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Kia EV5 revealed, but US future is uncertain for this electric crossover

A rendering of a blue Kia EV5 crossover
Enlarge / There’s a very distinct family resemblance between the EV9 and the EV5 (pictured).


Following the launch of the new EV9, the next product in Kia’s EV onslaught is the smaller EV5. And while the first round of EV5s will go on sale in China and South Korea in the coming months, it will still be some time before the compact SUV is offered globally.

Even worse, we aren’t totally sure if the EV5 will come to America; sources within Kia have both confirmed and denied plans to bring this SUV to the US. The company’s president and CEO said it would be headed stateside, but then Kia’s public relations team denied this statement, with other internal sources saying the EV5 would not be offered in the US. Kia confirms that the EV5 will come to North America, but we’re told this just means Canada and possibly Mexico.

Why? It’s complicated. The likely culprit is that the EV5 isn’t planned to be built in North America, making it ineligible for the new Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credit. That $7,500 credit could drastically reduce the price of a new EV, and Kia not being able to make use of this would reduce the EV5’s competitiveness in the US. Just a thought.

Anyhoo, the EV5 clearly takes design influence from its larger sibling, the EV9, with interesting front and rear LED light signatures and a blocky overall aesthetic. Despite that big presence, however, the EV5 is definitely a compact SUV. At 181.7 inches (4,615 mm) long, the SUV is a little bit shorter in length than the Kia EV6, but with its taller roofline and squared-off styling, the EV5 will have a lot more space for passengers and cargo.


Overall, the EV5’s interior looks great, again taking most of its influence from the midsize EV9. A pair of 12.3-inch screens dominate the dashboard, with a smaller 5-inch display for the climate controls sandwiched between them. A row of flush, backlit buttons on the dash work with Kia’s infotainment system to take you to the most commonly used pages, but they’re positioned in a way so that if you rest your wrist on the trim while touching the screen, you’ll likely hit one of these hard-to-see haptic controls.

When the EV5 was revealed in China earlier this year, it had a weird, almost bench-like front seat design. That’s coming to production, but only for China. We’re not really sure what the benefit of this middle “seat” is anyway since there’s no belt for passengers, and it’s raised a little higher than the outboard buckets, as well.

E-GMP but not 800 V

The EV5 rides on the same E-GMP electric vehicle platform as the Kia EV6 and EV9. However, it doesn’t have its siblings’ 800-volt architecture, meaning it can’t accept the same DC fast-charging speeds as those stablemates. Kia says the EV5 can go from a 30 to 80 percent charge in about 30 minutes, which is good but certainly lags behind other compact EVs.

Standard-range, long-range, and dual-motor drivetrains will be available, but the battery sizes will differ depending on the market. In China, Kia will use a 64 kWh pack in the standard-range EV5 and an 88 kWh battery in the long-range models. Both the single-motor SUVs will make 214 hp (160 kW) and use front-wheel drive, while the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive EV5 will up that output to 308 hp (230 kW).

As for range, well, it’s almost hilariously optimistic. Kia says the single-motor, long-range EV5 should be able to go 447 miles (720 kilometers) on a single charge, while an EV5 with the standard battery pack has an estimated range of 329 miles (530 km). Why the big numbers? Those figures come from the Combined Charging and Load Cycle (CLTC) standards, which are estimated to be about 35 percent higher than the more stringent US EPA test regimen.

Specifications of the EV5 vary by region, and we're not even sure if Kia will bring it to the US.
Enlarge / Specifications of the EV5 vary by region, and we’re not even sure if Kia will bring it to the US.


Meanwhile, in South Korea, the standard EV5 will use a 58 kWh battery pack with the same 214 hp (160 kW) electric motor, while the long-range version will have an 81 kWh battery and a combined output of anywhere between 261 hp (195 kW) and 302 hp (225 kW). The company doesn’t have driving range targets for these configurations.

Kia will fit the EV5 with updated versions of its Remote Smart Parking Assist automated park function, as well as its Highway Driving Assist tech that combines adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assist. Looking for a more robust system like Ford’s BlueCruise or General Motors’ Super Cruise? Kia won’t have that ready to go just yet.

But again, since we don’t know if the EV5’s future includes US consumption, it’s hard to know which of these details—if any—will pertain to our model. Look for the Kia EV5 to go on sale in China first, with South Korea to follow. Product planning representatives within Kia back up the CEO’s statement, saying the US will receive its version in mid-2025, but until we have an official word one way or the other, we’ll just keep our fingers crossed for now.

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