The Car Connection Kia Niro EV Overview
The 2020 Kia Niro EV is a small, fully electric crossover. It shares much with the Niro hybrid and Niro Plug-In Hybrid.
While those other two models offer a more upright-shaped alternative to the Toyota Prius and the Hyundai Ioniq, which shares some underpinnings with the Kia, the Niro EV is an alternative to the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Nissan Leaf, and Hyundai Kona Electric.
The Niro EV was new for the 2019 model year. For 2020, the model received larger infotainment touch screens and some trim changes to the front and rear appearance.
MORE; Read our 2020 Kia Niro EV full review
The new Kia Niro EV
The Niro EV’s appearance is unremarkable, and it fits right in alongside any number of other small carlike crossovers. On the other hand, its packaging is a strength, and it’s efficient and practical to the max.
The Niro EV is effectively a small hatchback car, with a taller roof allowing easier entry and exit, as well as more space for people and cargo. On the outside, a tease of rubberized cladding added at the corners and around the wheel wells. Inside, rear seats flip forward, nearly flat for added cargo, and there’s reasonably good back seat space for two adults. Front seats aren’t up to the standards of other small crossovers, though.
The other big selling point for the Niro EV is how far it can go on a charge. With a rated range of 239 miles from its 64-kilowatt-hour battery pack, mostly mounted under the passenger floor—and, from our experience, a real-world range that can meet or exceed that—the Niro EV offers more flexibility than some other affordable electric cars. It offers CCS DC fast charging—for an 80% charge in just 54 minutes—or easy overnight charging on 240-volt Level 2.
Perky performance is the other strength for the Niro EV. Its electric motor drives the front wheels and makes 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque and offers strong acceleration from a start or for highway passing. Regenerative braking is offered in three steps, allowing drivers the choice from gentle coasting to aggressive recuperation in which you won’t need to use the brake pedal as much. What’s missing from the Niro EV is a lot of finesse in its ride and handling; some might also notice road and wind noise in the absence of an engine.
The Niro EV now offers 8.0-inch touch screen infotainment in the EX version and a 10.3-inch system with navigation in the EX Premium. The latter also upgrades to Harman Kardon premium audio.