Kia has taken the wraps off of its EV5, a smaller, five-passenger version of the EV9. Squint a little and the two cars look almost identical. That’s a good thing, as the EV9 is basically a box on wheels, which means there’s a ton of room inside for people and their stuff.
Other manufacturers are hell bent on designing SUVs with low, swooping roof lines they call “coupe-like.” They may be lovely to look at and they certainly are more aerodynamically efficient, which translates into longer range, but they can’t deliver the same rear-seat headroom or cargo carrying capacity as a boxy design like the EV5.
Kia is planning a full product reveal on EV Day this October, at which time we expect pricing and specifications will be revealed. For now, all we have to go on is the official EV5 press release, which says the Kia EV5 brings a new era of electric mobility to the compact SUV sector to meet the needs of millennial families.
It seamlessly blends a transformative design, exceptional versatility, and outstanding comfort to deliver a harmoniously balanced vehicle. Every attribute of the EV5 has been designed and engineered to provide the flexibility required by modern families and enhance their enjoyment on every journey.
If you like the look of the EV9, which is essentially a battery version of the Kia Palisade, but want a car that is a little more agile in urban driving, the EV5 may be exactly what you are looking for. Kia goes to some lengths to describe the “tiger mask” appearance of the front end, though it’s an open question how many customers get excited about such ephemera.
From every angle, the confident and dignified nature of the EV5 is reflected in its powerful fenders and wide shoulder lines, creating a solid and unique quarter silhouette. The pushed back D pillars further highlight the EV5’s family-friendly practicality and accentuate the spaciousness of the rear seat and the trunk while providing a wide field of visibility, Kia says.
Suffice to say, the EV5 is bold and brawny with slab sides instead of creases. It doesn’t pretend to be a sports car. It is exactly what it looks like — a 5-passenger people hauler with attitude.
The Best Part Of The EV5 Is Inside
“The Kia EV5 was created to redefine the compact SUV genre with a form shaped by Kia’s unique design philosophy ‘Opposites United,’” said Karim Habib, Executive Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Center. “At every stage, Kia’s designers have worked closely with their engineering colleagues to create a holistic solution for sustainable mobility. As a result, the EV5 sets a new standard for design, performance and practicality while providing new levels of driver enjoyment and user experience.”
Kia has spent a lot of time getting the interior of the EV5 just right. It claims its research shows that millennial households now regard the interior of their EV SUV not just as a place to sit safely and comfortably when travelling from A to B but as an additional “room” to live their life in. Drawing additional inspiration from the recently launched larger EV9 SUV, Kia’s interior designers have endowed the EV5 with extensive interior space that is closer in concept and execution to a home lounge than a traditional car cabin.
It is focused on the creation of a blend of new spaces and shapes and creates a seamless harmony between nature and manmade elements. This results in a transformative convergence of form and function to ensure an engaging and comfortable experience for all occupants and provide a welcoming environment for leisure activities.
This is where the press release waxes eloquent. The company says the interior of the EV5 combines a sense of relaxed well being, personal inspiration, and pure family fun. This becomes even more evident in low light conditions, thanks to variable mood lighting across the front section of the crash pad as well as the front and rear door trims.
The EV5 features a sophisticated center fascia which offers best-in-class practicality and seamless, intuitive occupant interaction. Customers can specify the interior to similar levels of elegance and taste as they might choose for their home. A choice of four key colors and five seat pattern options are offered. The seat patterns include two woven options and one artificial leather option for the base model.
The response from the motoring press has been highly favorable. Many reviewers like that the dashboard is not one giant video screen but offers some traditional controls that drivers are used to while still offering the digital touches for navigation and connectivity that people have come to expect in a modern automobile.
Several have commented on the front seat, which gives the illusion of being a bench seat, even though the absence of proper seat belt indicates it is not. “Visually, it comes across as a smaller EV9 and certainly looks cool and techy. While the exterior design is interesting, the inside is even better,” Jalopnik says.
Car and Driver notes that the EV5 will likely share its battery and powertrain options with the EV6, since both are built on the same E-GMP electric car platform. The EV6 offers single- and dual-motor configurations that provide from 225 to 577 horsepower. A 77.4 kWh battery pack is the only choice available.
Made In China
KED Global reports the Kia EV5 will be manufactured by the Kia–Yueda joint venture at their Yancheng plant, located about a three-hour drive north of Shanghai. It will initially be sold in China beginning later his year and then be exported to other global markets.
Whether cars destined for North America will be made in China is unknown. Presumably, Kia will want to manufacture cars for US customers somewhere that will allow them to qualify for EV tax incentives, which Chinese-made cars most definitely will not. Perhaps we will learn more about that on EV Day in October.
There is no information about range and pricing at this moment, but if Kia can bring the EV5 to America at a price that is competitive, it could well have a hit on its hands. There is a need for compact battery-powered SUVs and few available on the market.
Kia enjoys an excellent reputation for reliability and has the longest, most comprehensive warranty in the business — attributes that could help calm some of the fears people considering an electric car for the first time may find comforting.
A show of hands around the CleanTechnica fondue station showed that our staff of crack automotive journalists found the EV5 very appealing. Its trim size, bold styling, and up-to-date interior are all points in its favor. And if Kia included a camper edition like the new Ford Nugget for Europe, that would be a smashing success, in our opinion.
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