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Kia has revealed its ace up its sleeve, the EV3, a compact with a large battery pack, space on board, and a conceptually affordable price. Could it be the game changer in the electric car game?

I flew to Frankfurt to get a closer look at it and exchange impressions and information with the Korean manufacturer's engineers. Here is what the Kia EV3 looks like outside and inside.

Kia EV3 (2024): exterior

Lines and design echo what we have already seen in recent years. Kia has decided to offer an important, clear-cut imprint for its cars, especially when it comes to electrics. It has personality in this 4.30 metre-long crossover, capable of optimising space with its real key element: the E-GMP platform, a real turning point in the Korean manufacturer's electrification process, and the functional basis for the EV6 and EV9, to cite just two examples. 

The stylistic path of "opposites attract" translates into very slender ypsilon front headlights, but capable of cutting through the front area, highlighting a bonnet that is flat but above all extremely clean in its lines.

Kia EV3 2024

The Kia EV3 2024 takes up concepts already seen on the Kia EV9

Similarly, the profile is also characterised by doors with extremely clean surfaces despite the usual motif at the sill. And then there are the wheel arches, squared off yes, but bevelled to make the whole thing less angular. And then there is the A-pillar that drowns inside the bonnet, with a pronounced yes, but not excessive slope that leads to a retractable net-like roofline at the front, drowned in the C-pillar, at the height of the window at the back, which connects the rear.

There, the rear offers more dynamism without overflowing. The rear window is sloping but with very clean lines, topped by a marked spoiler that also keeps the swirls away. The headlights take up the usual motif, but overflow at wheel arch height.

Kia EV3 2024

Kia EV3 2024, defined and recognisable styling with the new electric platform course

Kia EV3 (2024): dimensions

Model Length Width Height Wheelbase
Kia EV3 4.30 metres 1.85 metres 1.56 metres 2.68 metres

Kia EV3 (2024): the interior

Let's start immediately with the boot. The opening is electro-actuated and offers 460 litres in the 'all up' configuration, while it rises to over 1,200 litres with the seats folded down. The roof rack, then, is slid back, and is an element that, in this configuration, we had already seen on its bigger sister EV9. 

Also interesting is the presence of a hatch to hold charging cables or medium-sized objects, especially as there is also a frunk, a 25-litre sump under the front bonnet, which is also well lined.

Kia EV3 2024

The dashboard: recycled materials and typical EV space organisation

Getting on board for rear passengers is easy thanks to the door opening angle, and the very wide rubber door covers are striking. So one assumes - the level of soundproofing should be quite good. There is room for your head, as well as for your knees and feet. The EV3 also offers two air vents, but there is no independent climate control, except for the cooling of the seats. 

It is in the front, however, that things get interesting. We start with the triple monitor of 12.3 inches on the driver's side, 5 in the middle and 12.3 inches in mirror mode for infotainment management. We are talking about a unit that echoes the concepts already seen on the Kia EV9, but with a ChatGPT system in addition to the possibility of evolutionary packages that can be purchased a few months after the car's release. 

Kia EV3 2024
Kia EV3 2024

You will also be able to buy, for example, apps that allow you to watch Netflix or Spotify, and thus make the most of your time while charging. 

By the way: very ingenious is the sliding armrest that also includes buttons to manage cameras and parking. In the centre of the cockpit, the emptying space is well organised, as is the key slot and the inductive charging zone. 

The dashboard as a whole is really well developed, with recycled materials that can also be scanned via QR code to better see the genesis of these elements. 

Kia EV3 2024

Kia EV3 2024, space for rear passengers

Returning to the software system, it is worth highlighting the evolution also in terms of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) for a car of this category, considering also the emergency system presented so that, in the unfortunate event that a driver does not respond to the commands - with cruise control activated - the car, in full autonomy, can slow down to a halt in a safety zone, changing lanes, activating the four emergency indicators, and even opening the door. 

Kia EV3 (2024): Powertrain, Battery, Charging

Let us now come to the more technical matters. The motor is a permanent magnet synchronous motor capable of delivering 204 PS of power. Coupled to this motor, located on the front axle, is a battery pack available in two different sizes: 58 kWh and 81 kWh. 

This is probably one of the key elements of this car: having such a large battery pack available in a 4.30 metre car can make all the difference. Not that some rivals don't come close, on the contrary, but to date it is practically a record in terms of capacity. 

This will translate into a really interesting range to evaluate once you're driving, also considering the very good energy management that Kia has put in place in recent years. And we're not just talking about more calibrated and economical consumption, but also about the technological contribution in terms of the 'return' of energy itself.

In fact, the Kia EV3 can also behave like a powerbank, and therefore feed energy back into the grid. It is therefore equipped with Veichle To Load, Veichle to Grid and Veichle to Home technologies. 

Kia EV3 2024

The Kia EV3 2024 has several aces up its sleeve, including V2G technology

Speaking of power and charging, while maintaining a 400-volt architecture, the EV3 recharges in alternating current with a power output of 11 kW (but a 22 kW charger will arrive as an option), while in direct current it will reach 128 kW. Good power, not excellent. 

When asked why this car doesn't have a higher peak charging power, Kia engineers pointed out that in reality it would have been possible to increase this figure, but that instead it was preferable to keep the power curve flatter, and thus constantly maintain the 128 kW value. 

The Kia EV3 will hit the market in October, but pre-orders could start earlier, just in time for the arrival of the 2024 eco-incentives. The price of both versions has not yet been finalised, but what we have been promised is that the version with the smaller battery pack will fall "and by a lot" within the range to qualify for the bonus. 

Gallery: Kia EV3 2024