Drive the Kia EV5 off-road in the US

Kia EV5 front three quarter live image

The Kia EV5 is one of the most exciting EV introductions in the world's hottest C-segment. It fits the general SUV profile, unlike the compact but large Kia EV6, it's an all-electric option if the Kia Sportage. In March 2024, I tested the Kia EV5 in detail at the 2024 Bangkok International Motor Show, and here's what I found out about comfort, space, features, and design:


At first glance, I found the Kia EV5 to be the younger brother of the Kia EV9. There are many similarities in the design of the EV5, but I can see for myself that it is not really a reduced EV9. Kia, unlike many car manufacturers today, visually differentiates its lineup.

In addition to the wide, impressive stance, I like the EV5's bold front fascia. From this angle, I find it more attractive than the flagship EV9. The daytime running lights on the sides form a strong C-shape, while the main lights (high and low) resemble a constellation. Aside from Kia's long-standing “Tiger Face” marketing jargon, there's little not to like about the front, at least not visually.

Live profile picture of Kia EV5
Compared to the EV6, the EV5 has a larger greenhouse with thicker rear pillars and a rear windscreen. It comes with 18 and 19 inch wheels (pictured) but I'm not a fan of this style.

From the sides, I think the flat but slightly sloping roofline, muscular shoulders, recessed door handles, and overall boxy stance give the EV5 a smart and confident look. I'm not a fan of those aero wheels, though, as their design is reminiscent of a rotating blender's blade. I think chunky wheels like Fisker Ocean's AirGlider would have been better suited to the SUV character.

The Kia EV5 has an electric open/close charging port door, which I think is pretty cool for a car in this class. I've seen luxury-class EVs twice their price resolved with a standard, push-operated charging port door.

At the rear, the wide, C-shaped headlights and the clean and sleek look of the tailgate appealed to me. Thailand receives the EV5 at the Yueda-Kia joint venture factory in Yancheng (Jiangsu Province), China. I checked the SUV's body for panel gap irregularities, but there were no obvious problems or alignment issues, even though this was a pre-production example. Series production of the EV5 RHD version started recently, as the Korea Economic Daily reported on April 10, 2024.


At 5'7, I had no problem getting in or out of the front. This particular EV5 was equipped with Kia's Relaxation seat on the driver's side and a conventional power seat on the passenger's side. I sat in the driver's seat, which is fully reclining, includes a thigh cushion extender, and features a massage function. It felt supportive even though the side bolsters are not adjustable.

Live image of Kia EV5 dashboard
The Kia EV5's modern interior isn't overly minimalistic to the point of compromising performance.

The massage function is not expected in a car of this class, and after a tiring day of testing many new models, it came in handy. The massage function was more than just a name, and from my experience, I can say that it makes a big difference in comfort. The seat was not only revealing; I even heard back rollers work well to help my back pain!

I found the lower thigh support and lumbar support in the front of the cabin to be excellent. In my favorite driving position, I had six inches of headroom. Therefore, drivers six feet tall will also be comfortable in the EV5.

Live image of the front seat of the Kia EV5
The Kia EV5 has a massage function in the driver's seat.

I liked the fact that most of the main functions have physical controls like knobs, switches, and buttons. These controls have shown quality. The quality of the plastic and other materials was good, too. Like many other models, I noticed some use of economy-grade plastic on the lower part of the dashboard and door panels, but the rest was a high-quality interior.

The 12.3-inch infotainment system software also left me impressed. It had attractive graphics and was accurate. It had a physical keyboard for certain functions, and it didn't show any lag while scrolling and selecting. The refresh rate of the display wasn't the best, but it still looked smooth. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and the 5-inch touchscreen climate control system run the same software. The capacitive touch buttons on the dashboard were responsive, but I stand by my opinion that they can be distracting and distracting when driving.

Ingress and egress were easy and straight forward, too. Behind the driver's seat, I was well supported under the thigh and supported the pelvis. The angle of the backrest was comfortable for me, and I realized that the reclining function was there to make it even better. I had about six inches of headroom in the fully seated position and about five inches of headroom at the default angle. There was a USB Type-C port in front of me, behind the driver's seat, and I thought it would allow me to charge my phone easily.

On the other side of the bench, the USB Type-C port was located on the inner side of the rear passenger seat. In addition, unlike the person sitting behind the driver's seat, the person sitting on the outside can take zoom calls or snacks on the go. That's because Kia includes a folding table (with an integrated tablet slot) behind the front passenger seat. A hard surface can withstand the weight of a laptop. There was also a slide-out storage box in the center console to store things like snacks or portable toys.

Live photo of the rear seat of the Kia EV5
The rear seats of the Kia EV5 can also recline. The front and back seats have tray tables.

The floor behind was completely flat. Therefore, I noticed that the center of the rear seat is wider and more comfortable than most gas-powered SUVs.


The Kia EV5 is based on the forward-looking Electronic Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which will also be used in the upcoming EV3 and EV4 models. Depending on the market, it is available with an LFP battery or an NMC battery pack. There are two types of LFP: 64.2 kWh and 88.1 kWh. Similarly, the NMC is also available in two different capacities: 58 kWh and 81 kWh.


The EV5 is equipped with a 64.2 kWh LFP battery pack and has only one motor, which produces 160 kW (214 hp) and 310 Nm (229 lb.-ft.) of torque. It delivers an NEDC range of 490 km (304 miles). The EV5 is equipped with an 88.1 kWh LFP battery pack and is available with the same engine as a front-rear engine combination that produces 230 kW (308 hp) and 480 Nm (354 lb.-ft) of torque and provides EV capability AWD. It delivers a NEDC range of 665 km (413 miles) in single-motor FWD configuration and 620 km (385 miles) in dual-motor AWD configuration.


An EV5 equipped with a 58 kWh NMC battery pack is under development, but Kia has confirmed that it will use a 160 kW (214 hp) front-wheel drive engine. The EV5 equipped with an 81 kWh NMC battery pack, which is also under development, will be available in a FWD configuration with that engine and an AWD configuration that adds a 70 kW (94 hp) rear engine with 225 kW (302 hp) power. perfect. Kia hasn't shared range goals for these three EV5 configurations with the NMC battery pack.

Live image of the Kia EV5 cargo area
The Kia EV5 has a cavernous cargo area, but it houses a tire repair station instead of a spare tire.

Release date

The Kia EV5 is on sale in China, where prices start at just CNY 149,800 (USD 20,701). With right-hand drive production now underway at the Chinese factory, it should begin reaching customers in Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand in the coming months. Kia has confirmed that it will launch the EV5 in Europe and North America as well, but according to a report Autoblog published on October 12, 2023, the presence of the North American model, unfortunately, will not include the United States.

See also: 2025 Kia Carnival Hybrid US: First Look Review

TopElectricSUV says

The Kia EV5 is a brilliantly designed EV with many good features that make it a new benchmark in the compact SUV segment. It offers adequate performance and range, and is quite attractively priced. It's a shame this model won't make it to the US, with such powerful electric SUVs.

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