Kia officially introduced its new EV5 electric SUV in China, entering the highly competitive electric vehicle (EV) market with a starting price of around $20,700 (149,800 yuan). The launch positions the EV5 as a direct competitor to Tesla's Model Y, reflecting Kia's ambitious foray into the world's largest EV market.
Unveiled in August as a family-friendly electric SUV, the EV5 garnered attention by significantly undercutting local expectations on pricing. While initial reports anticipated starting prices around $40,000 (300,000 yuan), Kia surprised the market by launching the EV5 at half that amount.
The EV5, measuring 4,615 mm in length, 1,875 mm in width, and 1,715 mm in height, is set to compete directly with Tesla's Model Y, which has dimensions of 4,760 mm (L), 1,921 mm (W), and 1,624 mm (H).
Kia's move into the affordable electric SUV space puts it in direct competition with market leaders like BYD, known for dominating the market with budget-friendly EVs such as the Dolphin electric hatchback and Yuan Plus.
Incorporating design elements from its flagship EV9, the EV5 introduces Kia's “Opposites United” design, featuring a rugged, boxy exterior with powerful fenders. Notable changes include the introduction of the “Tiger Face” upfront, replacing Kia's signature “Tiger Nose” grille, and the inclusion of the three-dimensional “Star Map Lighting,” contributing to the SUV's assertive design.
Recognizing the evolving role of SUVs as an “additional room” for millennials, Kia designed the EV5's interior with a focus on creating a home lounge atmosphere. The pushed-back D-pillar expands interior space, and the folding rear bench offers flexibility with additional storage under the floor.
Equipped with Kia's connected car Navigation Cockpit (ccNC), the EV5 features a panoramic wide display with a dual 12.3″ cluster and infotainment, along with a 5″ climate control display. The interior maintains a minimalist feel with few buttons, featuring four hidden hard keys beneath the central AVNT screen.
Built on Hyundai's E-GMP platform, the EV5 offers three variations: standard, long-range, and long-range AWD. The standard trim, priced at approximately $20,700, is equipped with a 64.2 kWh BYD Blade battery pack and a 160 kW motor, providing a claimed range of up to 530 km (329 miles) under CLTC conditions. The long-range model, featuring an 88.1 kWh battery, offers up to 720 km (447 miles) of CLTC range.
These specifications position the EV5 competitively against Tesla's Model Y variants in the Chinese market. The move underscores Kia's strategic entry into the EV landscape, aiming to carve a niche by offering an affordable and compelling alternative in the growing electric SUV segment.