2020 Kia Niro EV
Updated: Mar 16
This week we are reviewing the 2020 KIA Niro EV. Our vehicle was assembled at the Hwaseong, Gyeonggi plant in South Korea and has an MSRP of 56405.00 CAD before incentives.
Fun Factor: 8
Can it Family: 7
City Cruising: 10
Back in the days where auto shows were not virtual, we had the chance of trying out the Niro Hybrid at the Montreal Auto Show, and it was a pleasant experience. At the time, the electric version was just presented; we were looking forward to the day we'd be able to test it. The day came at last, right at the beginning of our Canadian winter. People often assume that an EV vehicle would not have sufficient range during winter. Well, we were able to reproduce the announced 385 km range even when temperatures flirted with the freezing point. We like to challenge ourselves and thought it would be an exciting exercise to get out of the city and drive to a cabin, a 700 km round trip, including all stops while charging as little as possible on public chargers. To make this round trip even more cost-efficient, we limited our charging budget to $20 on those chargers, and if you include the total cost of charging the vehicle at our home for the week, we add another $12. If we had chosen a traditional ICE vehicle for this round trip with an average fuel economy of 8L/100km, that would have cost upwards of $70 in the best possible conditions.
In the end, we only used $12.35 of our charging budget as we were able to charge on a regular wall outlet, once at the cabin. While it does take an enormous amount of time, we didn't mind because we didn't need to drive anywhere else. The next day, it was about 80% charged, with a 320 km range; it was enough to go back home. We managed to drive efficiently back home through a winter storm without needing to stop on the way, and we still had 10% of power to spare when arriving back home. We noticed that we would deplete our battery quicker by driving 120km/h or above and require a charging stop. Halfway through our journey, we felt no rush and just reduced our speed to 105km/h and made it back home with 10% to spare. The beauty in all of that is that the next morning the Niro would be fully charged overnight, ready for another road trip. No gas station stop is needed.
The Niro EV range does not disappoint, nor does its performance; with an electric engine producing 201hp and 291 lb/ft of torque, it propels to 100km/h almost as fast as some hot hatches. It might not handle like one with its light steering wheel, but that's not its mission. It's an efficient family hauler that is quick on its feet. Our family of 5 appreciated the quietness of the cabin, resulting in enjoyable conversations with our kids. Naturally, the child sitting in the middle did not enjoy the middle seat's bolstering as it felt hard and is more suited for shorter distances. The trunk lip is quite low, making it easy to get things in and out of the trunk. A medium-sized stroller would fit best inside the Niro; larger stroller such as jogging strollers will eat up most of the trunk space.
We saw the average electric consumption during our week with the KIA Niro was 19.9 kWh/100km. In the city, the average usage was 18.3 kWh/100km, and, on the HWY, the average was 22.2 kWh/100km. During our test, the temperatures oscillated between +4 and -10c. Kia announces a combined usage of 18.6 kWh/100km, 17 kWh/100 for the city and 20.6 kWh for the HWY.
On HWY, the Niro is relaxing to drive thanks to the Lane Follow Assist combined with the cruise control. These features provide a sense of autonomous driving we have only seen with luxury brands. At first, we were hesitant as these features often only work as good as the weather condition permit them in ideal conditions. We trusted the Niro so much that we even had our hands off the steering wheel for a good 3 minutes without requiring any intervention.
Now to the sound system, the Niro offers a wonderful 8-speaker sound system from Harman Kardon that complements the lack of engine noise and vibrations nicely. The infotainment's 10.25-inch multimedia system is user-friendly and integrates Apple Car Play and Android Auto. You can split the screen also to see and change your radio station or other information. We found the interior cluttered with buttons; while the location of many made sense, the opposite is true for the rest of them.
We had to play around a little to install the car seat because the latches are slightly hidden underneath the backbench. The door opens wide enough to facilitate getting a forward-facing car seat the vehicle. Even though the latches are hidden, the installation was simple. The installation of an infant car seat was more complex because the Isofix ports are harder to find, and there is less space to enter the car to install the seat tightly. A maximum of 2 car seat fit in the Niro. Smaller children will not have any difficulties getting inside the Niro, door handles are within reach, and the doors' weight makes it easy for them to manipulate. Once inside, they can grab the belt buckle and buckle up without too much trouble.
Naturally, like most EVs, the Niro shines in the city while everyone is burning fuel stuck in traffic with vibrations from the engine; the Niro EV is calming and quiet. It felt satisfying to know that either by coasting to a stop or braking, the regenerative braking would recuperate some of the energy needed to accelerate again. All in all, the Niro is a fantastic choice for families in urban environments and has more than enough range to go on vacation with the family.
Why would we buy the KIA Niro EV, or what we liked about it? The standard warranty on the battery is 8 years/150 000km in Canada. Enough seating capacity for a family, the amount of security features available is astonishing for the price, fun to drive.
Why would we not buy the KIA Niro EV, or what we did not like about it? The number of trims currently available, the fact that the most efficient heating system is only offered in the highest trim, too many buttons, at this price you still need to open your trunk latch yourself it's not automated.
KIA has lent us this vehicle one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with KIA Canada. The above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the car referred above.