Kia Expands All Electric Lineup With New EV5 e-SUV

Kia adds another entry into the compact e-SUV segment with a shrunken version of its EV9. 

Kia has kicked off the 2023 Chengdu Motor Show unveilings by recently debuting its all new EV5. The latest and smallest addition to the South Korean automaker’s all-electric portfolio, this compact SUV is apparently to target what Kia terms as the ‘millennial family’. 

Peering past the marketing jargon however reveals what is essentially a shrunken EV9, which is already clearly evident from just looking at its exterior design. Clearly aping its bigger brother with its boxy silhouette, the smaller EV5 does nevertheless attempt to soften its overall image somewhat with a more rounded version of Kia’s Digital Tiger Face front fascia, complete with dynamic DRLs that forms what Kia dubs as three-dimensional ‘Signature Star Map Lighting’.  

The rear of the EV5 is similarly softened a touch from its larger sibling too, with a rear lighting situation that is not entirely unlike that previously seen on Renault’s Koleos. Other design touches of note around this compact e-SUV that Kia wishes to highlight includes pushed-back D-pillars that ‘further highlight the EV5’s family-friendly practicality’, as well as a rugged lower rear skid-plate which further emphasises this soft-roader’s ‘rugged and protective nature’.

Moving on inside meanwhile, the ’Honey I’ve shrunk the EV9’ theme continues within with the EV5 being almost identical in terms of interior design to its big brother. A combined panoramic 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and central infotainment screen serves as the main interior technology interface, enabling its occupants to have full control over the 64 colour shades and 10 brightness options of interior mood lighting.     

According to Kia, the EV5 will be available in a choice of 10 exterior hues, four key interior colors and five seat pattern options. There is however no official word yet on what exactly lies under the hood, though unofficial reports claim for this compact e-SUV to be capable of up to 600 km on a single charge when outfitted with the EV6’s largest 77.6 kWh battery pack. 

Interestingly though, it is speculated for the EV5 to only be capable of 400 V charging, instead of the usual higher 800 V capability offered by its other E-GMP platform siblings. Further confirmation on this point (and other technical specifications) however will likely only be available in October during Kia’s EV day event. Sales of this Sportage-sized e-SUV on the other hand is likely to kick off soon, with initial introduction in China before arriving in other global markets shortly after. 

PRESS RELEASE: Kia today presented its all-electric compact SUV, the Kia EV5, at the Chengdu Motor Show in China. The Kia EV5 brings a new era of electric mobility to the compact SUV sector to meet the needs of millennial families.

The EV5 seamlessly blends 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.

Exterior Design: Creativity inspired by the co-existence of nature and modernity

Determined to eclipse the accepted aesthetics of the existing compact SUV sector, and create a vehicle with a confident, bold, new, genre-redefining presence, Kia drew inspiration for the EV5 from the brand’s acclaimed ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy.

Embracing the subtle interplay between natural landscapes and contemporary architecture, the Kia EV5 features strong and solid lines. It presents a modern interpretation of the Kia tiger mask with a wide and unique stance, all shaped with passion and precision.

“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.”

Influenced most strongly by ‘Bold for Nature,’ one of five ‘Opposites United’ design pillars, the EV5 features a solid and powerful body complemented by a soft and emotionally resonant surface, which aims to ignite creativity and address the needs of environmentally conscious families and individuals seeking innovation.

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, accentuating the spaciousness of the rear seat and the trunk while providing a wide field of visibility.

Distinctive Kia design elements, such as the wide nose and solid bonnet, combine to form a sleek digital ‘Tiger Face,’ eclipsing the traditional grille to convey a clean and powerful impression. Further enhancing the front exterior design, the EV5 incorporates three-dimensional ‘Signature Star Map Lighting’ formed by daytime running lights (DRL). Inspired by star-studded constellations, it introduces dynamic shapes along the lamp line, further emphasizing the EV5’s Tiger Face design.

At the rear, an extended and lowered spoiler maintains the SUV’s distinctive profile while improving aerodynamic efficiency and signifying the EV5’s status as a ground-breaking electric vehicle born to deliver a new age of safe, sustainable family mobility. The technical and extensive lower skid plate further emphasizes the EV5’s rugged and protective nature, while the parting line of the tailgate provides a crisp, clean sign-off to the design.

The EV5 exterior color options include a total of nine glossy colors and one matte color. The glossy colors are: Snow White Pearl; Clear White; Starry Night Black; Magma Red; Ivory Silver; Frost Blue; Iceberg Green; Tide Blue; and Shale Grey, while the matte color is Ivory Silver.

Interior Space: A modern inspirational cabin design for a new age of sustainable mobility

Research by Kia has revealed 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. To meet this challenge, Kia’s interior designers have completely reimagined the vehicle’s interior space. Drawing additional inspiration from the recently launched larger EV9 SUV, they have endowed the EV5 with an extensive interior space that is closer in concept and execution to a home lounge than a traditional car cabin.

Here, once again, the ‘Bold for Nature’ design pillar has played a crucial role, ensuring the interior design of the EV5 is focused on the creation of an exceptional blend of new spaces and shapes, pursuing a concept of seamless harmony between nature and man-made 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.

The design details of the EV5’s cabin have been carefully chosen, and the overall finish is impeccably executed to create an interior ambience that combines a sense of relaxed wellbeing, personal inspiration, and pure family fun. And 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.

Bringing a highly personal touch to mood lighting, the EV5 offers adjustable brightness (0-10). Customers can also choose from ten shades curated by Kia’s lighting experts, or a total of 64 color options. When activated, the mood lighting synchronizes seamlessly with the vehicle’s drive modes, dims in low light conditions, and subtly alerts if the vehicle strays over the speed limit, thus enhancing driver engagement and awareness.

The EV5’s stunning and sophisticated center fascia serves as a defining design feature, while also offering class-leading practicality and seamless, intuitive occupant interaction. Due to the integration of elements such as the new generation connected car Navigation & Cockpit (ccNC) and heater controls, occupants can select their preferred settings with the same ease as if they were sitting in their favorite chair at home.

And thanks to the expertise of Kia’s interior design team, EV5 customers can specify their SUV’s interior to similar levels of elegance and taste that 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.

Launch Schedule: Set for Debut in Select Global Markets, More Information at Kia EV Day

Kia will launch the EV5 during the latter half of 2023, initially in China, and will unveil further product details at the Kia EV Day – an event dedicated to the brand’s EV lineup and vision. Scheduled for October, Kia will expand upon its global vision for electrification at the event.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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