- Great feature set
- Clear, quick infotainment
- Versatile interior
- Skimpy front seats
- Ride quality
- Lacking in the details for $45,000
The 2022 Kia Niro EV is a pragmatic entry point to all-electric motoring, with a roomy layout and long driving range.
What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Kia Niro EV? What does it compare to?
The 2022 Kia Niro EV is a roomy, affordable compact electric vehicle that offers a driving range well beyond 200 miles. The Niro EV most closely compares to other relatively affordable small EVs, such as the Nissan Leaf Plus and Hyundai Kona Electric, although it’s a somewhat smaller alternative to the Volkswagen ID.4, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, and the upcoming Nissan Ariya.
Is the 2022 Kia Niro EV a good car?
The Niro EV is a pragmatic pick among smaller electric vehicles, if it’s available near you, as it’s not stocked by dealers in every state. We rate the 2022 Niro at 6.6 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
What's new for the 2022 Kia Niro EV?
The Kia Niro enters 2022 with expanded standard equipment on the base EX model. In that version, the larger 10.3-inch touchscreen gets added to the standard-feature list, along with navigation, satellite radio, and premium Harmon/Kardon sound. Kia badging has also been updated throughout the vehicle to match the brand’s new corporate logo.
The Niro EV follows closely in the form of its Niro hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid siblings, although it has a very different function. A single electric motor makes 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque and can accelerate the Niro EV to 60 mph in about seven seconds. But in city driving, it feels far perkier than that, with good handling and roadholding, although its extra 700 lb of weight simply mean it’s not as nimble as related gasoline versions.
The EV doesn’t look much different from the rest of the Niro lineup. Probably the most noteworthy difference is the unique shift selector and dash layout, which looks more futuristic. On the outside, the Niro EV flaunts just enough rugged cues to put the idea of an SUV in your mind, but the front-wheel-drive Niro EV is essentially a tall-riding hatchback. It’s really all about versatility and interior space here, with the seat height just right for getting in and out without ducking, although front seats are short and lack the support for long road trips. There’s only enough width for two adults in the back seat, but with the height and access it’s perfect for clipping in child seats and minding toddlers—or folding the seats down for gear.
How much does the 2022 Kia Niro EV cost?
The 2022 Niro EV costs $41,165 in base EX form, or $45,825 in uplevel EX Premium trim. Key additions for the Premium include a sunroof, cooled front seats, and parking sensors.
Where is the 2022 Kia Niro EV made?
In South Korea.
2022 Kia Niro EV
The 2022 Kia Niro follows function over form—although there’s nothing off-putting about the look.
Is the 2022 Kia Niro EV a good-looking car?
The Niro EV is a good-looking vehicle, but it’s by no means head-turning. There’s nothing overtly daring, rugged, racy, or voluptuous here; it’s all about following a form that fits the most space and versatility inside. It’s middling to a tee, which is why it’s a 5 here.
That said, the Niro EV has reasonably balanced proportions, token nods to all-weather ability in the rubberized lower-body trim; flush, diamond-patterned grille; and distinctive front and rear lighting. There’s enough to linger on in the details to keep it from being called entirely boring—but it’s not the SUV that some of the styling cues hint of.
Inside, the Niro EV breaks out a bit more from utilitarian small-car influences. Unlike in its hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid equivalents, you’ll find a different twist-dial shift selector, a more space-efficient center console, and some nicely complementing blue accents. It’s a minor but welcome dash of futurism.
2022 Kia Niro EV
The 2022 Kia Niro EV shows off the benefits of all-electric driving, but it’s not entirely sophisticated in how it goes about it.
The Niro EV delivers the quiet, quick acceleration and impressive driving range that we’ve come to expect from most modern electric cars. But it’s not reaching above and beyond, and ride and handling are barely on par—and that’s why it’s a 5 here.
How fast is the Kia Niro EV?
Don’t turn to the Niro EV if you’re seeking special acceleration modes and party tricks grounded in winks and nods from science fiction. The Niro EV is simple and straightforward and presents what’s good about cost-efficient electric vehicles: strong, quick, and quiet acceleration, with an approximately 1,000-lb battery pack that’s carried low in the vehicle.
A permanent-magnet electric motor produces 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque, and the Niro EV can take off with an urgency not possible in hybrid versions—amounting to a 0-60 mph time as quick as 6.5 seconds if you can keep the tire squeal at bay. It still feels quicker than other gasoline small cars at highway speeds, only the difference is less profound.
Is the Kia Niro EV 4WD?
The Niro EV, like other Niro models, has front-wheel drive, and don’t expect an abundance of all-weather traction unless you’re willing to substitute in other tires that may put a dent in range.
Steering-wheel paddles offer three steps of regenerative braking, plus an Auto mode that uses adaptive cruise-control sensors. Brake-pedal feel is just fine, albeit spongy-feeling in the last few feet of a stop.
As impressive as the Niro EV’s straight-line performance might be, it’s no revelation in handling, and it falls flat on some of the aspects we look for even in affordable vehicles for ride and refinement. The weight (and weight distribution) of the battery pack helps it feel settled on smoother roads, but on choppy backroads it bounces and bounds, feeling a half-step behind driver inputs. Provided you’re not the type who demands precision, it’s perfectly fine for most needs.
2022 Kia Niro EV
Comfort & Quality
The Niro EV has a few more features than its hybrid counterparts, but its premium price is a mismatch with the frugal cabin feel.
The 2022 Kia Niro EV offers up a lot of versatility and packaging goodness. Yet with a price that reaches into the upper $40,000s in some versions, this feels more like a cost-conscious small car than a premium vehicle inside. That’s why the Niro EV gets a 6 here.
The Niro EV is an ace of space, with a tall roof and relatively low cargo floor, as well as seating heights that are just right for getting in and out easily. Just as in hybrid versions of the Niro, rear seats flip forward for larger cargo, and there’s no compromise of the floor or cargo area for the sake of battery packaging. Just beware that the Niro is a rather narrow vehicle so fitting three across in back won’t work in most cases.
As functional as the interior is, it isn’t entirely charming in the way that other models with its sticker price can be. The trims and materials in the Niro EV look like they’ll wear well, but they tend to be rather drab. Highway road noise and skimpy bolstering in the front seats add up to a feeling that this model does make some sacrifices.
2022 Kia Niro EV
There’s no official U.S. crash-test data for the Niro EV.
How safe is the Kia Niro EV?
The Niro EV is a niche model based on what’s already a niche model—the Niro hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid—so it’s unlikely that the Niro EV will ever be run through the full battery of U.S. crash tests from either major safety organization.
Hybrid versions of the Kia Niro have been tested though, and they’ve done quite well. But don’t try to extend those results because the EV is much heavier and carries its weight in an entirely different way.
Most of the Niro EV lineup comes with a whole suite of active safety features, including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems. EX Premium models add a driver-attention system.
2022 Kia Niro EV
There’s not much missing here, but the value for money isn’t up to Kia’s usual high level.
The 2022 Kia Niro EV offers an excellent, straightforward infotainment system, and it covers all the expected bases with a generous list of standard features. A strong 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty also nudges it up, but we dock a point for its lackluster value for money—a surprise from a brand that typically makes that a strong point. All that adds up to a 7 out of 10.
Which Kia Niro EV should I buy?
At the price of the Niro EV Premium you have so many other choices, but there’s a decent argument for the base EV. For $41,165, it comes with an improved list of standard equipment, now including a 10.3-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, premium audio, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and even family-minded features like rear-seat climate-control ducts.
We’d option it for $1,000 with the Cold Weather Package, though. That adds a battery heater, heat pump, and heated steering wheel—three items that will pay for themselves in boosted real-world range and comfort when the weather turns chilly.
All versions of the Niro EV have a 64-kwh battery pack that can gain up to 100 miles of range in 30 minutes or get from 0-80% in 54 minutes, with a CCS DC fast-charger of 100 kw or better. The 7.2-kw onboard AC charger is capable of getting the Niro EV to a full charge in about 9.5 hours on a 240-volt circuit.
How much is a fully loaded Kia Niro EV?
The EX Premium costs $46,825 with the Cold Weather Package, and it adds only a few more features, like a power sunroof, mood lighting, cooled seats, leather upholstery, and some minor trim differences. We don’t see the point.
2022 Kia Niro EV
The Niro EV’s 239-mile EPA range and overall efficiency are impressive given the boxy form factor.
The 2022 Niro EV achieves a 239-mile EPA range rating, which alone qualifies this electric vehicle for a 10 out of 10.
But its efficiency itself is impressive. It covers that range on just a 64-kwh battery pack, and achieves 112 MPGe on the EPA combined cycle.
Several real-world experiences with the Niro EV have suggested even better—that owners are likely to see numbers near the rated range on a regular basis, especially if they have the heat pump that’s included with the Cold Weather Package.