Kia Niro EV Premium test: the best all along the line

Kia Niro EV Premium test: the best all along the line

Launched in 2016, the Kia Niro was beginning to show the weight of years and to date, in particular with its multi-engine J Eco-Car platform. During these years, the manufacturer’s compact SUV has had the luxury of becoming a bestseller and one of the best-selling compact SUVs on French soil. But faced with ever sharper competition, it was time for the manufacturer to review its copy. The new-generation Kia Niro therefore benefits from a nice facelift, while still being offered with three powertrains: hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric.

New kia niro ev electric suv

It is in this full-electric version and in the Premium finish that we settled behind the wheel. The electric offer of the Kia Niro EV (which is therefore no longer called e-Niro) starts at €44,490 in the Motion finish, then climbs to €46,490 in the Active finish and ends at €48,090 in the Premium finish of our test.

New kia niro ev electric suv

From the basic finish, the Kia Niro EV is well equipped, with 10.25-inch digital instrumentation, an 8-inch touch screen, adaptive cruise control coupled with lane keeping assistance and assistance in traffic jams, the fatigue detector, the dual-zone air conditioning, the reversing camera and even LED lights and 17-inch rims. The intermediate finish adds connected navigation on a 10.25-inch touch screen, heated seats and steering wheel, and electrically folding mirrors. Our Premium trial version is distinguished by an electric tailgate, electric front seats, an induction charger and 18-inch wheels.

New kia niro ev electric suv

In any case, the Kia Niro EV offers an electric motor developing 204 hp for 255 Nm of torque powered by a 64.8 kWh lithium-ion battery allowing it to travel 463 km (in the WLTP cycle).

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

Ergonomics and design

The new Kia Niro EV is above all a new silhouette. The line becomes more muscular and the style asserts itself. The design of the front face adopts the latest variation of the Tiger Face specific to the new Kia. Wider than its predecessor, it now extends from the engine cover to the lower part of the front fenders. The headlamps are fitted with Full LED headlights and LED foglamps.

New kia niro ev electric suv

The imposing shield is distinguished by its dual-level design with upper and lower fairings. The electric version differs from the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions by a two-tone closed grille and exclusive side moldings. The charging socket is now located in the center of the front panel.

New kia niro ev electric suv

The Kia Niro also refines its profile, notably with a more aerodynamic C-pillar. The drag coefficient (Cx) also drops to 0.29. The design of the rims is also part of this logic. At the rear, the boomerang lights reinforce the affiliation with the new Kia EV6. Customers have a choice of nine exterior colours, three of which (Pearl White, Cityscape Green and Mineral Blue) allow the C-pillar to be painted in another colour.

New kia niro ev electric suv

The Kia Niro gains in any case 6.5 cm in length (4.42 m), 2.5 cm in width (1.83 m) and 1 cm (1.55 m) in height. The wheelbase is also longer by 2 cm (2.72 m). An interesting figure which gives this compact SUV a good habitability, in particular in the rear seats where the occupants gain legroom.

New kia niro ev electric suv

Good surprise too, the trunk gains 25 l and peaks at 475 l, not counting the 20 l of the front trunk. By lowering the seat backs, the volume even increases to 1392 l. It’s not ridiculous, especially since once is not custom, the EV version has a larger trunk than its PHEV and hybrid sisters.

New kia niro ev electric suv

A last point on the finish which takes a leap forward with material adjustments without real reproach and above all a pleasant dashboard design. The set is well finished and flatters the eye, except in the lower part. Note all the same a certain profusion of buttons which could a little disturb the neophyte.

New kia niro ev electric suv

Editor's Rating: 5 out of 5

Comfort and equipment

Ergonomics remains pleasant, however. The center console houses the seat and steering wheel heating controls, as well as the parking aids. There is also the P, R, N, D gear ratio wheel as well as the Start button which works without a key.

New kia niro ev electric suv

The central console uses the same touch strip found on the Kia EV6 or the cousin Ioniq 5. A row of commands allows you to select the menus of the interface and change the display of this strip. You can therefore access either audio and navigation shortcuts or ventilation controls. Two physical dials complete these controls for changing the temperature. Everything is easy to use, but not as easy as traditional controls, especially since it forces you to take your eyes off the road.

New kia niro ev electric suv

The double-spoke steering wheel sits well in the hand – even if we’re not fans of its slightly too chunky design – and the controls are well placed to be operated by thumbs, but the pictograms lack clarity.

New kia niro ev electric suv

The top of the dashboard accommodates two screens of 10.25 inches each, connected within a slightly curved frame, as on the EV6. The central touchscreen dedicated to infotainment has the same architecture and layout as the Ioniq 5, with lots of sub-menus. The graphics are modern, the responsiveness is correct without being exceptional and the interface is complete and dense – a little time to adapt is necessary.

New kia niro ev electric suv

Many settings are available, such as the possibility of choosing the maximum load, driver assistance, comfort options, customization of brightness or even access to Kia Live. We note however that if the matte panel offers good brightness, it is particularly sensitive to fingerprints.

New kia niro ev electric suv

The new Niro EV benefits from many other convenience features, including the Remote Parking Assistance System (RSPA) and the Bi-Directional Charging (V2L) function. Among the driving aids, there is the collision avoidance system with blind spot detection, rear traffic detection, emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control, coupled with navigation and assistance on the highway.

New kia niro ev electric suv

Navigation provides an acceptable experience. Unlike many manufacturers, here it is possible to preview the range of the vehicle in proportion to the remaining autonomy. However, we regret the absence of a “route planner” which would integrate the charging stages into the navigation route.

New kia niro ev electric suv

Finally, the digital instrumentation, carried on another 12.3-inch screen, does not revolutionize its field, but it is quite readable and easy to handle.

New kia niro ev electric suv

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

Handling and performance

According to the manufacturer, the new Niro EV has improved its behavior, with different suspension and steering settings. The rear structure has been stiffened to reduce vibrations and the ground connections have been optimized for better road holding. And indeed, once the steering wheel in hand, the progress is notable.

New kia niro ev electric suv

Noise measurement at 50 km/h

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

56dB(A)

Noise measurement at 130 km/h

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

68dB(A)

The driving modes allow you to play with the responsiveness of the accelerator and the power available. If the Eco mode does the job in town, it is above all the Normal mode which offers the best compromise. The Kia Niro EV proves good just about anywhere as long as the pace hovers in a range from “cool to a little rushed”. The direction is consistent. Suspension comfort is good, with well-damped body movements. The quietness of operation is also very pleasant.

New kia niro ev electric suv

By switching to sport mode and increasing the pace a little, the front axle becomes a little lazier, and especially the rear causes somewhat strange reactions when the asphalt is not perfectly smooth. The Kia Niro EV is able to chain the successions of turns healthily, but is more comfortable at a reasonable pace.

New kia niro ev electric suv

The regeneration is done on 4 levels, including the One-Pedal mode which allows driving only with the right pedal – except in emergency situations. The recovery on lifting the foot is then quite significant and hits a little on the kidneys of the passengers, but we appreciate this mode in a peri-urban environment.

New kia niro ev electric suv

Finally, a word on level 2 autonomous driving, which combines adaptive cruise control and a lane centering function. The function is well calibrated on the highway, with in particular useful assistance in traffic jams.

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

Autonomy and charging

DC load (max. 72 kW)

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

6.42km/min

The new Kia Niro EV is equipped with an electric motor developing 204 hp for 255 Nm of torque. It is powered by a 64.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery allowing it to travel 463 km (in the announced WLTP cycle).

New kia niro ev electric suv

For our part, we noted reasonable consumption in the city (13.2 kWh / 100 km) and on the road (17.7 kWh / 100 km). As the Niro’s appetite increases with speed, consumption rises to 23.2 kWh/100 km on the highway. The average being 15.9 kWh / 100 km, it places the electric version of the Niro among the good students of our comparison. However, it will have to do with a fairly low battery capacity and an average range measured at 374 km.

New kia niro ev electric suv

As far as charging times are concerned, the manufacturer announces 6 h 20 min to go from 0 to 100% on an 11 kW AC wall box, but 43 minutes to go from 10 to 80% on a DC fast charging station. It’s better, but not yet optimal.

The Niro EV integrates the bi-directional charging function (V2L) and is capable of towing up to 750 kg.

Strong points

  • Welcome new design.

  • Rich equipment.

  • Complete and responsive interface.

  • Improved finish.

  • Roominess and comfort on the rise.

  • Versatility on the road.

  • Consumption.

Weak points

  • Slightly cluttered ergonomics.

  • Overabundance of submenus in the interface.

  • Recessed DC load.

Conclusion

we tested we liked
Global mark

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

How does grading work?

Good almost everywhere without being excellent, the new Kia Niro EV offers a versatile, smooth and hassle-free driving experience. It pulls out of the game on essential criteria such as comfort, equipment and handling, even if this last aspect clearly lacks fun. It nevertheless compensates with a new, complete interface and above all a rich endowment from the entry level. Unfortunately the price will cool more than one, especially since the recharge time is not its strong point either.

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