Kia is on a roll with its electric vehicle lineup, introducing the compact SUV, the EV5, hot on the heels of its bigger counterpart, the EV9. While initially launching in China and South Korea, the global release of the EV5 is still up in the air. Moreover, its arrival in the United States remains a point of contention within Kia itself. While the CEO hints at a U.S. launch, other internal sources, including the PR team, suggest otherwise.
Why the ambiguity? One plausible explanation could be the new Inflation Reduction Act’s tax credit, a $7,500 incentive that the EV5 may not be eligible for, given it won’t be manufactured in North America. This could make it less competitive in the U.S. market.
Design-wise, the EV5 borrows heavily from its larger sibling, the EV9. It sports intriguing LED light signatures and a bold, blocky design. Despite its smaller stature—measuring 181.7 inches in length—it offers ample space, thanks to its taller roofline and squared-off form.
The interior is equally impressive, showcasing a dashboard dominated by dual 12.3-inch displays, along with a 5-inch climate control screen. A set of subtly placed haptic buttons offers quick access to commonly used features, though their positioning might lead to accidental touches.
Released earlier in China, the EV5 features an unusual, almost bench-like front seat design—exclusively for the Chinese market. Its utility is questionable, given its slightly elevated position and lack of safety restraints.
On the technical front, the EV5 shares the E-GMP electric vehicle platform with the EV6 and EV9 but lacks the 800-volt architecture, affecting its fast-charging capabilities. Kia claims a 30-minute charge time for a 30 to 80 percent battery boost, which is decent but not groundbreaking.
Multiple drivetrain configurations will be available, with varying battery sizes tailored for different markets. For instance, China will get a 64 kWh standard-range pack and an 88 kWh long-range pack. The vehicle will feature 214 hp in single-motor configurations and 308 hp for the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive version.
As for its range, Kia provides some eyebrow-raising figures—447 miles for the long-range model and 329 miles for the standard one, based on the more lenient CLTC standards.
Kia also plans to include updated versions of its Remote Smart Parking Assist and Highway Driving Assist technologies. However, if you’re expecting something along the lines of Ford’s BlueCruise or GM’s Super Cruise, you’ll have to wait.
So, will the EV5 make its way to the U.S.? That’s still a question mark. Kia representatives back the CEO’s assertion of a mid-2025 U.S. launch, but until there’s official confirmation, it remains speculative.