2020 Kia Niro EV



Like many carmakers these days, Kia has added to its Niro small wagon model a pure electric powered version. Other Niro models available are a hybrid which has a gas engine and or electric motor or a plug in hybrid with more batteries and a longer electric powered range. With this new sub model, it has 201 horsepower electric powerplant tied to a gearless transmission. Fully charged the range is 239 miles before another recharging is necessary. And like all electric vehicles, power is instantly available.

The Niro’s styling, as a result of the electric motivation, has been changed on this sub-model. Since no radiator is needed to cool a gas engine, the grille is covered up. Obviously, the Niro has 4 doors and a hatchback and is taller than a regular sedan, but is treated as a small wagon rather than an SUV. Nevertheless, with a rear spoiler, roof racks, 17-inch wheels, and nice proportions, it is a reasonably attractive vehicle.

With the key on you and as you approach the car, the side mirrors pop open and the door can be opened. With a push of a start button, you are ready to take off in peace and quiet. On our upscale model, it had leather seats with some color piping highlights. A 7-inch touch and colorful screen is in the center of the dash with lots of additional buttons and dials below for the radio and the climate system. And as with many, a smart phone can be tied into the screen. In reverse gear, the screen shows what is behind the vehicle. Interestingly, the center console area can be used for storage or with a press of a button a cupholder.

But certainly with this car, the information in the dashpod is more entertaining and more important because it shows the battery status, i.e. charging and discharging, range, and such. Interestingly when braking or going downhill, the batteries are charged to increase range. Paddles behind the steering wheel can be used to generate more charging when going downhill.

The back seats provide plenty of headroom and a good amount of legroom. Two air vents are available on the back of the center console. An armrest with two cupholders is also available. Under the hatchback is a medium sized storage area, and, of course, the rear seat backs are split 60/40 and can be easily dropped for carrying bulky items.

On the road you are greeted with almost total silence with the operation of the electric motor. Acceleration is very quick with a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds. The automatic transmission shifts without detection. The ride is generally absorbing without being too loose in the corners or sharp turns. Lots of safety systems regarding lane changes, collision avoidance, blind spot detection, and such are available.

Two other major benefits with this model should not be forgotten. Although the base price starts at about $39,000, since it is an electric vehicle, a $7,500 federal tax credit is available for those who qualify. Added to that benefit, metered and airport parking in Hawaii is free, and a single person can drive in the HOV lane. And since it is a Kia, there is a 100,000 mile/10 year powertrain warranty, and a 60,000 mile/5 year general warranty.

So if quiet and fast action is of interest, this model of the Niro provides a good choice. With the federal tax credit, the price becomes more reasonable.

Tech Specs
Model: electric powered, 4 door compact wagon, 5 passenger.
Price: $38,500 as tested $39,805.
Powertrain: electronic motor 201 horsepower, gearless automatic transmission.
Performance: 0-60: 6.5 seconds. Fuel Mileage Equivalent: 105 mpg. Range before recharging: 239 miles.
High Beams: Quiet and speedy. Good range before recharging. Great warranty.
Low Beam: As with many electric vehicles the price is high, but if you qualify for a tax credit, it is more reasonable.

Car courtesy of Aloha Kia