It has been the best-selling car in the Netherlands for two years in a row: the Kia Niro. Don’t start messing around, you’d say, but hey: standing still is regression, and of course they don’t let that happen at Kia. And then there is now a new Kia Niro.
In any case, the concept, one of the main reasons for the Kia Niro’s success, has remained the same. A not too big SUV/crossover, on one platform for a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and an electric version, so you immediately have all the bases for what is currently on the market. It’s still pretty unique; the only one that also has it is Hyundai, which had the scoop with the first generation Ioniq. At least it’s family, and now that the sister has scrapped the Ioniq, Kia is the only one that still respects the three-in-one strategy.
The disadvantages of an all-in-one
Of course, this offers great advantages (especially in relation to development costs), but there are also disadvantages. For example, each concept has its own requirements, so one platform will always remain a compromise that slightly affects each application. It certainly hasn’t hindered the Kia Niro’s success, and the next generation will surely go down different paths, but we’re not there yet. First this new Niro.
Because another success factor for the Kia Niro was undoubtedly its design. Friendly, rounded, typically the kind of design that didn’t knock you back, but it’s hard to argue with. Exactly the friend of all that the Dutch generally love. And that aspect is quite radical with the new Niro.
Designed by Kia Niro (EV)
The new one is much more square and consists of many straight lines. Just take the light units. The front ones look like they are inside Minecraft design, the rear curls a bit brutally around the C-pillar. What you call more striking. In addition, the C-pillar in the most expensive version is also available in a contrasting color (black or grey), which also gives a completely different effect.
It will probably be a bit too much of a good thing for most Dutch people, but the fact that it is possible suggests that Kia will be less of a gray mouse. Funny: all those straight lines make the new Niro seem smaller, when it’s actually widened a few centimeters.
The interior has also been radically renovated. A lot of inspiration has been taken from the EV6, not to mention that the steering wheel, gauges and infotainment are simply aligned one-to-one in the Niro. And that’s fine, because it’s an excellent system. Everything you want is there, from wireless phone charging to a screen that works quickly and clearly.
The area under the screen takes some getting used to, which can take two forms: air conditioning or shortcuts to the most important controls. Once you get it, it works like a charm. The craftsmanship is good; there’s definitely some cheaper plastic to be found here and there, but generally everything you touch a lot is made of comfortable material. A nice detail is the mood lighting, which seems to shine through the dashboard – nicely done.
The trunk for the Kia Niro EV
Despite the slightly increased size, it is still a bit difficult in the back seat if you are an oversized Dutchman, but with a certain good will it goes well. In terms of luggage space, you’re best off with the Kia Niro EV; With 475 litres, it has, for example, 125 liters more capacity than the plug-in hybrid. Storage space is available everywhere.
Driving-wise, things have also changed if you were used to the previous Kia Niro EV. The power of the electric motor has remained the same (204 hp), but the torque has been significantly reduced: from 395 to 254 Nm – that’s no less than 141 Nm. Nice, one would say, but it actually makes for a better driving car.
As it turned out, from all kinds of customer surveys: the traction of the previous one was just too much. He could hardly lose all that torque to the front wheels, so you were quickly faced with spinning front wheels when accelerating hard, accelerating out of a corner and certainly in wet conditions. It’s much better balanced now. It is also arranged that the torque remains at a usable level for much longer, improving performance despite the loss of newton meters. Not so much in terms of sprints to 100 km/h, which remains the same at a fine 7.8 seconds, but when overtaking. It’s good for you.
How is the comfort?
Driving a Kia Niro EV is rarely if ever exciting, but it’s almost always good. The suspension and damping are somewhere between comfortable and a little harder – of course the chassis must be able to handle the car’s weight. This means that potholes or bumps in the road won’t always get you by, although that’s by no means an exaggeration – all in all a nice happy medium that will suit most people just fine.
The controls don’t excel in feel or communication, but it’s so commonplace these days that we don’t even care anymore. It works, and it works well. Kudos to the paddles behind the wheel, with which you can influence the degree of regeneration in five steps, from not at all to almost one pedal drive. It is and will be the perfect way.
The range of Kia Niro EV
At 64.8 kWh, the battery pack in the Kia Niro EV is slightly larger (0.8 kWh) than the previous one; according to the WLTP standard you should be able to cover 460 kilometers with it. You usually don’t achieve that in practice, especially in the cold and/or many motorway kilometres, but what you are left with is a particularly useful range. A big difference with the more EV-dedicated (and more expensive) EV6 is in the fast charging options.
Where, among other things, thanks to 800 volt technology, it can quickly feed power into its batteries (up to 240 kW), with Niro you have to make do with a maximum of 70 kW. Not terribly bad, but it means you’ll need fifteen minutes or three to load from 15 to 80 percent. Not a particularly suitable holiday car, therefore. Anyway, in daily practice (when was the last time you drove 460 kilometers in one day?) that range is of course fine.
And that actually applies to the Niro as a whole: it just satisfies very well in all respects. It fits well, drives well, looks good, is well organized and is up-to-date with all safety and driver assistance systems, although the latter are of the very careful kind. In addition, it remains annoying that for every new trip you have to go into the on-screen menus to turn off the quite convincing lane assistant.
The price of the Kia Niro EV
Finally, it is also well priced; from 39,975 euros you are welcome at the dealer, who afterwards, it is solemnly promised, can also quickly supply you with a new Niro – today no longer a matter of course. Of course, there’s more competition now than the sad bit that the first Niro had to deal with. But all in all, we can’t think of a reason why the new Niro couldn’t match its predecessor’s success.
Specifications Kia Niro EV (2022)
1 electric motor
64.8 kWh (battery)
0-100 km/h in 7.8 sec
top 167 km/h
16.2 kWh/100 km (A brand)
460 km (WLTP)
7 hours at 11 kW
43 min at 80 kW
4,420 x 1,820 x 1,570 mm (lxwxh)
2,720 mm (wheelbase)
475 / 1,392 l (luggage)
€41,990 (B) – Clean