed from the Planet Zog; inside, too, it feels cool and exciting, enough that it might just win over badge-conscious waverers.

Look out, Land Rover - Kia is on your turf, and it's coming to steal your chips.

The facts

On test: Kia EV9 Air Body style: five-door SUV On sale: now

How much? GBP65,025 on the road (range from GBP65,025) How fast?

114mph, 0-62mph in 9.4sec How economical?

3.1mpkWh (WLTP Combined) Electric powertrain: AC permanent magnet synchronous motor with 96kWh (estimated usable) battery, 210kW on-board charger, Type 2/CCS charging socket

Electric range: 349 miles (WLTP Combined) Maximum power/torque: 200bhp/258lb ft CO2 emissions: 0g/km (tailpipe), 28.8g/km (well-to-wheel)

VED: GBP0 Warranty: 7 years/100,000 miles Spare wheel as standard: no (not available)

The rivals

Volvo EX90 Twin Motor

402bhp, 363 miles, GBP96,255 on the road

Think the EV9 is expensive? Look at the price of its closest rival. Granted, the EX90 will be a true premium offering with more than double the power and a much more lavish interior - but its near-GBP100,000 entry price makes the EV9 look vaguely affordable.

And Kia throws in a much longer warranty, too.