New Kia EV5 is a smaller, more affordable sibling of flagship EV9
EV9’s smaller sibling is a five-seat Ford Explorer rival which majors on practicality and space
The new Kia EV5 has been revealed as a sharply styled, five-seat electric SUV which majors on practicality and space.
It was previewed in near-production concept form earlier this year, and leaked images of the final car recently gave strong clues as to its design and positioning – but Kia has only now revealed official details at the Chengdu motor show in China, albeit primarily about the car’s design – full technical specifications will come closer to launch.
The car has been designed for China, and will initially be built there for sale in that market, but Autocar understands a European – and UK – launch is highly likely. Kia promises more details of a launch in “select global markets” at an event in October.
The EV5 is the third of Kia’s expanding family of bespoke electric cars, following the Kia EV6 and Kia EV9 – and it is this larger car to which it is most obviously related.
When it arrives in dealerships, it will serve as an electric alternative to the similarly sized Kia Sportage crossover – much as the larger EV9 sits alongside the combustion-engined Kia Sorento. Rivals will include the Skoda Enyaq and Mercedes EQB, as well as the upcoming Ford Explorer and Fisker Ocean.
The influence of the flagship seven-seat EV9 is obvious in the EV5’s upright, two-box silhouette, chunky lower body cladding and distinctive, angular alloy wheel designs. So too does the EV5 share its sibling’s aggressive ‘tiger nose’ front end design and kinked rear beltline – hallmarks of the electric Kia line-up.
Kia said the EV5 “seamlessly blends transformative design, exceptional versatility and outstanding comfort to deliver a harmoniously balanced vehicle”. It said the EV5 aims to “eclipse the accepted aesthetics of the existing compact SUV sector”.
Stand-out features of the design, according to Kia, are the set-back D-pillars, which “highlight the EV5’s family-friendly practicality” by emphasising the space available in the rear seat and boot, while the rear wing is said to boost aerodynamic efficiency while “signifying the EV5’s status as a ground-breaking electric vehicle”.
The interior has been designed around the idea 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 life in”.
The dashboard, steering wheel and infotainment suite look to be largely carried over from the EV9, with a wraparound digital panel housing the driver display and central touchscreen, and a raft of physical buttons and switches retained for core functions. As with other new Kia models, the EV5 will be kept fresh after launch through over-the-air system updates, and owners will be able to activate features on demand, as required.
It is said to be much roomier than a traditional car cabin, but Kia has yet to reveal exact dimensions. For now, it highlights stand-out features like the 64-colour ambient lighting with dimming function, easy-access infotainment and climate controls and the broad array of upholstery colours, patterns and materials.
The swivelling seats from the concept are gone, as are the reverse-opening rear doors – but notably the EV5 does have a bench-style front seat arrangement, with the passenger’s seat base extending out over the centre console in place of a traditional armrest – though there is no third seatbelt up front.
The rear seats, meanwhile, fold completely flat to give a cavernous loadbay, complete with hidden under-seat storage cubbies.
Kia has offered no technical details of the EV5 yet, but widely reported specifications uncovered by Chinese media reveal that it will launch with a rear-mounted single motor producing 215bhp and 229lb ft. No details of its battery capacity have yet surfaced, but reports suggest it will use a 400V wiring architecture instead of the EV9’s 800V system, in a bid to keep its entry price down.
The brand has promised every entrant into the ‘EV’ family of electric cars will ultimately be offered with a hot GT range-topper, which means a suitably potent, 4WD version of the EV5 is on the cards for a debut soon after the standard car.
With a UK launch anticipated to be at least a year away, it is early to speculate on pricing, but landing at around the £50,000 mark would line it up neatly against its direct rivals.