Review: 2021 Kia Niro EV

Posted by Motorama in Vehicle Reviews

The 2021 Kia Niro is the first Kia available in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric variant. That makes it Kia's first step in the world of alternative fuel and they don't skimp on the options they offer. We've had a look at the hybrid, now let's explore the EV.

Initial Impression

Kia goes electric and we like it! The Niro is a good looking hatchback and with the innovative powertrain your dependance on fossil fuels are a thing of the past. In essence it's the same car as the Kia Niro Hybrid, but though it looks the same, the driving experience is completely different.

Inside, the Kia Niro gives you advanced connectivity, combined with of comfort and versatility, plus a range of intuitive technology and features. It looks the part, with ample road presence and cool styling. The Niro boosts the well known 'tiger nose' grill in closed off version and recognisable headlights from other models in the family.


Driveability

No numbers on how many litres the engine is or what kind of gearbox the Niro is fitted with, because this is an electric vehicle. Instead we talk about 455km 'pure electric range' coming from the 64kWh battery that charges 0-80% in just 53mins with a 100kw DC charger. The whisper-quiet 'permanent magnet synchronous motor' - that's a mouth full - delivers 150kW of power and 395Nm of torque. Instantly.

The fun starts when you start toggling between the different driving modes, starting from the highly efficient Eco+, to Eco, Normal and the more dynamic Sport. Especially in the latter you can feel the electric power at any moment. It really gives you a kick. This is also thanks to the single speed transmission (reduction gear), delivering rotational force of the motor to the front wheels. Sounds complicated, but simply means it's a FWD that doesn't need to shift gears and always has ample power to propel you forward.

Another nifty trick is done by pressing and holding the left side steering wheel paddle while the car is coasting, as this will decelerate the Niro. This can be used to bring the Niro to a complete stop by continuing to hold the paddle in. ANCAP recently awarded the new Kia Niro a maximum five-star safety rating, so you know you're in safe hands.

Liveability

Starting in the drivers seat, the Niro’s driving position is quite practical, with a clear view of the widescreen digital instrument cluster from the very comfortable seat. All Niro models come equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are easy to use via the large 10.25-inch digital touchscreen. The in-built navigation system also contains information on nearby charge stations so that you can easily find places to charge your Niro on the go.

Next to the infotainment screen the Niro EV is equiped with a 7” Supervision cluster that shows essential functions such as charge cable connection indicator and low battery warning. It also boosts a rotary shift dial on its floating centre console that frees up space in the cockpit.

Moving to the back seat, you'll see that there is enough space for another two adults, but they shouldn't be too tall. The Niro is a compact car after all, but you don't have to worry not being able to fit your passengers. This could also include your kids, who's seats are easy to fit due to the two ISOFIX mounting points and three top tethers. If not carrying people, there's enough space for all your cargo thanks to the 60:40 split fold and low rear bumper and tailgate allowing for a low load height. The cargo area is good for this size car: 410 litres in total and a space-saver tyre in the boot.

Standard safety equipment on all models includes seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking, radar cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, individual tyre pressure monitors, lead-vehicle departure alert (except EV models), and a rear camera and sensors. Next to that the Hybrid Niro is fitted with halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloys, LED rear lighting, roof rails, auto headlights, auto wipers, auto high-beam lights and a leather steering wheel.

Cost

There are three variants in the 2021 Kia Niro range, each available in a S and Sport variant, the latter being the more expensive, better equipped version.

The Kia Niro Hybrid S starts just under $42k drive-away, while the Kia Niro Hybrid Sport sits just under the $46k mark.

The Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid S starts adds $7000 to the price of the equivalent hybrid, staying below $50k, while the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Sport starts around $54k drive-away.

The Kia Niro Electric S starts sets you back around $67k drive-away, while the top-level Kia Niro Electric Sport sits just above $70k.

Every variant in the range is covered by Kia’s seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, along with seven-year roadside assist and capped-price servicing. With servicing, the Niro needs to visit the workshop every 15,000km (or 12 months), and will cost $3000 over these seven years.

Conclusion

With the Niro Kia has entered the market for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles all in one go! It's a quirky, funky car that has plenty of power for around town in all three versions. At the same time, is super capable on a long road trip without getting range anxiety. It's passenger comfort for adults and kids is exceptional, and with the latest safety tech, you know there isn't a safer car to be in.

Interested in a test drive?

Motorama Kia is the place to be - so make sure you come and see the Motorama Kia team in Moorooka or Browns Plains.


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