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Kia EV3 reveal: Designed for first-EV buyers seeking efficiency, accessibility

Kia EV3 global reveal: What to look for

Kia EV3 Concept right front three-quarter view.
Kia / Kia

We know much more than before about the Kia EV3 and look forward to learning much more before the production lines start rolling. The EV3 is important in Kia’s plan for a complete EV1 to EV9 model lineup by 2027. According to Kia President and CEO Ho Sung Song and other Kia Global leaders, the EV3 is exactly what many EV customers want in a fully-equipped, compact electric SUV with a bold design, robust build, and innovative technology.

Kia Global executives introduced the Kia EV3 to journalists ahead of the worldwide reveal of the compact electric SUV’s May 23 worldwide reveal. Most of the EV3’s precise specifications aren’t available before the all-electric vehicle goes into production. The Kia execs shared pricing, range estimates, and information about EV3’s design and target market. Kia will begin EV3 deliveries in Korea in July 2024. U.S. deliveries will begin in 2025.

Why the Kia EV3 is a big deal

Kia EV3 Concept left profile view parked by a curb.
Kia / Kia

The Kia EV6 sport crossover and Kia EV9 three-row SUV battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have been extremely well-received. Kia kicked off its EV lineup with the EV6, the top mid-range model in the planned full spectrum of offerings. The EV9 was next, heading Kia’s high-end BEVs.

So, using the same number grouping concept, the EV3 will take its place as the top model in the lowest-cost third in Kia’s EV lineup. In other words, the EV3 is Kia’s first mass-market electric car.

Just as the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y far outsell the original and significantly more expensive Model S and Model X, the EV3 will be the big seller in Kia’s lineup—at least until the somewhat later EV2 and even later-than-that EV1 appear. The pressure is on Kia for the EV3 to attract masses of shoppers who become buyers. The EV3 should be highly attractive to the masses and generate tons of revenue.

During the Zoom call preview for the EV3, Kia executives pointed out the philosophy, concepts, and features they believe will make this very important car a big winner. I agree.

The Kia EV3 — Robust and accessible

First, the images accompanying this article do not do justice to the EV3. The exterior has the same general boxy-looking ruggedized appearance as the EV9. Robust accessibility is one of the themes that will carry through Kia’s EV lineup. Kia intentionally designed the EV3 to look future-forward, not in a sleek, zoomy way but with a look that appears geometric, bold, and strong.

Kia’s overriding design philosophy is “Opposites United,” which, as I understand it, translates to something like this: The EVs will have similar exterior design elements for a sense of brand identity, but the interiors can differentiate to serve the needs of the target buyers for the cars.

As Karim Habib, Kia’s Head of Global Design, talked about the EV3’s design features during the media preview, he sat in the front and back seats to demonstrate the capacities and features. Two standouts in the front seat row are a 30-inch-wide display that serves as both the driver information center and an infotainment display. A convenient and nifty tray in the center console extends to hold snacks, possibly note cards, or whatever you need. The back seat has a flat floor, which helps with capacity.

The EV3 is built on the same modular platform as the EV9 and can be produced in front-wheel drive (FWD), rear-wheel drive (RWD), and dual motor all-wheel driver (AWD) variants.

Kia EV3 initial production

Kia EV3 Concept left rear three-warter view parked near a contemporary house.

The first EV3 trim in production will be FWD for the lowest cost and highest range. CEO Song said the car will be extensively equipped for early buyers and emphasize a practical, easy lifestyle. Range per charge is estimated at 300 miles. No figure was suggested for the first shipped vehicles, but Kia says the various EV3 trims will cost $35K to $50K.

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Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Cars teams. He also writes technology news…
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