Kia Niro EV – Going the Distance
A couple of years ago, I tested Kia’s newest hybrid, the Niro, and applauded them for making a Prius-like vehicle that didn’t look like the eco-friendly, tree-hugging, fuel-saving car that it is. With a price starting under $23,000 and able to achieve up to 49 mpg, how can such a fuel-efficient car get any better?
Well it did the following year when it came out with a plug-in version of the Niro, called the Niro PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) – making the Niro able to travel 26 miles in full electric vehicle mode before transforming back into the Niro Hybrid, where is still can achieve about 46 mpg. Fully charged and with a full tank of gas, the Niro PHEV had a range of well over 500 miles.
Now, Kia is still at it – with the Niro EV – an all-new entry-level electric car.
With electric cars, the first question is always the same: What’s it’s range? With the Niro EV, you can travel an estimated 239 miles before you’ll need to recharge. That’s beats out the BMW i3 and within striking distance of the Tesla Model 3. More importantly, it’s more than enough for most daily commutes (if it’s not, you should think about moving) and weekend getaways. When it’s time to recharge, plugging the Niro into a public fast charger will add about 100 miles worth of driving range in about 30 minutes. At home, if you’re plugged into a 220-volt wall socket, the Niro’s onboard charger can fill up the battery in about 9.5 hours. Plugging it into a regular 120-volt outlet takes about 60 hours to charge from empty.
All that charging is to power the Niro EV’s electric motor that produces 201 horsepower and 291 lb.-ft of torque. Like most other electrics and hybrids, the Niro EV uses regenerative braking to recover some energy – and the amount of regenerative braking can even be adjusted by the driver.
The cabin of the Niro EV is much like other Niros – except around the center console. The traditional shifter gives way to a rotary dial that you turn to the desired selection. The rest of the cabin is quite stylish and offers plenty of room for both front and back passengers. The Niro EV EX Premium that I recently drove had some nice amenities like an automatic climate control system, Harmon-Kardon Premium Sound System, heated steering wheel, heated and vented front seats and many safety features including blind-spot detection and a forward collision warning system. The MSRP on this loaded all-electric Niro was $47,155.
On the outside, the Niro EV loses its grille, but otherwise looks much like its hybrid counterpart, and resembles a small SUV – even though it’s not available in all-wheel drive. As for utility, there is about 18.5 cubic feet of room behind the rear seats. If more room is needed, folding down the seatbacks brings that up to 53 cubic feet of available storage space.
Going all electric doesn’t mean you have to give up on performance, and the Nero EV is proof of that. It handles nicely and stays well planted on the road (although its tires are hardly set up for aggressive driving). And it’s quick too – 0 to 60 mph comes in about 6.5 seconds.
While the Niro EV is an interesting vehicle, it’s not for everyone. And Kia knows that – which may be why it’s limiting sales of the Niro EV to just 12 states, Texas being one of them.
But for those that want an electric vehicle that is full of features, offers a long driving range and doesn’t look out of place, the Kia Niro EV is an option. An option that Popular Mechanics named Car of the Year in 2019.
— Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium (data is from a 2019 model)
Base Price: $44,000.00
Price as Tested: $47,155.00
Layout: front-engine / front-wheel drive
Engine: AC Synchronous Electric Motor
Transmission: 1-speed direct drive
Horsepower: 201 hp
Torque: 291 lb.-ft
EPA Fuel Economy: (in MPGe) 123 city/ 102 highway
[Visit me at www.carsbycar.blogspot.com or email me at email@example.com]