New Kia Niro EV is a winner in its class. Irish Compact Crossover/SUV of the Year 2023.
New Kia Niro EV is a winner in its class.
Voted Compact Crossover/SUV of the Year 2023, the second generation Kia Niro is very much a family-friendly compact crossover that comes as a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric car. While the name has changed from e-Niro to Niro EV, the latest model has a few similarities to its predecessor. Both have a 201bhp electric motor driving the front wheels, fed by a 64.8kWh (usable capacity) battery, but the areas which did need improvement: design, infotainment and refinement have all seen huge enhancements. The new Niro EV sits on the new Hyundai-Kia K3 platform, and the body shell makes use of a greater proportion of high strength steel in its construction, which means it’s one percent stiffer, yet 20.3 kilos lighter, and its physically larger than its e-Niro predecessor. In fact, the body has grown 65mm in length, 10mm in width, and 10mm in height.
Stylish Exterior Design.
The new Niro EV is far more attractive than the old one. It now has sharper, bolder lines, and the two-tiered front end is elegant and distinctive. The second generation Niro EV has a stylish exterior design with a fresh and expressive sculpted body shape, along with head-turning looks. Its unique EV-only design features a matt and glossy two-tone hexagonal grille, with a wide body-coloured bumper design, incorporating a central charging point, as well as glossy Steel Gray body cladding for added character, and a Steel Gray roof pillar. Hints of the new Sportage are also obvious from certain angles – and that can only be a good thing. The Niro EV has a practically-sized boot with an extra 20-litres of space under the bonnet, and this new generation Niro can even tow a 750kg trailer.
The inside of the cabin has similarities with Kia’s flagship electric car, the EV6, The dashboard has a very similar layout to its big sibling, and it gets the same twin spoke steering wheel and the same dual-purpose touch panel; at the press of a button, the keys and physical dials alternate between controlling either the climate or infotainment functions. It’s very slick, and intuitive – much like the 10.25-inch infotainment system sitting above it. The menus are logical, the loading times are quick, and the graphics are clear.
Trim Options: K3 & K4.
There are two trim variants in the new Niro EV: K3 and K4, with a comprehensive list of standard equipment common to both variants. Upgrading to K4 trim will add grey two-tone leather upholstery, front passenger Premium Relaxation Seats, powered driver and passenger seats with electric lumbar support, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, and a Smart Power Tailgate with adjustable height functionality.
My test car was a Niro EV K4 which was finished in Mineral Blue metallic paintwork. With 255Nm of instant torque available from a standing start, the Niro EV can complete a 0-100km/h sprint in 7.8-seconds, and it can reach a top speed of 167km/h(where permitted). There are three drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport) so drivers can select the mode that suits their driving style. When connected to a suitable DC fast-charger, the Niro EV can go from 10-80% charge in just 43 minutes, and the car comes with a standard CCS charging port for added convenience. Acceleration feels sprightly, and the Niro EV pulls well when you put your foot down at low speeds. The Niro EV has a regenerative braking system, which recovers energy that would otherwise be wasted when you apply the brakes, and uses it to top up the battery. There are paddles behind the wheel to adjust the level to suit your tastes, the more rapidly it slows the car down, the more power is returned to the battery. In the strongest setting, you won’t need to use the brake pedal very often, although when you do you’ll find it less grabby and more predictable. When it comes to ride, it’s clear that comfort has been prioritised over sporty handling. With its balanced suspension setup to combat body roll and bumps in the road, you’ll find the Niro works well around town. Slower speed bumps that may have otherwise unsettled the car don’t have an effect. There are large door mirrors, a well-sized rear mirror and limited blind spots. The steering is nice and light and is responsive at higher speeds, so getting around is simple. Kia has fitted the new Niro with more insulation and sound-deadening than the previous model, and that means motorway driving is much quieter than before. The Niro is also fitted with an impressive amount of assistance systems as standard in order to make the overall driving experience simpler and safer too. Lane keep assist, lane follow assist, forward collision assist, smart cruise control, and blind-spot detection are all fitted as standard.
Verdict & Pricing.
The substantial changes made to the new Niro EV make it a much more interesting crossover than before, but thankfully Kia hasn’t changed the fundamentals too much. The old e-Niro was an efficient and impressive electric car, so this new one just needed to improve on that. It’s just as quick as before, with more comfort and refinement, and is extremely easy to drive. Thanks to the efficiency of the Niro EV, it has a range of up to 460km on a single charge, and there aren’t many rivals who can match its range or price, nor can they rival Kia’s comprehensive 7-year/150,000km warranty. The Niro EV K3 and K4 are priced at €41,775 and €44,990 respectively – inclusive of an SEAI grant of €5,000 and VRT relief for private customers (where applicable).
Visit www.kia.com for further information.