2019 Kia Niro EV Review

Written by Anqoinette Crosby

With its intriguing sci-fi styling, the 2019 Kia Niro EV provides everything green-conscious drivers need to fit into their busy lifestyles, which includes commuting to work, running errands around town and even driving out-of-town for a weekend trip. All easily doable with Kia’s first all new small electric SUV.


The Niro EV comes with a big battery for an estimated 239 miles of driving range on a single charge. Plus, the Niro EV has the ability to charge at up to 100 kw on a DC fast charger. Thankfully, when I needed to charge the Niro while out shopping one day, it wasn’t hard to find a public EV charging station in the District. These charging stations are sprouting up all over in order to meet the rapid growth and popularity of electric vehicles.


The Niro EV joins Kia’s notable green car line-up which already includes a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. The EV comes in two trim levels: EX and EX Premium and seats five in an attractively modern cabin punctuated with cool blue-green accents throughout.


The Kia’s raised seating position improves your view of the road, while well-padded seats make your travel time inside the EV less tiresome. The space inside the spunky SUV is quite roomy and I liked the number of cupholders and compartments inside the cabin. There’s also a good amount of cargo space with standard 60/40 split-folding rear seats. The real estate adds up to 19.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 54.5 cubic feet when they’re folded flat.


A sterling roster of standard features are found on the Kia which include an infotainment system with a seven-inch touch screen, a USB port, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and six speakers. Bluetooth, voice recognition, and satellite radio are there too. Among the bevy of standard driver aids are lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control and forward emergency braking.


My tester Premium grade added leather heated and cooled front seats, a sunroof, LED head-and tail lights, an eight-inch center touchscreen and Harman Kardon stereo system.


Propulsion is provided by a 201 horsepower electric motor driving the front wheels, which is powered by a 64-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack. The Niro comes standard with a CCS DC fast-charging setup, which can refill the battery to 80 percent of capacity in 75 minutes or add 100 miles of range in just 30 minutes which makes taking  your EV on a longer journey effortless. If you find yourself with a depleted battery, it’ll take about 9.5 hours using a 240-volt Level 2 charger to replenish it.


The Niro EV drives remarkably well. A rotary-dial controller on the center console is used to engage Drive. The Kia gives you various drive modes to choose from: Normal, Eco, Eco Plus and my personal favorite for fun driving, Sport mode.


From the moment you push the button to switch it on, driving the Niro EV feels quiet, clean and smart. There are no fumes nor vibrations. While there is also no engine growl, Kia designers did add a cool element. The Niro EV makes this fantastic futuristic whir to let everyone know it’s coming. If it were completely silent it could be hazardous. The sound is produced by the pedestrian warning system mounted behind the front bumper.


As for fuel economy, the 2019 Kia Niro EV is rated at a miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) of 123 city, 102 highway and 112 combined.


Pricing starts at $38,500.

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