Shock unveiling of Kia EV9’s little brother, complete with swivelling seats; Chinese launch later this year.
Just a week after unveiling its new electric flagship, the seven-seat EV9, Kia has previewed its third bespoke EV with a similarly styled SUV concept called the EV5.
The new Kia EV5 is, as the name suggests, smaller than the freshly revealed EV9 but follows the larger car in adopting the ‘Opposites United’ design ethos that will define all future models from the Korean brand.
Referred to officially as the Concept EV5 for now, the electric SUV will be launched in China later this year – which is why it has been unveiled with no prelude at the brand’s Chinese EV Day event.
Kia hasn’t said whether it will come to Europe as well but has promised to reveal “future plans for the other global markets” in due course.
Technical details also remain largely under wraps, but the production version of the EV5 is likely to ride on a variation of the E-GMP platform that underpins the two existing bespoke Kia EVs and another four that will follow before 2026.
In size and stature, the EV5 looks roughly comparable to today’s combustion-engined Kia Sportage, so it could feasibly serve as a rival to similarly conceived family EVs including the Nissan Ariya, Toyota bZ4X and Volkswagen ID 4.
While Kia hasn’t yet offered any hints as to performance and pricing, the EV5 is likely to match those cars (and its siblings) in offering a choice of two- and all-wheel-drive powertrains; and if it’s offered with the same 77kWh battery as the EV6, it will offer a competitive maximum range of more than 480km.
Interestingly, the EV5 looks to be at least the same size as the EV6, if not larger, suggesting that Kia won’t number its EVs according to size, à la Volkswagen and Peugeot. Notably, sibling brand Hyundai’s technically similar Ioniq 6 sits lower than its Ioniq 5 sibling, so a similar approach for Kia is possible.
Kia presents the EV5 as an SUV that supports the lifestyles of owners pursuing a “borderless life where there is no boundary between their enjoyment and appreciation of nature and the city”.
Like the EV9, it’s sharply proportioned and overtly focused on practicality, and the larger car’s swivelling seats feature here too, allowing occupants in both rows to turn 90deg to “enjoy uninterrupted views of the scenery”, courtesy of rear-hinged rear doors and the absence of an A-pillar. Those doors also appeared on the original EV9 concept but didn’t make it to production.
Uniquely, the EV5 concept also seemingly features bench-style front seats, taking advantage of the lack of a transmission tunnel to provide more space for the front occupants. Whether or not such a feature could be homologated for sale in China or elsewhere remains unclear, but no doubt the panoramic roof (hosting battery-boosting solar panels on the concept) will be retained, as will the sustainably sourced interior materials and wrap-around digital infotainment screen atop the dashboard.
The EV5’s outdoor remit is further highlighted by a pop-out wooden table in the boot that looks to double up as a bench, plants in the rear storage bins and chunky 21in wheel designs that hint at a degree of go-anywhere capability.