The Kia Niro is available now in two flavors — hybrid and plug-in hybrid. A third version — the fully electric one everyone has been waiting for — is coming to North America early in 2019. The Niro EV will come with a 64 kWh lithium polymer battery and an EPA range rated at 239 miles. Below are the rest of the basic specifications.
- 201-horsepower electric motor with 291 lb.-ft. of torque
- Charging protocol changed to CCS and battery can now charge at 100kW
- Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge is standard equipment – approximately 100-mile recharge in 30 minutes or 80 percent total battery capacity in 75 minutes
- Level 2 (240v) at 7.2 kWh charger needs approximately 9.5 hours for a full charge
Kia has not yet announced final pricing for the 100% electric version of the Niro, but the company says it will come in two trim levels — EX and EX Premium. The EX version comes with lots of goodies as standard equipment:
- 7-inch color touchscreen with rear view monitor and parking guidance
- 6-speaker audio system (AM/FM/SiriusXM) with USB input
- Apple CarPlay9 and Android Auto
- Standard wireless smart phone charging
- Bluetooth wireless connectivity with voice recognition
- 7 airbags (dual front advanced air bags, dual front seat-mounted side air bags, side curtain air bags with rollover sensor, driver’s side knee air bag)
- Vehicle Safety Systems
- Antilock braking
- Traction control
- Electronic stability control
- Hill-start assist control
- Tire pressure monitoring system
- “Kia Drive Wise” Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems
- Forward Collision Warning
- Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist
- Lane Departure Warning
- Lane Keeping Assist
- Blind Spot Collision Warning
- Driver Attention Warning
- Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go
- Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning
- Parking Distance Warning – Forward and Reverse (available)
Pop for the EX Premium and get:
- 8-inch color navigation19 touchscreen
- Power tilt/slide sunroof
- LED headlamps
- 8-speaker Harman/Kardon20 premium audio system with external amplifier and subwoofer
- Auto-dimming mirror with Homelink
- Heated steering wheel
- LED interior lighting
- Mood lighting
- Parking distance warning – forward and reverse
- Deluxe scuff plate
The Kia Niro EV has many driver selectable driving and regenerative braking modes.
- Four drive modes — Eco, Normal, Sport and Eco+ — that automatically adjust regenerative braking level, air conditioning and heating settings, and even set speed limits to help manage operating efficiency.
- Smart regenerative braking operated via paddle shifters provides drivers the ability to slow the car and capture kinetic energy, returning energy to the battery and adding extra range. Drivers can choose from four regen braking levels (0 to 3) depending on how aggressive drivers want the regen effort and energy efficiency (range) needs.
- Brake and Hold System feature allows regen paddle shifter to bring the car to a full stop, adding energy to the battery that would be lost using normal braking.
- Smart Regen System adjusts the regenerative braking level based on a vehicle being detected in front of the Niro EV and can create smoother coast-down driving, especially when descending a steep road.
- Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the instrument cluster that helps to keep the driver aware of real-time power distribution based on accelerator pedal input.
Kia is pretty excited about the sound the Niro EV makes. Here’s what it has to say in its press release. Make of it what you will:
“Part of the great fun of EV ownership is the futuristic aspect of the vehicle you’re driving. The Niro EV is not only a blast because of its powerful and torquey motor, but it also makes a fantastic techy whirring noise when moving that evokes speedy sci-fi craft. One early tester confessed to driving the car in parking garages with the windows down just for the pleasure of hearing the motor.
“The sound, though, is actually produced by the Pedestrian Warning System, a speaker and controller assembly mounted behind the front bumper. Without it, the Niro EV would be silent, possibly very cool, but which some consider a potential hazard to pedestrians. So, the car makes its fantastic futuristic whir so everyone knows it’s coming. While we apologize to those who wanted to believe they really were piloting an earth-bound spaceship, they can take comfort in the knowledge that the Niro EV is still a very sophisticated machine.”
The Niro EV features an advanced telematics system that allows the owner to monitor and control a number of important vehicle functions remotely.
- Notifications of battery and charging status
- Real-time charging station update
- Scheduled charging
- Panic notifications – the vehicle will send a notification to the server if the panic alarm is triggered and the system dials 911 emergency services, provides the car position via GPS, and opens a live microphone so that emergency workers can communicate with the vehicle occupants
- “Send-to-Car” points of interest and waypoints — owners will be able to plan a road trip with waypoints and send it to the vehicle’s navigation system
- Pre-condition the vehicle cabin temperature prior to use
Subject to final pricing, the Kia Niro EV should tick a lot of boxes for people interested in an electric crossover. It’s stylish, roomy, and should be great fun to drive. Kia and corporate cousin Hyundai are offering electric cars that are legitimate competitors, while most other companies are only talking about doing so. We have requested the use of a Kia Niro EV for a more in-depth report and expect to share that with you closer to the actual on-sale date. Stay tuned.