Kia EV9 makes history as first electric vehicle to win Drive Car of the Year

Sydney, Monday 19th February 2024 – Leading automotive and lifestyle network, Drive, has crowned the Kia EV9 the 2024 Drive Car of the Year. It is the first time in the award’s 18-year history a fully electric vehicle (EV) has been named the overall winner.

Offering a glimpse into the future of family-friendly, zero-emissions SUVs, the Kia EV9 represents a significant step forward in the EV space. The win also reflecting the growth Drive is seeing across the market, with Australians buying two and a half times more electric vehicles in 2023 than the year prior*.

Launching in 2006, the ambition of Drive Car of the Year has been to showcase the best of what’s next in cars available for Australian drivers to buy today. Assessing hundreds of models each year and narrowing down the field to a group of cars leading their respective categories, taking the hassle out of researching a new car for many consumers.

This year, Drive judges reviewed and tested over 400 new models that went on sale during 2023 to select the overall winner, the Kia EV9, from a finalist list of 18 category winners aligned to consumers varied budgets and style preferences.

Drive CEO, Simon Halfhide said, “Drive Car of the Year continues to be the most comprehensive Australian car awards programs designed to deliver valuable guidance for consumers on the best cars that are driving our industry forward.

“This year has seen the biggest step change in the history of the awards. Three short years ago we introduced the first fully electric category into the Drive Car of the Year which comprised of just three models. And here we are in 2024 with not only a market growth of around 90,000 EVs sold in 2023 but with an EV taking out both the overall award and all top three finalist positions,” said Halfhide.

Drive’s Director of Content, James Ward, said “The EV9 presents the future that families are looking for. It remains highly functional and practical as a seven seat SUV but offers cutting edge electrification for silent, clean, and cost-effective long-term ownership.

“We know that not every buyer is ready for electric and that not every family is shopping at this price point, but the EV9 is worth the attention of every new car buyer for what it brings to the market and for the potential it shows around what will come next. This is the car that will set the tone for the next generation of Australian family cars. Making it a true game changer for buyers,” added Ward.

On the win, Kia Australia’s CEO, Damien Meredith added, “The team at Kia Australia is thrilled the EV9 has been awarded Drive Car of the Year 2024 and in turn, has become Drive’s first all-electric vehicle recipient of the overall award. The Kia EV9 is a bold and confident, all-electric, upper large SUV featuring an array of advanced technology, expansive battery range and performance, and a refined locally tuned suspension.

“The EV9 plays an important role as the halo model of a very diverse product range offering, and we appreciate the Drive judges recognising the exceptional and unique car that it is,” concluded Meredith.

Drive TV continues to extensively cover the rise of electric vehicles in Australia, and has produced a 10-part series dedicated to electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles, and two EV specials, with a further two planned for 2024. All episodes of Drive TV are available for streaming on 9Now:

2024 Drive Car of the Year Finalists:



Best Urban Car under $30K

Volkswagen Polo 85 TSI Life

Best Urban Car under $50K

Volkswagen Golf 110 TSI Life

Best Small SUV under $50K

Hyundai Kona Hybrid Premium

Best Small SUV under $80K

Volvo XC40 B4 Ultimate

Best Medium SUV under $50K


Best Medium SUV under $80K

Lexus NX 350H

Best Family Car under $80K

Kia Carnival SLI Diesel

Best Large SUV under $80K

Toyota Kluger GXL Hybrid

Best Luxury Car under $100K

Mercedes-Benz C-Class C200

Best Luxury SUV under $150K

Mercedes-Benz GLC GLC300

Best Off-Road SUV under $80K

Ford Everest Sport V6

Best Luxury Off-Road SUV under $150K

Land Rover Defender 110 D300

Best Dual-Cab Ute under $50K

Ssangyong Musso Ultimate XLV

Best Dual-Cab Ute over $50K

Ford Ranger Sport V6

Best Electric Vehicle under $50K

MG MG4 Essence 64

Best Urban Electric Vehicle under $100K

Tesla 3 Long Range

Best Family Electric Vehicle under $100K

Kia EV9 Air

Best Luxury Electric Vehicle under $150K

BMW iX xDrive40


Kia EV9 Air

*Data published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries reports 87,217 electric vehicles as sold in 2023, up 161.1 per cent on the 33,410 reported as sold the year prior – in a market up 12.5 per cent.

/Public Release.