Kias you Can't Buy in the US banner with couple holding money and crying while sharing thought bubble feat. Kia Ray

Kias You Can’t Buy in the US: The Kia Ray

Kia Ray US Release Date and Availability

If you’ve ever looked at the Kia Soul and thought “I love this whole thing, but it’s just too big for me,” then we’ve got some good news and some unwelcome news. Before we get to either, however, we’d first like to say how much we enjoyed seeing you in the Borrowers.

The good news is that Kia has you covered with a boxy city car that takes Kia’s unique approach to the crossover and shrinks it even further to compete with vehicles by SMART and FIAT. The unfortunate news is that you’re reading about the model on our Kias You Can’t Buy in the US feature and, as such, cannot buy this car in the United States.

We’d like to introduce you to the Kia Ray.

two Kia Rays on tarmac one facing toward and one facing away with its liftgate open

What is the Kia Ray?

At our first glance, we were tempted to call the Kia Ray a clever Soul mod somebody did to their smart car, but that is a disservice to the Ray. Like any Kia product, after all, the Ray is the result of meticulous research and thorough understanding of the market in which it’s available.

A city car built to offer maximum versatility and efficiency in a body that can find a parking spot in the narrowest places, the Kia Ray is a car that is uniquely-engineered for the challenges of big city living. The Kia Ray is exclusively available in South Korea, making it one of the most exclusive models we’ve featured.

The first-generation Ray was produced in 2011 in limited quantities for government officials. Shortly afterward, the Ray got an EV powertrain and joined an all-electric car sharing service in Seoul called “Electric Vehicle Sharing.” The most recent facelift for the Kia Ray occurred this year for the model year 2018 and saw the Ray lean into its quirky styling, taking cues from the Soul EV for its grille and front-end design.

first generation kia ray in off-white parked in carport

First-generation Kia Ray*

facelifted kia ray in white against white background with dog sitting nearby

Facelifted 2018 Kia Ray

As far as specs go, we had a challenging time navigating the Korean website, but we picked up that the Ray provides drivers with a minimum of 30 MPG (13 km/l) and maxes out its engine power at a whopping 77 horsepower. You read that right. Kia’s smallest American car, the Rio, gets nearly double the horsepower of the Ray.

If there’s one thing you’ve probably gained by reading past issues of Kias You Can’t Buy…, it’s that every Kia model on the market has a huge personality. Not only is the Ray no exception to this, it may be the best example. Check out some of these styling options and available storage compartments in the Ray:

sliding door on passenger side of 2018 kia ray

open rear liftgate on 2018 kia ray

kia ray seating with cutaway side panel

kia ray dashboard and front seat from rear seat

transmission in 2018 kia ray

center console storage in 2018 kia ray

in-floor shoebox for 2018 kia ray

overhead mesh storage for 2018 kia ray

white grille of 2018 kia ray ev

green and black grille of 2018 kia ray

As far as pricing goes, the Kia Ray is only 12,000,000 South Korea Won. This translates to about $12,000 for starting models, making it a model that would be massively competitive in the United States sub-sub-sub-compact car class.

[READ MORE: Kias You Can’t Buy in the US: The Sub-Subcompact Kia Picanto]

When Will the Kia Ray Be Available in the United States?

Sadly, we can confidently say that the Kia Ray will never be available in the United States. As we’ve discussed in back issues of Kias You Can’t Buy in the U.S., the market here for smaller-than-small vehicles is nonexistent.

However, with popular urban areas becoming increasingly congested and fuel prices beginning a steep climb, a market may open. If it does, we have no doubt that the Kia Ray will be an instant hit.

For more information on Kia, or to test drive a Kia you can buy in the United States, be sure to contact us today!

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*First-generation Kia Ray photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and shared with creative commons license by 액티언.