First Look at Kia's Affordable EV3 Compact SUV

Laurance Yap
June 17, 2024
On paper, Kia’s all-new EV3 ticks all the boxes for a compact electric SUV. It has lots of space, solid tech, a great interior, and packs really impressive range and charging capability. When will it arrive in the U.S. and how much will it cost?
new Kia EV3 SUV

Kia’s Affordable Electric SUV

Kia is on an electrically-powered roll these days. Its sleek, sexy EV6 hatchback is like nothing else on the road, with high-end design and performance in a practical package with impressive range and charging speed, and the recently-introduced three-row EV9 SUV combines bold styling with huge amount of space and a similarly impressive level of tech. Both vehicles have been relatively premium-priced products, but now Kia is targeting the mass market with its new EV3 – a compact electric SUV set to reach a very wide audience.

Featuring many of the same features and technology as the larger EV9 SUV, the EV3 is also a bold, distinctive design, but this time in a compact, very maneuverable package. Built on Kia’s excellent modular electric platform and featuring the company’s fourth-generation battery technology, it combines a spacious interior and luggage space with amazing range and fast-charging capability. If Kia’s able to hold the line on pricing, this model's unique value set could make it a best-seller.

New white Kia EV3

Kia EV3 Range and Charging

Globally EV3 customers will be able to choose from two different batteries: a standard-range version with 58.3 kWh and a long-range version with 81.4 kWh. Both batteries power a 201-hp electric motor with 209 lb-ft of torque – a more than reasonable amount of power for a small SUV, and enough to deliver a 0-60 mph tie of less than 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 110 mph. Regenerative braking is adjustable through multiple levels, making cruising more relaxing and efficient, while maximizing regen in stop-and-go traffic.

More impressive than the performance is the range. On the European WLTP cycle, the long-range EV3 is rated at an exceptional 373 miles; range estimates for the smaller battery have yet to be released. On the EPA cycle, which is typically more conservative than the European test, we expect a range of somewhere between 300 and 350 miles – making this model best in class, and one of the longest-range mainstream EVs you’ll be able to buy.

Even better, thanks to sharing its charging management system and electrical architecture with the more expensive EV9 and EV6 models, the EV3 will also be one of the fastest charging vehicles in its class, the big battery able to go from 10 to 80 percent in about half an hour. As high-speed public charging becomes more prevalent across the U.S., this model will enable families to take long road trips without worrying about range anxiety – or long charging stops.

This model will also feature the same vehicle-to-load (V2L) technology as the EV6 and EV9, which allows owners the ability to power external devices like laptops, camping equipment, coffee machines, or hair dryers, directly from the car’s battery. In a pinch, it can even be used to provide charge to another electric car.

Kia Electric SUV: High-End Tech in an Affordable Package

Other nifty tech features of this affordable electric SUV include a digital key function that uses an owner’s smartphone as a key – and allows them to share access codes with friends and family – as well as an impressive suite of infotainment features. In addition to two large digital screens on the dashboard, there is a streaming service powered by LG’s automotive content platform that offers passengers arcade games, streaming music, and movies and TV when parked. An available Harman/Kardon audio system delivers cinema-quality sound. The screens are customizable with a number of different themes, and there’s even an available AI assistant, which drivers and passengers can interact with via voice commands. The assistant can support travel planning, and can answer questions on the move.

Kia hasn’t ignored tech that makes the driving experience easier and safer, as well. The EV3 has a surprisingly long list of active safety features – a consequence of sharing its technology with the company’s higher-end electric models. These features include:

  • Dynamic torque vectoring control to improve stability in poor weather
  • Forward collision avoidance
  • Lane keeping assistant
  • Highway driving assistant with adaptive cruise control
  • Reverse collision avoidance
  • Smart parking assist with remote-control parking function for very tight spaces

What we like most about the this model, though, is its interior. In addition to being remarkably spacious, the design of the cabin is functional and relaxing, but also impressively premium – a space that drivers and passengers will really enjoy on the move.

interior dashboard of Kia EV3

Kia EV3 Interior Features

Front and center is about 30 inches’ worth of screen real estate – a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 5-inch touch panel for the heating and air conditioning controls, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment, which extends to the center of the dashboard and is easily accessible by passengers. Important controls, like the vehicle drive mode, cruise control, volume, and other features, remain easily operable with buttons on the steering wheel.

Big, comfortable seats that have a flat-recline “recreation mode” sit alongside a wide, elegant center console that has a sliding table which reveals a large storage compartment and wireless charging. The ambient lighting can be adjusted to suit your mood, and the materials and finishes keep sustainability in mind, with recycled fabric on the dashboard and door trims, and the headliner, armrests, floor mats, luggage board, and other interior pieces made out of easily-recyclable PET.

Space for luggage is equally impressive. Kia claims the largest cargo area in its class, with an adjustable two-tier luggage divider that provides additional flexibility, as well as a small front trunk.

Kia EV3 Pricing and Availability

While Kia has confirmed that the all-new EV3 will be available in the U.S., it has not yet shared pricing details yet. With the larger, sportier EV6 having a starting MSRP of $42,600, we would expect entry level EV3 models to have a starting MSRP in the low- to mid-thirties, with long range models topping out in the low forties. When it goes on sale in late 2025, this model will offer amazing features and value for the money – and its EV credentials are also some of the best out there.