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Kia

New Car Review - Kia Niro EV

Published 7th November 2022Read Time 15 min

Good Stuff 👍

Updated looks, V2L, Range

Bad Stuff 👎

Front-loaded spec, supply, hard to find fault

What is the Kia Niro EV?

Great all-rounder EV

Kia has built a strong reputation for its cars over the past few decades. They offer good spec levels at very reasonable prices with robust warranties. Irish buyers have responded strongly, making the likes of the Sportage a permanent fixture on the top-selling charts.

The e-Niro was no exception, offering Irish early adopters the chance to go fully electric. At the time of launch, you had very few options if you wanted an EV with a decent range at a reasonable price. Then Kia came along and offered a genuine 400km range at prices not much above the Nissan LEAF.

The Niro EV has been given a refresh. All the practicality, range and value for money is retained, with the looks and functionality updated. The addition of the Vehicle-to-Load feature makes a great party piece that really pushes the boundaries of what cars are.

How about the looks of the Kia Niro EV?

Refreshed appearance, sharp and modern

The Kia Niro EV is indistinguishable from its combustion counterparts to the untrained eye. The refreshed appearance makes the front end much more angular and modern than its predecessor. The charging flap sits front and centre, blending into the bodywork that wraps around the lights and small air intake. A blocky light cluster leads the eye around to the side.

From the side, the Kia shows much less of a transformation from the older model. That is unless you option the Aero C-pillar in a different colour. We like the feature, but fully recognise that some people don’t find it appealing.

Around the back, a small spoiler protrudes from the roof. A Chevron-shaped rear light cluster goes from the midway point all the way up to the roof line. The boot sits at a high level, with a large black plastic bumper underneath that is probably the weakest part of the SUV’s aesthetics.

“The Niro EV offers an excellent range with a solid 400km real-world offering”
Blake Boland

What is the inside of the Kia Niro EV like?

High level of spec that punches above its weight

The Niro has a very comfortable cabin, largely inspired by the excellent Kia EV6. When we first got into the car, we thought it was a little busy. In saying that, we had only just stepped out of the minimalistic Tesla Model Y as our previous test car. Over the few days we really grew to like it. In fact, it was nice to have a few traditional buttons to work with.

The dash has a lot of gloss black materials, and the refresh has really upgraded the interface. What appears to be one large curved screen stretching halfway across the dash is actually two separate screens. One is the driver’s information display which you can toggle through to display whatever features you prefer. The other is the main infotainment screen. Most of the action happens here. The touchscreen is responsive, and there is a whole host of features that you can interact with and adapt.

The interior feel of the Kia is very comfortable. It perhaps falls short of some of the premium German marques, but that’s not to knock it all. It’s not trying to be one of those, and instead offers excellent ergonomics and practicality, especially on the K4 spec level.

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What is the Kia Niro EV like to drive?

Comfortable with good performance and plenty of creature comforts

Motorway driving is very comfortable thanks to a decent level of sound insulation. The adaptive cruise control system makes those longer trips much less tiring than normal.

We liked the weighting of the suspension. It’s set up a little soft, so you get some body roll in the corners. But this car wasn’t made for the Mondello race track. So what you are left with is a very comfortable SUV that takes the potholes and speed ramps very well. For the kind of driving that most of us do most of the time, it’s quite good.

Power is derived from the single-speed 150kW electric motor. This puts out 204PS and 255Nm of torque, so there is certainly no shortage of power. The top speed is limited to 167 km/h. The Niro EV’s 0-100 km/h time is a brisk 7.8 seconds.

What is the range?

The first generation of the e-Niro had excellent efficiency, and the updated Niro EV is no exception. The battery is 64.8kWh usable. This gives a WLTP range figure of 463km. In testing during the week, we were achieving this figure. However, a long motorway journey at full speed in winter will see this figure drop down to about 300km. For us, in general driving, this is a solid 400km range car.

In terms of charging, the Niro fairs well. It’s certainly not market leading, but it will satisfy most people in Ireland, especially as we wait for high-powered chargers to be fully rolled out. The Kia can go up to 11kW on AC. An overnight charge at home will easily get you from 0% back up to full. On DC, the Niro goes up to 80kW, which is a little underwhelming with the likes of the iD.4 going up to around 135kW. However, the Kia has a good charging curve and is quite efficient, so you’re getting more miles out of the energy you put back in.

Which Niro EV should I buy?

May as well go for the K4

The entry-level Niro hybrid starts off at €37,700. The Plug-in hybrid starts off at €39,700, and the fully electric Niro EV starts off at €41,775.00 If you move up from the K3 spec to the K4 then you pay €44,990. Choosing between these two specs is a matter of personal taste. For us, the monthly repayment wouldn’t be that much different so we probably would take it on.

For us, the fully electric is the most impressive option. The price difference is not that big once you put a few options on the hybrids. Considering the range and efficiency of the EV, your average Irish driver will be charging only once every ten days. With the price of Petrol and Diesel these days, you will notice significant savings on fuel costs. Put that with the savings on maintenance and you will not be long making back the price difference.

Is the Niro EV safe?

High level of safety features, despite the 4 star rating

The Niro EV received 4 stars out of 5 in the Euro NCAP safety tests. It received 91% for adult safety, 85% for child occupants and 75% for vulnerable road users. The Niro fell a bit short on Safety Assist at 60%.

However, do not be alarmed as the Niro offers a whole host of safety features including multiple airbags, emergency lane keeping, forward collision avoidance, Driver Awareness Warning and Belt pretensioners. One main reason cited was that ‘the camera-based traffic sign recognition system did not meet Euro NCAP’s requirements and was not rewarded.

Verdict 👀

The Niro EV offers an excellent range with a solid 400km real-world offering. With just over 200hp you will not be left short when overtaking or merging lanes on the motorway. A very high level of spec comes as standard, yet it still comes in cheap enough to qualify for the grant.

The Vehicle-to-Load functionality allows you to plug in various appliances and draw power back out of the battery. You can boil a kettle, run a bouncy castle, or even use your car as a mobile power source for a hedge trimmer in hard-to-reach places!

The Niro EV is an excellent all-rounder. It’s very difficult to find fault. It is comfortable, as fast as it needs to be, has excellent range, updated modern appearance, and it all comes in at a very reasonable price. The Kia offers a whole lot of spec at a price much lower than some of its premium-branded competition.

Spec Check ⚙️

Kia Niro

Engine

Fully electric

Power

150kW, 204PS

Torque

255Nm

0-100km/h

7.8 seconds

Top Speed

167 km/h

Transmission

All electric single speed

CO2

0g/km

Luggage Capacity

475 litres, 1,392 with seats folded down

Price as tested

From €41,775 incl. grants

For more information, visit www.kia.ie

 

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