Kia EV3 SUV spotted testing in the U.S.; to slot below the EV6

  • The EV3 would be a new electric SUV positioned alongside the Niro EV
  • Expected to comfortably deliver a range of around 300 miles
  • Could be priced from just under GBP 40,000 in the UK
  • Global launch to be held in 2024; EV3 test prototypes have been spotted in the U.S.

Update: ‘Production’ section updated.

Kia plans to launch 8 electric SUVs following the EV6. While the EV9 is just out of the pipeline, the next launch is the Kia EV3, scheduled to debut in 2024. An EVx SUV refers to a dedicated electric vehicle and not a conversion BEV such as the Niro EV or Soul EV.

Further details have now come to the surface in what is likely to be Kia’s most significant launch in 2024. Here’s what we know about the new Kia EV3.


Early spy shots of camouflaged prototypes from the S.Korean portals suggest the Kia EV3 will have a funky and futuristic exterior design, with a flattish roofline. The silhouette reminds us a bit of the Niro EV, but it looks sharper and boxier. Vertical daytime running lights, chunky five-spoke alloy wheels, a clean tailgate, vertical rear lights, a shark-fin antenna, and conventional side mirrors are the exterior features observed on the production-oriented model.

Unlike the Niro and Sportage compact SUVs, the EV3 will likely have rear door handles integrated into the C-pillar. On September 6, 2023, X user ray4tesla shared spy shots suggesting that Kia has started testing EV3 prototypes in the U.S. as well. The test car spotted in the U.S. also revealed that the EV3 has flush-fitted front door handles, and like the Euro-spec prototype, it featured pillar-mounted rear door handles.

The EV3 will have C-shaped LED light signatures, which extend into the fenders, making it look quite unique from the EV9. From what we can tell, the EV3 will appeal to customers who prefer offbeat designs, as opposed to, say, the Jeep Avenger EV. We aren’t implying that it’ll be a small SUV, though. Positioned within the same size category as the Niro EV, it would be differentiated by higher performance, longer range, shorter charging times, more space, and added comfort, connectivity, and convenience features.

Kia EV3 SUV rear (concept)
The vehicle would also have a floating-effect for the roof, and muscular cuts and creases on the doors. Image (Concept EV3): Kia

The Kia EV3 will look “very close” to the Kia Concept EV3, Karim Habib, Executive Vice President, and Head of Kia Global Design Center, has confirmed, Autoblog stated in a report on October 12, 2023. The rear-hinged doors won’t be making it to the road-ready model, though, just as expected.


The Kia EV3 should feature a modern interior with a minimalist theme. Similarities with the EV5 should include a sleek dashboard with freestanding but combined dual displays, a four-spoke steering wheel, slim AC vents, and a compact climate control system.

Kia EV5 dashboard
Soft mood lighting, environmentally friendly materials, and clean shapes and dashboard surfaces are given on the EV3 SUV. Pictured is the interior of the EV5. Image Source: Kia

One of the cons of the Kia Niro EV’s interior is its dual-function touchpad with climate and infotainment controls. Thankfully, the Kia EV3 is likely to have physical buttons that can be pushed up or down to access the various functions of the climate control system. On the flip side, the core infotainment system buttons like home, map, search, setup, media, and favorite might be operated via capacitive touch buttons built into the dashboard.

A 12.3-inch driver information display, a 5-inch climate control display, and a 12.3-inch infotainment display, all featuring Kia’s new Unified Graphical User Interface (GUI), could be integrated into a single panel. Kia may equip the EV3 with its new connected car Navigation Cockpit (ccNC) infotainment system that features crisp graphics, a simple menu structure, smooth animations, OTA update support, and wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto compatibility.

Kia EV5 dashboard driver side
The Kia EV3 may feature three cockpit displays clubbed together in a single panel. Kia EV5 shown for reference. Image Source: Kia

We expect the company to use various sustainable materials like bio plastic and recycled PET or fishing net carpet in the cabin. Spy pictures have shown the EV3 featuring curvy front seats with bolsters designed to look like they wrap elegantly around the driver and passenger.

The EV3 should offer more comfort in the rear than the Niro EV, as it seems to have more legroom, reclining seats, and a flat floor. Additionally, Kia has confirmed folding bench-type rear seat which can be folded upwards which will help drivers carry heavier items like kick scooters or bicycles.


The new Kia electric crossover will ride on the Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). It has been confirmed that the EV3 will utilize a front-wheel drive application of the E-GMP, which it will share with the Kia EV5 and Kia EV4.

Kia E-GMP platform
The Kia EV3 will ride on the FWD version of the E-GMP platform. A segment-breaking EV3 GT performance version is also expected to follow. Image Source: Kia

“The development of the EV5, EV4, and EV3 based on FWD is aimed at implementing electric vehicles at the right cost because the price barrier must be lowered to popularize electric vehicles,” Cho Sang-woon, Kia’s Global Business Planning Division Executive Director, said at the 2023 Kia EV Day in October 2023 (translated via Danawa).

Similar to the EV5, the EV3 could come with a 64 kWh battery pack and a ~140 kW motor in the entry-level configuration. We expect around 270 miles of EPA-est. range in the long-range EV3. Also expected in the Kia electric crossover is ultra-fast charging (10 to 80% SoC in about 20 minutes), as well as Plug & Charge support.

2024 Mercedes EQA facelift rear three quarter
The Kia EV3 would be a budget alternative to models like the Mercedes EQA and Volvo C40. Image Source: Mercedes-Benz

Expected Features

Bidirectional charging

The Kia EV3 will likely have an Integrated Charging Control Unit (ICCU) that enables a vehicle-to-load (V2L) function. V2L allows offloading power to external equipment like domestic appliances, power tools, and electronic devices at the campsite or worksite. A vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) charging function would be possible, meaning customers can rescue charge-depleted EVs using the EV3’s battery pack.

Heat pump

Kia should equip the EV3 with a heat pump that reuses waste heat energy from the battery, power electronics, and other propulsion components to keep the cabin warm in cold weather without compromising range and help the battery charge quicker by maintaining its temperature during winters.


The EV3 will likely get i-Pedal, which is Kia’s branding for the one-pedal driving mode. i-Pedal would allow for recuperating maximum energy from braking. Not needing to push the brake pedal would make driving more convenient and reduce brake wear.

Sustainable Materials

Showcasing the Concept EV9 at the LA Auto Show in November 2021, Kia offered a glimpse of how the interiors of its future EVs would feature an eco-friendly design and use sustainable materials. The EV9 Concept electric SUV uses recycled fishnets for flooring. The seating fabric is made of recycled plastic bottles and wool fibers. Vegan leather is used throughout the interior, and gradually, Kia plans to reduce the use of animal leather in all vehicles. This ecological approach from Kia is something that even the Kia EV3 could benefit from.


The EV3 could feature an advanced head-up display with Augmented Reality (AR) technology. The AR-HUD system projects 3D images of the key driving information like speed, navigation directions, and ADAS data onto the windshield.

Generative AI

Kia has confirmed that it will integrate generative AI technology into the EV3. Collaborating with leading generative AI model providers, Kia will use generative AI for schedule coordination, EV route optimization for efficiency, trip organization, on-the-go entertainment, and crucial emergency assistance – through interactions with the AI assistant.


According to reports in the South Korean media, the upcoming Kia electric SUV, slotting below the Kia EV6, will be manufactured at the AutoLand Gwangmyeong production facility in South Korea. AutoLand Gwangmyeong houses two factories: Plant 1 and Plant 2. The EV9 is made at Plant 1, while the new electric SUV positioned below the EV6 will be manufactured at Plant 2. saw a regulatory disclosure dated May 31, 2023, in which Kia confirmed it was going to convert AutoLand Gwangmyeong Plant 2 into a dedicated EV factory. The company said it will suspend production from June 1, 2023, till December 31, 2023, to make the necessary changes. On January 29, 2024, ET News released a report stating test operations will commence in February 2024.

In the future, AutoLand Gwangmyeong Plant 2 will manufacture two EVs. The production of the first model, which almost certainly will be the Euro-focused electric SUV covered in this story, reportedly begins in June 2024. As for the second, it’s expected to be a Forte-like electric sedan, wearing the Kia EV4 nameplate.

In fact, according to the ET News report dated January 29, 2024, Kia plans to make 80,000 units of EV3 annually in its South Korean factory. For the EV4, the company has set an annual production target of 70,000 units, which will bring its net annual EV output to 150,000 units. The EV4 will enter production a few months later, though, at the end of 2024.

From 2025, the European markets will likely source the new SUV positioned below the EV6 from Kia’s plant in Žilina, Slovakia. Kia has confirmed that it will manufacture small and mid-sized EVs in the Slovakia factory starting in 2025.

Release Date

Kia EV3 SUV (2024 release) rendering
The Kia EV3 (production model rendering shown) will be released in S.Korea in the first half of 2024.

Kia has confirmed that the EV3 SUV will be released in 2024. At the 2023 Kia EV Day held on October 12, 2023, CEO Ho Sung Song confirmed that the EV3 is planned for its domestic launch in the first half of 2024. This opens up the possibility of the EV3 arriving in the U.S. later in 2024.

Generative AI technology will debut in the 2024 EV3 model, with subsequent integration into the EV4 and EV5, and continuous enhancements via over-the-air updates.

Kia Corporation on October 12, 2023

Kia has said that every model in the EV series line will receive a GT variant, which opens the door for a future performance compact electric SUV like the Kia EV3 GT.

Kia America EV strategy

Kia EV roadmap product pipeline Kia EV4
The Kia EV3 is to be followed by 4 more electric SUVs by 2027 for the global market. Image Source: Kia

Kia plans to build an EV line-up of 15 models globally by 2027, CEO Ho Sung Song said at the 2023 CEO Investor Day on April 5, 2023. In his presentation for the event, he revealed that 9 of these would be SUVs.

Kia America plans to gradually expand its EV portfolio and the share of EVs in its sales. Eric Watson, Vice President – Sales Operations, Kia America, said that the company will launch one new EV every year until the end of the decade, Automotive News reported on June 17, 2022.

Eight EVs will be present in the Kia U.S. line-up by 2029, including the EV6 that went on sale in February 2022, the 2023 Niro EV that arrived in fall 2022, and the EV9 has just reached dealers. Watson said that Kia America wants EVs to constitute 30% of sales by the end of the decade and then increase their share to 50% in the early 2030s.

TopElectricSUV says

Being more expensive, and bigger than a compact SUV, the Kia EV6 leaves room for a high-riding model that’s smaller, economical, but one with advanced features. This is where the Kia EV3 will come into play, offering tech-savvy young buyers a no-compromise budget EV.

Kia EV3 FAQs

What is the Kia EV3?

The compact SUV is set to play the role of a budget alternative to the Mercedes EQA & Volvo C40.

What is the expected Kia EV3 release date?

Kia will launch the EV3 globally in 2024, positioned below the EV6.

What is the expected Kia EV3 price?

Kia could place the EV3 at sub-40,000 GBP levels in the UK. It is unclear if the EV3 will be sold in the United States.

Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s exclusive render of the Kia EV3.