The new Kia Niro EV remains true to itself: classic, well thought out and practical. However, there is no technical advantage over the predecessor. Is that enough to justify the price?
No one complained about the VW Golf: the third generation, which was presented in 1991, was completely new in terms of appearance. Underneath that, however, the Golf III was little more than a major technical upgrade, despite the VR6 and TDI. Nobody noticed.
More than 30 years later, the Kia Niro EV competes with the Volkswagen ID.3 in the compact class. Kia, critics claim, is not innovative enough and is a modern electric car on paper. We can confirm: Yes, the Niro EV is not revolutionary. And no, that’s not a problem, because Kia does a great job every day. The only downside is the price. It starts at 47,590 euros.
Let’s be real: Not everyone wants to attract attention with their electric car. Tesla is still a statement in urban housing. Kia Niro is the opposite of this: the combination of a compact car, a station wagon raised to 1.56 meters and the wheel covers seem arbitrary. This is what makes him popular with many customers. It’s an electric car for living – and for living comfortably.
The fact that the driver’s seat reclines when riding and moves straight forward when seated is a sign of comfort and convenience. No one needs it. Like the electrical trunk cover. It’s good though. You sit upright, but not as high as in a real SUV. The available space has increased. The exterior length is now 4.42 meters (previously: 4.35 m) and the width is 1.83 meters (1.81 m). The interior design is more realistic than before, and the smooth curve of the cockpit display is reminiscent of the BMW i4. However, the precursor differences are not sharp. why? Anyone who has ever driven an electric car from the Hyundai Motor Group will immediately find their way.
A standard feature is the setting of the recovery rates via the steering wheel paddles: when braking, the driver can choose between a jump without resistance and a significant deceleration. Or he leaves the delay on automatic setting – to activate please pull both rockets at the same time. That works well, even if Mercedes is now proving how it can be done more intuitively and perfectly.
Steering is light as usual, but lacks pronounced feedback. No games please. The tendency to roll when cornering also underlines the claim of having an everyday car that should be safe and easy to drive. There are no tests.
Back to the details: Kia has equipped the Niro EV with various charging outputs. The list is long. There are several USB ports on the center console. There are also some installed on the backrests of the front seats. Tablets can be connected here, for example, which is a real thing for the entertainment of children in the back seats of Scandinavian families (even adults can have a good time here). A 220 volt socket is located in the center of the rear seat bench.
But the real highlight is V2D. “Car-to-device” is what Kia calls the option to draw power from the front charging port (nose loader!). Up to three kilowatts of power can be supplied through a standard adapter. You won’t find that in the Volkswagen ID.3 or the Renault Megane.
Low charging performance – power consumption too
As much as something comes out of the Niro EV, what goes in is poor by today’s standards: It takes 45 minutes to charge from ten to 80 percent on a direct current (DC) column. So the average C level is less than 1 and the peak power according to Close 82 kW (AC side: eleven kW as standard).
This is tired compared to other electric cars in this segment, and if you look at the Kia EV6, you start to think: the EV6 is available from 46,990 euros. Then it has worse equipment and has an energy content of only 58 instead of 64.8 kWh of Niro. But everyone knows how fast the EV6 can charge, i.e. in this configuration up to 175 kW.
On the positive side is the Niro EV’s relatively cheap energy consumption. For us it was an average of 17.7 kWh/100 km. On the road at the recommended speed, the on-board computer showed 23.4 kWh/100 km. In city traffic it flows was less than 11.7 kWh. And on the ground tour, consumption was 15.8 kWh/100 km. The Niro EV is economical, though not as record-breaking as the Hyundai Ur-Ioniq; to achieve its values, it would have to have a smaller frontal area for better aerodynamics.
Translated into range, that’s an average of 366 km, and the range ranges from a low of 277 km to 554 km under ideal conditions. The journey is always interesting. Longer distances are also possible with controllable charging capacity. You just need patience. Other electric car drivers also need it, who nervously watch the display in the queue while queuing and hope that space will soon clear up.
Stable rather than exciting
That doesn’t change the generally positive opinion that the Kia Niro EV is taking off. He is a solid and mature offering. Kia does not rely on greatness, but on the practice of life, and she does it well. It is economical and well thought out. Potential buyers should know that the charging capacity is not high – so the Niro EV is not suitable for every driving profile.
It’s just not cheap. The market is currently skewed: cheaper versions of the Volkswagen ID.3 and Renault Megane are hard to find in the compact segment. Kia doesn’t even make special offers on base equipment and – unlike the Niro HEV and PHEV – doesn’t offer any entry-level variants. Up or hop. Perhaps this is still the result of the semiconductor crisis: we use the chips that we have in high-performance electric vehicles. This is the current slogan for almost all manufacturers.
In addition, traction battery cells are also in high demand. A slowing global economy will probably change that in the next two years. As of today, however, Kia Niro customers and competitors have to bite the bullet and pay or do without them altogether. After all, all Niro EVs meet the requirements of company car tax, which is reduced to a quarter of the usual percentage. If the lease rate is right and you like Kia, there’s nothing wrong with this electric car made for the experience.
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