Kia reveals EV5 electric family SUV at Chengdu Motor Show

EV9's smaller sibling is a five-seat SUV that majors on practicality and space; designed for China, it will initially be built there for sale in that market; Kia to offer details of a launch in "select global markets" in October.

By Felix Page, Autocar UK calendar 25 Aug 2023 Views icon2558 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

The new Kia EV5 has been revealed as a sharply styled, five-seat electric SUV that majors on practicality and space. The Korean carmaker had the official unveiling today at the Chengdu Motor Show in China.  

The car has been designed for China, and will initially be built there for sale in that market, but Autocar UK 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 iV and Mercedes EQB, as well as the upcoming Ford Explorer and Fisker Ocean.

Details published to the Chinese Ministry of Transport homologation platform recently reveal that the EV5 measures 4615mm long by 1875mm wide and 1715mm tall, with a wheelbase spanning 2750mm and a kerbweight of 1870kg.

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".

Standout 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 groundbreaking 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 standout 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 load bay, 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.


Tags: Kia EV5
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