• Nice styling
  • Comfy experience
  • Attainable pricing


  • Gradual charging
  • Fewer enjoyable colours on EV


Can an EV with middling vary and a standard cabin format compete? It could actually when it appears to be like this good, drives this properly, and is priced this competitively.

With the trade more and more transferring in direction of electrification, increasingly devoted EV platforms are hitting the market. Designing a automobile from the bottom as much as be battery-powered has some vital benefits in relation to cabin format, battery placement, and in the end vary. However, it has some drawbacks too — specifically, price. Designing such a platform isn’t low-cost, and by limiting a brand new automobile to be solely battery powered means ruling out the vast majority of patrons who aren’t prepared for a wholesale swap wholesale to the EV way of life.

Kia has such a platform at its disposal, E-GMP which underpins the EV6 in addition to company cousins the Hyundai Ionic 5 and the Genesis GV60. Nevertheless, Kia’s different EV, the Niro, has taken a extra graduated method. Right here, Kia has managed to supply one automobile in three flavors: sequence hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full-on electrical, made attainable by extra versatile platform that may match motors, engines, or each.

However can an EV with middling vary and a standard cabin format compete with trendy, devoted EVs? It could actually when it appears to be like this good, drives this properly, and is priced this competitively.


The outgoing Niro was a good looking automobile, contemporary sufficient with out being too radical, a part of Kia’s earlier wave of design statements to outline itself not as a price model however as one actually doing one thing totally different. With the brand new Niro, Kia actually seals the take care of one thing stellar.

Although the automobile has a brand new type, its sheetmetal is wrapped across the similar acquainted, sensible form. The Niro EV is assessed as an SUV, but it surely’s on the extraordinarily small facet of the crossover spectrum, actually extra of a tall wagon. Regardless, it’s a sensible form that’s nice for small households or anybody with an energetic way of life.

An energetic way of life and a love for progressive styling cues. Probably the most vital one is discovered on the C-pillar, of all locations. Kia calls it the Aeroblade and it’s far and away probably the most hanging design factor on the automobile — however provided that you pay a bit additional to get it in a contrasting shade, such as you see right here. This kind is bodily separated from the remainder of the physique, a kind of bridge with a practical vent resulting in the again of the automobile.

It’s the kind of styling factor generally seen on high-end sports activities automobiles and, whereas its practical want is questionable on a low-power EV, the aesthetic attraction is doubtless. It appears to be like improbable.

The remainder of the automobile appears to be like good, too. Headlights are located low and large, on both facet of a fake plastic grille that’s only a repeated texture of black plastic forming a contemporary face for the automobile. That Aeroblade dominates the facet view, together with color-contrasting kick plates low on the doorways.

Tail-lights are nearly absolutely built-in into these C-pillars, leaving the remainder of the rear trying a bit plain by comparability. However, a beneficiant hatch spoiler provides some spice, whereas a rear-window wiper is significantly appreciated.

On the within, issues are rather less radical however no much less welcoming. Maybe much more so. The pale grey inside on the Kia Niro EV Wave trim you see right here creates a light-weight impact that’s rather a lot much less dour than the seas of black vinyl we’re more and more seeing inside trendy automobiles. That its upholstery is made from recycled bottles positively helps you are feeling higher about issues. Your temper may even be lifted by the sunroof, which isn’t panoramic however nonetheless permits loads of its namesake.

Up entrance, there’s a ten.25-inch show working Kia’s extraordinarily acquainted UVO infotainment system, which is straightforward and snappy and works properly sufficient, together with each wi-fi Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Entrance seats are comfy, if a bit flat.

Out again there’s loads of room, too, with a large bench seat and beneficiant house for individuals who are both lengthy of leg or lengthy of torso — or each. There’s even heated rear seats, plus a pair of USB-C ports cunningly built-in into the edges of the entrance seats for charging.

A very powerful cost port, although, is up entrance between the headlights. The Niro EV helps DC quick charging of as much as 85 kW, which is able to give an 80 % cost within the 64.8 kWh battery pack in about 45 minutes. That’s a bit sluggish by trendy requirements. A full cost will take nearer to 2 hours, or in case you’re charging at house on a degree 2 unit, it’ll take simply shy of eight.

Most vary of the Niro EV is 253 miles in accordance with the EPA. I wasn’t capable of check that as my time of testing was fraught with terrible climate, together with temperatures properly under freezing and powerful headwinds. So, my score of two.6 miles per kWh, or a theoretical most vary of 169 miles, isn’t relevant until you occur to be driving by means of the Arctic.

The Drive

EVs, even inexpensive ones, must be enjoyable to drive, and the Niro EV is not any exception. Although its 201 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque are on the low finish for a car weighing 3,800 kilos, it accelerates properly and will certainly get out forward when darting from one intersection to the subsequent.

It’s solely at larger speeds, on the freeway, when issues begin to really feel a bit flat. Right here the Niro appears to lose the battle in opposition to the elevated air resistance and the upper RPM demanded at these speeds. Don’t get me improper, it’s nonetheless greater than able to transferring properly by means of site visitors and passing, but it surely doesn’t fairly leap ahead with the identical aggression as at decrease speeds.

The Niro EV’s steering is gentle however the automobile responds rapidly to your inputs. Push it onerous by means of corners, although, and the result’s simply extra physique roll. No, regardless of that trick vented C-pillar, this isn’t a sports activities automobile.

That’s okay. The Niro EV excels on the extra vital issues for this class of automobile, like delivering quiet and calm experience high quality. The Niro EV’s comfy suspension and beneficiant sidewalls guarantee it stays relaxed even over damaged asphalt, inside quiet all through thanks each to that isolation and the silent drivetrain.

It’s an ideal place for listening to your favourite homicide thriller podcast on the best way to work, although the seven-speaker Harman Kardon sound system punches above its weight with stable bass for whenever you’d slightly spin up some music.

The Kia can be good at swallowing your stuff. 22.8 cubic toes of cargo house on the rear is a bit low, however that jumps to 63.7 with the seats folded down. And, whereas there isn’t a correct frunk as such, there’s a tiny compartment up there with sufficient room for a loaf of bread and a few miscellaneous condiments. Excellent for small picnics with shut pals.

All that’s backed up by a complete security suite. The Niro EV Wave has Kia’s newest Freeway Drive Help 2 system, which improves on the primary version of HDA with some further performance. As ever it does an incredible job of retaining the automobile centered in its lane on the freeway, adjusting pace as wanted primarily based on site visitors and doing so with out abrupt jerks on the brake.

HDA2 provides on the flexibility for the automobile to mechanically change lanes to get round slower site visitors — along with your blessing, in fact. That is nonetheless very a lot a hands-on driver help system. It’s not fairly as much as the identical degree as GM’s Tremendous Cruise or Ford’s Blue Cruise, each of which is able to enable the driving force to take their fingers off the wheel. However, HDA2 nonetheless does a lot of the busy work of freeway driving, making the expertise much more stress-free.

It’s bolstered by blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alerts and automated emergency braking and collision avoidance with pedestrian and bicycle owner detection. You actually couldn’t need or count on far more in a automobile of this class.

Choices and Pricing

The automobile you see here’s a Kia Niro Wave, which begins at $44,450 and differs from the bottom Wind trim by including on issues like LED lighting, Freeway Drive Help 2, a much bigger infotainment show, and the flexibility to make use of your smartphone as a key. This automobile additionally has a couple of choices, like $155 for flooring mats, $395 for the Snow White Pearl paint, and one other $195 for the (very mandatory) contrasting grey C-pillar.

The costliest add-on, although, is $1,300 for the Wave Protect Package deal. This contains the heated rear seats, however extra considerably provides on a warmth pump. A warmth pump permits an EV to heat the cabin in a much more environment friendly manner than fundamental resistive heating. At temperatures all the way down to freezing, the automobile will spend much less electrical energy retaining you heat, leaving extra energy within the battery for going far.

If you happen to dwell someplace chilly, you’ll positively need to tick that field, even in case you don’t care about retaining the rear-seats heat.

Add on the $1,295 vacation spot cost and also you’re taking a look at a ultimate worth of $47,790, however you may get right into a Niro EV for as little as $39,550. That compares to 38,690 for the bottom model of the plug-in hybrid Niro and 26,590 for the bottom hybrid.

Which is for you? Properly, that relies upon rather a lot in your driving patterns and whether or not you’ve gotten common entry to a charger. If you happen to’re driving lengthy distances incessantly, the bottom hybrid is perhaps one of the best guess. Make shorter journeys and may cost solely often? Take a look at the PHEV.

However, in case you have entry to the charger, the complete EV Kia Niro can be my decide. It’s calm and quiet to drive and the just about full lack of upkeep will make it that a lot simpler to dwell with on the lengthy haul. And, with a automobile that appears this good, you’ll be in no hurry to eliminate it.

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