After successes with the EV6 and EV9, Kia is bringing their EV3 to New Zealand at some point. DriveLife was invited to the (virtual) global launch of the car, an all-new compact SUV.

According to Kia, the EV3 will be a “Flagship EV experience for all” and part of that inclusivity meant chatting to potential owners of EVs and asking them what they wanted. Things you’d expect came up, like range comparable to an internal combustion engine (ICE) car. For that reason, Kia has fitted the EV3 with an optional stonking 81kWh battery pack, and that means a WLTP range of up to 600km in the long-range EV3 – something the company is claiming is best in class, and it’s hard to argue with that. The standard battery pack is 58kWh in size.

Kia has a global sales target of 200,000 units in 12 months for this model, and are expecting that the new tech in this model will drive buyers to it. That new tech is covered further down in this article. 

The car is set to launch this July in Korea and we’d certainly hope to see it in New Zealand this calendar year. 

The company was casually throwing around statements like “best in class charging solution”, “it will redefine the compact EV SUV segment”, and “there is no direct competition for the EV3 at this time,”. We will see if that pans out once the model has been on sale for a while. 

2024 Kia EV3: Design

On its reveal, the all-new EV3 displays huge wheels for this size of car and looks like a shrunk-down version of the EV9, with nice proportions all round. It certainly carries the current design language of Kia, right down to the “digital Tiger face” front, similar to the EV6 and EV9.

No one can claim that Kia is not pumping out modern and fresh designs, and the EV3 looks to carry on this theme, with flush front door handles and rear door handles that are recessed into the C pillar. Up front, the EV3 comes with a 25-litre frunk for your wet towels from the beach, with boot space listed as 460 litres. That’s pretty good for a compact SUV.

Initial drawing of the concept

Kia says the car is “Playful, fun, and dynamic but functional and thoughtful usability.” They’ve focused the design on proportions and a long wheelbase allowing the batteries to live between the wheels, and with short front and rear overhangs.

That Digital Tiger Face is framed by vertical headlamps, with horizontal and vertical DRLs that frame the tiger nose. At the rear is a full-width roof spoiler and an obvious functional design aspect is the wide tailgate for usability. 

For the first time on a Kia, the exterior cladding uses recycled plastic from old Kia models. The company says that bumpers and other plastic parts will use recycled plastic very soon. Each EV3 will have a QR code on both the interior and exterior, to lead anyone who scans it to a website showing sustainability solutions around the model.

2024 Kia EV3: Interior and tech

The interior is pretty space-age as well, looking very similar to the EV6’s cabin and has the same 30” widescreen system from the EV9 – including a 12.3-inch cluster, a five-inch air-conditioning panel, and another 12.3-inch infotainment display. There’s also a 12” heads-up display (HUD) option and the infotainment system has access to things like TikTok, YouTube, Netflix, and others. Apparently, this stems from potential owner comments, who wanted something to do while charging up.

Kia does claim that with its 400-volt battery pack, on the right charger, the EV3 will go from 10-80% battery charge in 31 minutes, so maybe you’d only get to see an episode of Friends and not much more before unplugging. The EV3 can also hook into the Kia Connect Store and that means you can (pay to) download new infotainment themes for your EV3, as well as other customisations. 

Concept drawing

We’re used to Kia’s ‘i-Pedal’ system, which allows for one-pedal driving and adjusting the brake regeneration settings. For the EV3, this has been upgraded to version 3.0

The all-new EV3 is also the first to get the ‘Kia AI Assistant’ that can answer questions and do a whole lot more besides. It’s integrated into the car, so you can use pretty much whatever terms you want to do something like adjust the AC temp. Kia suggests that no matter how you phrase it, the AI Assistant will understand what you are asking.

Being one of Kia’s EV model-range cars, means the owner can utilise ‘Vehicle-to-Load’ (V2L) so they can plug in electrical appliances and use them, powered by the car’s battery. Great for camping, power cuts, or just charging up your laptop on the road. 

Having a dedicated EV architecture means space, and it also means flat floors – the same as we saw on the EV6 and will see soon when we review the EV9. Kia has put the entire air-conditioning system in the engine bay, so that means more interior space. Again, this is similar to the other Kia EV models and a great use of engineering to give more cabin room.

One of the presenters got into the back of the EV3 on display, and seemed to have ample headroom, at least. He is 1.8m tall so that is impressive in a Compact SUV.

The model also has a digital key, meaning it can be unlocked and started using a cellphone or smart watch.

Sliding arm rest

2024 Kia EV3: Drivetrain

The EV3 is a front-wheel drive compact SUV with a 150kW/283nM electric motor powering the car. It gets to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds.

DriveLife looks forward to the New Zealand launch of the all-new Kia EV3.

Kia website:

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Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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