The Kia Niro EV is a completely electric hatchback with an EPA-rated 239 miles of range, and a stance that provides it the looks of a utility vehicle, though it solely comes as front-wheel drive. Its robust level is efficiency. Its cabin is roomy and versatile, however the seats lack help and the experience isn’t as easy because it could be.
The Niro was launched for 2019 and acquired some updates in 2020, however is anticipated to enter 2021 with minimal modifications.
The only electric motor makes 201 horsepower and a whopping 291 pound-feet of torque, which helps propel the Niro EV to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds, and preserve it flying at freeway speeds. The dealing with and roadholding are good, but it surely’s not as nimble as the same Niro hybrid as a result of it’s 700 kilos heavier because of the batteries.
The 7.2-kw onboard AC charger, standard on the bottom EX mannequin, can absolutely cost the Niro EV in about 9.5 hours on a 240-volt circuit. Optionally available on the EX, and standard on the Premium mannequin, is DC fast-charging, which beneficial properties as much as 100 miles of range in half-hour, or go from zero to 80% cost in 54 minutes.
Along with score the range at 239 miles, the EPA says that the Niro EV achieves 112 MPGe (miles per gallon equal).
The Niro EV hasn’t been crash examined but. The Niro hybrid and plug-in hybrid have scored properly, however they weigh much less. Normal safety tools consists of computerized emergency braking, adaptive cruise management, and lively lane management
Kia solely sells the EV in California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Texas, and Washington.
Pricing for 2021 hasn’t but been launched. For the 2020 mannequin yr, the Niro EV EX began at $40,210, whereas the EX Premium was $45,710.
The EX comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, satellite tv for pc radio, and rear climate-control vents. One vital possibility is the Chilly Climate Package deal, for $1,000, which brings a warmth pump, battery heater, and heated steering wheel. Most automobiles on sellers’ tons in cold-weather states could have this selection.
The Premium provides a ten.3-inch touchscreen, navigation, energy sunroof, interior temper lighting, heated and cooled entrance seats, leather-based upholstery, and a Harman Kardon premium sound system.
A $7,500 federal EV tax credit score applies to qualifying patrons of the Niro EV, in addition to varied native and state incentives.
The Niro EV isn’t daring, rugged, or sporty, however it’s moderately well-proportioned, with some token hints of all-weather functionality within the rubberized wheel-well trim. There is no such thing as a grille within the nostril, only a plastic panel with a sample of diamond-shaped dimples, plus some tidy blue accent traces down low.
The instrument panel features giant touchscreens, a twist-dial shifter, a middle console that makes use of area effectively, and matching blue accents. One particularly good factor is that the infotainment interface is intuitive. Nonetheless, even on the Premium mannequin with its price within the excessive $40,000s, the interior feels frugal. The supplies seem sturdy, however there’s nothing concerning the cabin ambiance that approaches luxurious.
The entrance seats don’t have sufficient help for some drivers. They sit excessive with out the adjustability to decrease them. The excellent news is that seat top is excellent for getting out and in.
That stated, the interior is flexible and properly packaged. There are not any humps within the rear from the battery pack, not even when the rear bench seat is folded to make extra cargo area. However as a result of the Niro is slender, solely two will match comfortably in that seat.
The Niro EV may not be capable of beat a Tesla in a drag race, however its acceleration is powerful. A permanent-magnet electric motor produces 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque, and it could actually take off with an urgency that blows away the Niro hybrids. It will possibly squeal the entrance tires from a cease signal and hit 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. And, in contrast to many different electric autos, the push doesn’t fade previous 60 mph.
As a result of it carries about 1,000 kilos of batteries underneath the floorboards, its dealing with isn’t precisely nimble. It feels misplaced on winding roads, the place the steering is gradual to reply. What’s extra, surprisingly given the additional weight, it bounces and bounds over the bumps. However again out on the graceful freeway, it feels extra settled than its Niro hybrid half-brothers.
Vitality is recovered and fed again into the battery pack by regenerative braking, which, once you carry your foot off the accelerator, looks like downshifting in a car with a guide transmission. For some drivers, it’s an undesirable feeling, as a result of it makes it unimaginable to glide to a cease, and even to drive easily in metropolis site visitors.
Nonetheless the Niro EV has three modes to cope with these dynamics, by way of steering-wheel paddles; actually, the Auto mode makes use of adaptive cruise-control sensors. Or you’ll be able to choose a mode to regulate how a lot the car responds to the accelerator, in addition to the brake pedal that may really feel spongy at instances.
Our driving expertise within the 2020 Niro EV has indicated that the 239-mile EPA range is real looking and completely achievable. Even in winter, which is what the warmth pump within the elective Chilly Climate Package deal is designed to beat.
The 2021 Kia Niro EV is without doubt one of the few electric autos to exceed 200 miles in range and to promote for lower than $50,000. It’s expensive and exhibits its economy-car roots, but it surely performs admirably properly. It’s solely obtainable in sure states, but it surely’s an attention-grabbing alternative for individuals who dwell in these locations, and wish to make the change to all-electric driving.
—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Automotive Connection
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