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The Kia Niro Electric is a practical, comfortable and easy to use electric crossover that delivers good on-road efficiency.

27 Sep 2019


Head over to sgCarMart's New Cars section, click the filter under 'Car Type' and select 'Electric', and a fair number of results will pop out. This wasn’t possible even just a few years ago, with electric cars then being more a novelty or technical experiment than anything.

Times are changing, however (and for the better, some may argue). Around the world, electrification is steadily forming a bigger part of each manufacturer's product portfolio. Here in Singapore, there are seven models available from authorised distributors, as well as a handful of Teslas being sold. Or actually, eight, the most recent model being this one - the new Kia Niro Electric.

The electric motor delivers 395Nm of instant torque, making for brisk accleration

So, electricity, then… 

As the name obviously suggests, this Niro Electric is Kia's Niro crossover (previously available as a hybrid with a 1.6-litre petrol engine), sans any internal combustion engine. Power comes from 201bhp electric motor producing a very healthy 395Nm of instant torque. Acceleration is rapid and instant.

The 64kWh battery offers up an on paper range of 455km, but driven lightly and sensibly we actually managed to achieve 13.4kWh/100km, bettering the on paper figure of 14kWh/100km. That translates to a total range of 477km.

The Niro EV's on-paper range of 455km can be certainly achieved

On the road, the Niro EV is extremely pleasant to drive. The instant torque makes overtaking effortless, the ride is well-damped to soak up bumps in the road without being jittery, and the car is surprisingly nimble to steer given its 1,748kg weight (the batteries alone are 457kg).

One issue we did identify is that the regenerative braking (engine braking, but you know, there's no engine) takes a fraction of time to kick in after you let off the throttle.

Recharging from 0-80% using a 100kW fast charger will take just 54 minutes

The most obvious comparison to draw here is with the Hyundai Kona Electric (a similar electric crossover). While both are quite similar in terms of driving behaviour, we find the ride in the Niro EV to be more settled.

It's still a Kia, yeah… 

The rest of the car is familiarly Kia. In this day and age, that's not a bad thing at all. You get generous amounts of equipment, including heated and ventilated front seats, a 7.0-inch LCD touchscreen, wireless smartphone charger, and two memory settings on the electronically adjustable driver seat.

The Niro EV also comes well-equipped with safety technology, such as Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Emergency Stop Signal and Hill-start Assist Control.

Boot space is also pretty good - its 451 litres trumps the Kona Electric's 332 litres, and is also slightly more than the Niro Hybrid's 427 litres. Also, compared to the Kona, the Niro is the bigger car. The 100mm longer wheelbase translates to more room in the rear cabin.

The 'EV' menu displays key information like available range and time it takes to charge

Yes, build quality isn't the greatest, and there's a fair amount of plastic used in the cabin, but ultimately it's a comfortable and usable car.

And it costs how much?? 

Ah, here we come to the big problem with the Niro EV. The car's $185,999 sticker price is inevitably going to be a big talking point. That's expensive, no two ways about it. That's Audi A4/Mercedes C-Class money.

One major issue with the Niro EV is it's high pricetag

Paying that kind of money for a Kia might seem a little outrageous. Couple that with the $2,248 per year road tax (almost as much as a 3.0-litre car), and it's seemingly hard to justify why anyone would buy this car.

It's for this reason that Kia distributor Cycle & Carriage highlighted during the launch of the Niro EV that the car will be targeted more at commercial/fleet owners (a good move considering the popularity of the Kona EV as Grab vehicles).

Beyond just being a capable electric crossover, the new Niro EV highlights Kia's capability to continue to electrify its lineup

The Niro EV is unlikely to see many private owner buyers, but don't let that take away from the fact that beyond just being a good electric car, it's also a pretty important car for the brand.

It paves the way forward for the manufacturer as far as electrification is concerned, just as the world is increasingly demanding more electric cars to be on the roads. And yes, Kia certainly is capable of being a part of this electric revolution. 

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Car Information

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Kia Niro Electric 64kWh (A)
Rate it

Price

: $190,999

Engine Type

:

unknown

Engine Cap

:

-

Horsepower

:

150kW (201 bhp)

Torque

:

395 Nm

Transmission

:

unknown

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

7.8sec

Top Speed

:

-

Fuel consumption

:

unknown

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