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Nobody Does The Australian Open Better Than Kia And The Omnipotent EV9 Cars

  • Jan 30, 2024
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Nobody Does The Australian Open Better Than Kia And The Omnipotent EV9 Cars

The following article was produced in partnership with Kia

There’s a common misconception about electric vehicles, that these things lack power and can’t go the distance. Certainly, this could’ve been true 20 years ago before the EV revolution had started to take hold, but with modern offerings such as the Kia EV6 and the formidable EV9, this couldn’t be further from the truth; modern electric vehicles are some of the most impressive releases hitting Australia’s roads.

This weekend, I was lucky enough to experience Kia’s latest offering to the EV market for myself, and I quickly realised that no one does the Australian Open better than Kia and the omnipotent Kia EV9.

Flying into Melbourne, I was struck by the incredible energy during the Australian Open. Growing up in South West London, I’m certainly no stranger to tennis, but I’ll admit, this is the first time I attended this impressive Grand Slam and it felt closer to a tennis festival than a traditional tournament.

Our day started in the Crown in Melbourne’s Southbank overlooking the Yarra River. After an important briefing, we were taken out to the front where a fleet of Kia’s impressive EV9s were waiting to take us away to our next destination.

The first thing you notice about the new Kia is their superior design; the Kia EV6 was the South Korean manufacturer’s first step into the electric SUV and represented the brand’s shift from an economic city runner to an impressive piece of machinery, but the all-electric EV9 takes this to a whole new level.

Parked together, I was struck by the cars’ presence and stature lined up outside the Crown. For a 7-seater SUV, the Kia EV9 felt incredibly elegant; its design, refined. In a sea of Ocean Blue Matte, the fleet boasted a rare futuristic look and feel that elevates the traditional SUV experience beyond the banalities of the everyday drives, although they’d be the perfect addition for the morning school run, I thought.

Down the side of the SUVs, Kia’s attention to detail extended beyond the intricacies under the hood, with alluring lines that follow the contours and shape of the cars. The embedded door handles, reminiscent of a futuristic driving vision, not only contribute to the Kia’s sleek and clean design, but also amplify its already remarkable impression.

Now I should say, I’m a tall guy. I struggle in the back seat of compact cars and certainly on long-haul flights. One of the main things I’m looking for in a car is ample legroom within every seat of the car, and the Kia EV9 exceeded my expectations; the thing’s a spaceship, with an in-built massager on the driver’s side in addition to the all-important Relaxation Mode

So we set the built-in navigation system, found a decent radio station in Melbourne and headed to our next destination.

We’ve written plenty about how much we love Kia’s new EV range here at DMARGE, and with good reason. Kia is effortlessly raising the standard of what discerning Australian drivers can expect from the inside of an electric vehicle, integrating luxury details in each of their new releases to make the EV the best choice on the roads.

Driving through South Melbourne last weekend, I was reminded of all the detail-oriented fixes that the new EV9 has addressed, such as the almost 30” LCD that extends from the middle console to behind the driver’s steering wheel for a seamless look and feel; it’s an easy-to-use display that transitions between the EV9’s number of exciting new features.

The EV9’s augmented reality HUD which sits above the driver’s field of view and suggests key information such as speed, navigation guidance and lane safety information, heightens experience from the driver’s seat.

Checking your mirrors, you’re met with Kia’s revolutionary digital mirror system; cameras extend out where the traditional wing mirrors should be, and you’re greeted with a wider and clearer rear view that increases visibility even in those annoying blind spots. Similar to the centre mirror, that uses a camera positioned on the rear spoiler and offers the driver full visibility, even with a packed car.

Arriving at the Brighton-based mansion that Kia Ambassador, Dylan Alcott, jokingly suggested was his house, I faintly heard the classical hum of the Succession theme playing in the EV9’s superior Meridian® surround sound system through 14 strategically placed speakers throughout the cabin.

Ok maybe not, but this house was incredible, and it was only the better when we met our amazing host, 15-time Grand Slam champion and Australian of the Year 2022, Dylan Alcott, who welcomed us to the house, and our arena for the morning’s tennis.

As a group of journalists, influencers and media types, there was the (correct) assumption that our tennis skills might not be up to the standard expected when presented with such an esteemed company. Which is fair. Even retired AFL royalty and Kia Ambassador, Buddy Franklin, looked more suited to the paradigms of an Aussie Rules pitch than in Dylan Alcott’s back garden… although he did excel at King of the Court, naturally. 

After some more failed attempts to return a 220 km/h serve from former Tennis pro, Daniel Guccione, we headed back to the hotel, tails between our legs, ready for an evening of tennis at the AO.

1,020,763 attended this year’s Australian Open, up from the previous record of 839,192, as tennis fans from all over the world arrived in Melbourne, Australia’s coastal capital of Victoria, to witness the greatest tennis players compete for the coveted AO title.

For more than 20 years, Kia has proudly sponsored Australia’s biggest live sporting event, positioning itself as the go-to vehicle of the tournament and is trusted as the player’s transport of choice to and from their matches.

Walking around the world-class grounds of the AO, Kia’s presence is abundantly clear; thousands of avid tennis fans walk under the waving Kia flags that line the tournament’s walkways; inside the world-renowned Rod Laver Arena, Kia’s banners envelop the players with each crucial serve; and the Kia Suite, that sits on the corner of the famous 1573 Court, is the perfect place to sit back and enjoy Kia’s famous Sunday Session in between the tennis action.

In the hours before Australia’s Alex de Minaur was set to take centre stage at Rod Laver Arena, we were treated to an afternoon of luxury at Kia’s Suite inside the grounds of the Australian Open, reflecting on our own performances on the court that morning.

Dylan Alcott had invited his friends to join him at this year’s Kia Sunday Session; Jungle Giants and the DMA’s were delivering DJ sets to keep the guests pumping until the main event; delicious canapés were circulating the room; and the bar was mixing world-class cocktails to get us ready for the evening for tennis.

The atmosphere was palpable inside Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena. The crowd, some 14,000 strong, was roaring in support of its homegrown hero as he faced off against the Russian challenger, Andrey Rublev.

Just moments before, Novak Djokovic had quickly dismantled any hopes that Adrian Mannarino had of progressing through to the quarter-final, beating the French star 6-0, 6-0, 6-3 in the Fourth Round. The fans inside the arena that evening were naturally hoping for a more even contest, in favour of their Australian hero. 

If Andrey Rublev was still unsure what to expect facing off against the last Australian left in the competition, the crowd inside the Rod Laver Arena quickly reminded the World No. 5 of the battle he was about to face.

“I started to tell to myself ‘You’re going to die today but you will do everything’ and somehow I started to play better and better. I found more energy and I was able to win.”

Andrey Rublev

Chants of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” cascaded through the crowd with each passing point as the raucous crowd attempted to lift their star. Rublev was able to take the first set 6-4, breaking the Australian ace with a formidable cannon of a forehand that de Minaur struggled to contain.

Alex de Minaur roared back and ripped the second and third set from the Russian, who allowed the occasion to break his focus as he stood on the baseline, holding his legs, perplexed and seemingly alone. But in the end, Rublev prevailed and took the final two sets from the hopeful Aussie as quickly as the first, breaking de Minaur’s serve three times in the last and ending any hope at this year’s tournament.

After the match, we met up with our group in the underground car park that the Australian Open players use to enter and exit the grounds, and reunite with the fleet of white Kia EV9s.

Jumping into the middle seat on the back row, in between two other big lads, I was still processing the 4-hour battle we had all witnessed inside the AO that evening. I often replay moments in my head from the live game I had just enjoyed. But this time, my mind quickly wandered to how comfortable the three of us were.

Kia doesn’t just drive the future; it serves it up with a touch of luxury, a return of innovation, and a whole lot of style.


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