Kia's New EV3 Paints a Target on the Tesla Model Y

white kia ev3 crossover parked in a white room
Can the Kia EV3 Beat Tesla in the Cheap EV Space?Kia

With the Chevrolet Bolt on a brief hiatus before (allegedly) returning in the next few years, the market for affordable, compact EVs seems largely open for the taking. Or at least, the second-place spot is, as Tesla continues to have domination over the U.S. electric vehicle market thanks to the prodigious success of the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover.

Maybe not for long, however, as Kia seems intent on taking the fight to Tesla with its newest EV.

Building on the early success of its full-size EV9 sibling, Kia's latest EV goes by the name of EV3, its name suggesting its compact size. Built on the shared Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), the Kia EV3's dimensions (169 inches long, 72 inches wide, 61 inches tall, and with a 105.5-inch wheelbase) show the model will be genuinely compact, matching the outgoing Chevrolet Bolt EUV's wheelbase and coming in a bit tidier than the Model 3/Y siblings.

a car parked in a garage

Like most Stateside EVs, the EV3 will be offered in two variants in battery capacity. Standard EV3 units will come with a 58.3 kWh battery, while the Long Range variant is fitted with an 81.4 kWh battery. Horsepower and torque figures remain the same across the model range, with 201 hp and 208 lb-ft of torque allowing a claimed 0-60 mph time of 7.5 seconds. If you're invested in topping out an EV3, the fastest it will go is 105 mph, which should be adequate for... well, everyone.


Kia only provided the estimated WLTP cycle range of its long-range variant, quoting 372 miles of range on the (usually optimistic) cycle. That range estimate falls into place amongst its prospective competition well, with the longest-range version of the Tesla Model Y claiming a WLTP estimate of 336 miles. Similarly, in keeping up with market standards, the EV3 will be able to DC fast charge from 10-80 percent within 31 minutes, though at an undisclosed speed.

a white car parked in a room

To retain range while on the road, Kia has focused on the aerodynamics of the boxy model. Kia says the EV3 has a quite low drag coefficient at 0.263 Cd, though that still falls short of the extra-slippery Tesla Model 3.

"By providing groundbreaking design, an industry-leading electric drivetrain, and practical, innovative lifestyle solutions, the EV3 aims to extend Kia’s exceptional EV SUV experience to a wider audience," said Ho Sung Song, President and CEO at Kia. "It will reassure those who may have been hesitant to make the switch to electric mobility and will lead the mass adoption of EVs."

2026 kia ev3

That's a strong claim from Kia, but a report from Automotive News indicates that this sort of success is very likely, in large part due to the vehicle's's purported $35,000–$50,000 price point. Warring with Volvo's EX30 and the Tesla Model 3, Kia is eager to see how its newest EV can qualify for federal tax credits, particularly as the brand sets out to 70,000 to 80,000 EV3s in the U.S.

What could set the EV3 apart is its technology setup, particularly when weighed against the minimalism found in both Volvo and Tesla offerings. Using a one-piece, 30-inch widescreen display with a 12.3-inch cluster, a five-inch air-conditioning panel, and another 12.3-inch infotainment display, the Kia will have the most screens of its competitive set by a large margin. As far as storage goes, the EV3 will have around 16 cubic feet of rear storage space and just under a cubic foot in its frunk.

While other manufacturers are pumping the brakes on their EV plans, Kia is staying full-steam ahead on course, particularly in the face of the company's best sales year ever in 2023. "Despite the current global fluctuations in EV demand, we are highly confident in our EV strategy," Song said. "Our commitment remains resolute."

Kia has yet to detail plans for the EV3's North American arrival, but the brand confirms to Motor1 that the crossover will arrive in the U.S. in either calendar year 2025 or 2026. Here's hoping it's the former.

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