The Kia Niro was unveiled at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show and appeared on the scene as a 2017 production model. The Kia Niro debuted as an all-new, compact, near midsize, urban crossover hybrid that served up a bold, athletic crossover design, combined with functionality and versatility as well as outstanding fuel economy. The Hybrid version Niro carried over into 2018 with only minor enhancements in trim level packaging. Enter the 2019 Kia Niro EV EX Premium, a purely electric 5 passenger five-door Crossover that boasts an EPA estimated range of 239 miles while delivering all the interior volume, comfort and versatility that one expects to find in a crossover and bypassing petrol refueling stations.
ALL ELECTRIC PROPULSION
The Kia EV’s power source is a transversely mounted front Permanent–Magnet synchronous AC motor that draws its energy from a 356V Liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 64.0 kWh battery. Motive force is directed to the front wheels via a one-speed direct drive transmission. Horsepower is 201 at 8,000 rpm, and torque measures 201 pound feet at 0 rpm.
The Niro features standard 100-kW DC fast-charging capability. Plugging into a 100-kW fast charger will recharge the battery pack to 80 percent in an hour. A 7.2-kW onboard charger enables recharge times on a 240-volt Level 2 power supply of of roughly 9.5 hours.
The Kia Niro is available in three forms: a conventional gasoline powered model; a PHEV hybrid; and the purely electric Niro that comes in two levels of trim. The 2019 Kia Niro all-electric crossover is available in two levels of trim: the base EX starting at $38,500 and the upscale EX Premium with a starting price of $44,000.
The Niro EV is the latest member of the Kia SUV/Crossover family adding a new dimension and serving up an aerodynamic shape that pushes styling boundaries that flows through the air with minimal resistance featuring an active air flap that opens and closes to help cool the motor as needed while decreasing drag and reducing wind noise. An all-new faux grill retains Kia’s distinctly familial tiger nose image, while blue accents, sleek lines, and an athletic silhouette are emphasized by the angular design form of available LED lighting.
Visually, the Kia Niro EV is unmistakably recognizable as a member of the Kia family, with styling cues borrowed from the larger Kia Sedona and smaller Kia Soul. In many ways, it loosely resembles a reduced version of the Sedona’s overall form, but with its own contemporary personality. The Niro doesn’t mimic other hybrids in the marketplace – it features its own appealing design, delivering a strong and athletic appearance that is sculpted and modern.
COMFORT, CONVENIENCE and CONNECTIVITY
Despite the fact that the Kia Niro is an entry level electric vehicle, its more than adequate range, ample rear seat space accommodation as well as cargo room
makes this an excellent source of alternative transportation that surpasses many of its competitors in practicality and desirability.
The EX Premium model adds an 8-inch Touch-screen Info Display, a Harmon/Kardon® Premium Audio System, LED rear combination lights, a power sunroof and leather seat trim with ventilated front seats to the base EX model.
The Niro provides a comfortable and spacious cabin for five occupants and their gear, while delivering a full complement of driver assistance features. Standard content includes passive entry with push-button start, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, automatic climate control (single zone), and a bunch of driver aids such as adaptive cruise control, lane-centering steering assist, and blind spot warning.
My test 2019 Kia Niro EV was in EX Premium trim. The exterior wore a Platinum Graphite finish while the interior was executed in Charcoal tones. The base sticker read $44,400 while the addition of the Cold Weather Package, EX Premium Launch Package, cargo mat, net, carpeted floor mats and inland freight and handling charge kicked the final tally up to $47,155 before factoring in any state or federal tax credits where applicable. The Niro EV also qualifies for single occupant HOV lane eligibility in select states.
The 2019 Kia Niro EV Is an outstanding Entry-Level Electric crossover. It’s not sporty in the traditional sense, but is satisfying and fun to drive. Its range is impressive (depending on one’s driving style) making it possible to hit the road, taking advantage of the ever-increasing number of public charging stations while eliminating range anxiety. The paddle shifters and regenerative braking allows for a choice between automatic conventionality by making a selection on the rotary shifter dial and a more engaging one-pedal driving technique.
In the final analysis, the 2019 Kia Niro EV EX Premium is an eye-pleasing, compact, electric crossover, that is not only versatile and practical, it is also one of the most efficient electric vehicles available in today’s marketplace.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 Kia Niro EV EX Premium
Base Price: $44,000.
Price as Tested: $47,155.
Motor Type and Size: Permanent – Magnet synchronous AC / Battery: 356V Liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 64.0 kWh
Horsepower (bhp): 201 @ 8,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 291 @ 0 rpm
Transmission: 1-speed direct-drive
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front motor / Front-wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front -Independent MacPherson strut with gas twin-tube shocks and stabilizer bar.
Rear – Independent Multilink with gas twin-tube shocks.
Brakes: Power-assisted Active Hydraulic Boost system four wheel discs (vented front) with regenerative braking with motor polarity reversal, ABS, ESC and EBD. Steering wheel mounted paddles.
Tires: Michelin MXV4 215/55 R17 94V mounted on 5- geo spoke machine face alloy wheels, with painted inners and spare tire mobility kit.
Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Length Overall: 172.2 inches
Width: 71.1 inches
Height: 61.8 inches
Curb Weight: 3,919 lbs.
Turning Circle: 17.4 ft.
EPA Mileage Estimates: 112 MPGe – 123 mpg city / 102 mpg highway 30 kW hours per 100 miles.
Drag Coefficient: 0.29
0 – 60 mph: 6.5 seconds – Top Speed=108 electronically limited
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