Kia’s new EV3 goes big on space and range | CAR Magazine

Kia’s new EV3 goes big on space and range

Published: 23 May 2024

► New Kia EV3 electric family car revealed
► Smaller than a Niro, as big as a Sportage inside
► Up to 372 miles of range claimed with Long Range version

Kia has officially revealed its new EV3 electric car, promising big space, big range and big brain thinking when it comes to the tech inside. The brand has already impressed with the EV6, and proven it’s not thathard to do a three-row electric family car with the EV9 (we’re looking at you, Land Rover), so now Kia has turned its attention to the smaller and more accessible end of the scale.

The brand is targeting the likes of the Volvo EX30 and Smart #1 in the cutesy crossover space, but also has its sights set on Volkswagen’s ID.3 and the Cupra Born. Noticed a trend in those rivals? They’re all European, with Kia’s team saying that the EV3 is arguably the most Euro-friendly EV model it’s made so far.

Kia EV3 - rear

Let’s talk about the looks, shall we?

It’s certainly an interesting (challenging?) looking thing, and hasn’t changed too much from the EV3 concept we saw in 2023. New design cues from other Kia models like the ‘star map’ DRL signature at the front (which essentially means differing DRL designs that all follow the same sort of trend), and blocky wheel designs similar to those seen on the EV9, appear here.

It’s shorter and lower than a Niro, but the wheelbase is exactly the same as the larger Sportage – a move designed to maximise passenger space. Combine that with the boxy silhouette, particularly at the rear end, and you end up with loads of rear legroom (we’ve sat inside and yes, it’s roomy) and a boot area rated to 460 litres – around 100 more litres than most of the EV3’s closest rivals. The boot extends to 1250 with the seats down, and there’s a 25-litre ‘frunk’ big enough for your charging cables.

Kia EV3 -  rear

No chrome is used anywhere, with lots of the car’s ‘jewellery’ finished in black, and the EV3 introduces two new colours to Kia’s palette: Aventurine Green and Terracotta.

‘We’re still in this transition phase [between combustion and electric],’ David Hart, Kia’s creative manager for the EV3’s exterior, tells CAR. ‘For us, we should offer something a little bit more unique and a little bit more advanced from everything else to show that the customer is really getting more from it. Being an EV, it’s probably likely to cost more than something with an engine, so we should reflect that in how it’s designed.’

Sounds clever, what’s under the skin?

The one-size-fits-all electric architecture used by the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands: e-GMP. 

Interestingly, the EV3 launches as a front-wheel drive car. We’ve known it’s been possible to create that configuration from the start, but it’s the first time the configuration has been deployed so far. Like the boxy shape, the reason for doing so is down to that laser focus on maximising interior space – a single e-motor at the front is easier to package under the bonnet with the power electronics.

Kia EV3 - interior space

Kia is launching the EV3 in two performance specifications: Standard Range and Long Range. Both are powered by a single 201bhp e-motor on the front axle, good for a 0-62mph sprint in 7.4sec or 7.7sec respectively. The EV3 tops out at 106mph.

The only significant difference is the battery size; the Standard Range model has a 58.3kWh pack good for 255 miles, while the Long Range’s bigger 81.4kWh pack means a massive 372 miles claimed per charge. Kia says the new EV3 launches with a new-generation battery management system to eke out as much range as the packs can, and both versions claim a circa-30-minute 10-80 per cent DC charge. The slight snag is that not every version gets a heat pump (which improves battery efficiency) as standard, though we’ll have to wait for UK specs to find out which versions benefit.

As for trim levels, only a top-spec GT-Line has been confirmed to be a part of the range, but we expect a lower-grade Air version to keep the price down. 

Must be spartan inside if it’s meant to be low-cost…

Not necessarily. Look hard enough and yes, you can see where Kia’s tried to keep things, er, cost-friendly, but the overall design of the interior is clean, open and sensibly laid out. Naturally, Kia’s interior designers understand that you’ll be spending some of your time charging, so have included a centre console panel that slides forward to act as something slightly resembling a coffee table. Slightly

There’s some big car tech inside, too, and we mean that literally. The massive infotainment screen, for example, is lifted straight off the EV9 with no changes made, which keeps those economies of scale right up, and means you get the latest tech on board. While there’s a distinct lack of physical switchgear (aside from a row of buttons for quickly accessing sub-menus in the infotainment – boo, hiss, etc.), Kia’s made a conscious effort to include a fixed climate control menu area on the touchscreen. And, because it’s 2024 and seemingly everything must have it, Kia is including a generative AI voice assistant from December.

Kia EV3 - more interior

The brand says there is a massive list of tech available, including a head-up display, the latest generation of the brand’s i-Pedal system (Hyundai/Kia-speak for a one-pedal driving mode) and digital key technology is available, freeing you from the need to keep the key fob on you. The EV3 also features vehicle-to-load functionality (allowing you to power devices from the car), as well as vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid capability. In an interesting move, Kia says it will also allow owners to customise the style of the instrument cluster beyond the standard Kia ones, providing a selection of designs themed around things like Star Wars or Marvel. Weird.

Kia EV3 - corner

Kia is also going hard on sustainability. The interior is completely leather-free, and there’s no chrome in here like you won’t find on the exterior, either. So much so that 28.5kg of recycled plastics can be found in every car, and Kia has included a QR code etched into the dashboard so you can find out where the materials have previously come from.

So, when can I have one?

After going on sale in July in Kia’s home market of Korea, the EV3 lands in Europe in the autumn of 2024. Prices and specs aren’t officially confirmed yet, but we expect Air and GT-Line trims, with a base model Standard Range EV3 to cost around £35k.

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches