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First Look: Kia EV3

by | May 24, 2024

Kia brings its newest thinking to a compact, five-door battery electric vehicle.

The Kia EV3’s form language is derived from the far larger EV9 SUV.

Kia introduced the EV3 in South Korea Thursday, an all-electric five-door hatchback that brings a heavy dose of EV9 style to the compact vehicle segment.

“The EV3 aims to extend Kia’s exceptional EV SUV experience to a wider audience,” said Ho Sung Song, President and CEO of Kia.

“With a WLTP driving range of up to 600km and fast-charging capability, the EV3 addresses common concerns about electric vehicles. It will reassure those who may have been hesitant to make the switch to electric mobility and will lead the mass adoption of EVs.”

Those are big words.

A bold design

The clean rear hatch design looks somewhat like an updated rendition of the Kia Soul.

But the Kia EV3 proves to be a striking little EV, the smallest vehicle yet to wear the brand’s Opposites United design language first seen on the three-row Kia EV9. Its angles and planes make for a big design statement in a small package, one that measures 169.2 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, 61.4 inches high, and riding on a 105.5-inch wheelbase.

“The EV3 embodies our design philosophy perfectly,” said Karim Habib, Executive Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design. “Its future-facing aesthetic is further emboldened by the choice of daring colors; inside, the spacious cabin and the incorporation of new organic materials express a youthful sense of energy and playfulness.”

That playfulness includes vertical headlamps, a revised rendition of Kia’s iconic Tiger Face facia, long sloping roofline, and geometric side design accents that give it an aggressive, distinctive presence. Its rear hatch sports a design that recalls other Kia hatchbacks, including the well-loved Soul. Overall, its flat, geometric surfaces lend the vehicle a greater sense of volume than its size might suggest.

Inside, designers maximized the available space to make room for five passengers.

Its front facia wears a revised Tiger Shark design and vertical headlamps.

To enhance the sense of space up front, the center console stops short of the instrument panel, freeing up space. The horizontal dashboard features controls below the screen for mapping, media, and vehicle system configuration designed to be easy to use while conserving space. The screen itself is nearly 30 inches wide, incorporating a 12.3-inch instrument cluster, a five-inch air-conditioning panel, and a 12.3-inch infotainment display. Kia says the cabin’s colors, materials, and trims are inspired by air, earth, and water.

A Harman Kardon audio system is standard. Overseas, Kia plans to offer in-car gaming, although it remains to be seen if that passes muster with U.S. regulators. It will also offer Kia’s AI Assistant technology, a human-like virtual assistant, that will be available in South Korea and Europe.

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Watts inside

The EV3’s instrument panel features a screen nearly 30 inches wide.

The EV3 is built on the company’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), using Kia’s fourth-generation battery technology. Offered in two trims, the Kia EV3 Standard is equipped with a 58.3-kWh battery, while the EV3 Long Range gets a bigger 81.4-kWh battery. Both packs are equipped to a 150-kW electric motor that produces 209 pound-feet of torque. Kia states a 0-100 km time of 7.5 seconds, a top speed of 105 mph, and a range as high as 373 miles in WLTP testing. Look for an EPA range closer to 328 miles should the EV3 come to America. As you might expect, it comes with regenerative braking, although you can adjust the amount of regen.

The automaker says the battery charges from 10-to-80 percent in about 31 minutes, although that’s most likely using a DC fast charger.

Everywhere you look, even the center console, designers aimed to maximize the feeling of space.

Advanced Driving Assistance Systems technology includes Electric Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control to ensure the EV3 transfers its power to the road smoothly and stably. Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Highway Driving Assist, and Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist. Kia Smart Parking is optional, as is a Head-Up Display.

The EV3 will initially launch in South Korea in July, followed by Europe in the second half of the year. The company said other regions will follow after that, but didn’t specify if or when the vehicle is coming to the U.S.


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