By on May 7, 2018

Image: Kia Motors

Hyundai and Kia need to start making outlandish promises if the automakers hope to generate the kind of press once (and maybe still) enjoyed by a certain American electric carmaker. Instead, Hyundai Motor Group quietly putters along the road to electrification, issuing well-established timelines for its vehicle introductions, then following through.

There’s so little drama, it’s painful.

Ahead of a global debut at September’s Paris Motor Show, Kia launched its newest green vehicle at the 5th International Electric Vehicle Expo in Jeju, Korea — a practical EV made for practical, not all that wealthy people.

We’ve already seen the unveiling of the Hyundai Kona Electric, and the Kia Niro EV follows pretty much the same path. The jury’s out on whether the front-drive-only Niro deserves the “crossover” moniker, so we’ll just call it a tall wagon. It looks like there’ll be plenty of sharing between the two.

Hyundai promises roughly 250 miles of real-world driving range from its upcoming Kona EV, and Kia Motors claims 380 kilometers for the Niro EV. (Both contain a 64 kWh battery pack.) That translates into 236 miles on the WLTP cycle, a measurement that’s more accurate than Europe’s NEDC cycle, but usually slightly above EPA figures. Suffice it to say the Niro EV’s range will be competitive with the likes of the Chevrolet Bolt when it appears in showrooms.

A smaller available battery, good for 150 miles of range, isn’t likely to make its way here.

Image: Kia Motors

While Kia didn’t list power output, the Kona makes do with an electric motor generating 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque. There seems to be no reason why the two vehicles wouldn’t share the same motor.

The obvious difference between the Niro EV and its hybrid and plug-in hybrid siblings is a paved-over grille — a feature seem on other EVs, including the Kia Soul EV — and the addition of “arrowhead” LED running lamps mounted along the inner edge of the side scoops. Those vents, plus the broader lower air intake, come accented in thin teal bands. Given that blue and green accents are commonplace on electrified models, teal seems like a natural extension of that trend.

Kia’s Niro EV aims to be the affordable answer to pricer “status” EVs like the Tesla Model X. Pricing, like that of the Kona Electric, remains a mystery, though a base Niro hybrid starts at $23,340 before destination. Expect an MSRP around the mid-30k mark.

So, when can ecologically sensitive families bike to the showroom in search of a Niro EV? In Korea, that moment comes in the second half of 2018, but Kia claims introductions in other markets will occur “in due course.” Stay tuned.

[Images: Kia Motors]

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21 Comments on “Kia Niro EV: More Green Means Less Grille...”


  • avatar
    mmreeses

    Looks like that Miro is from a Rod Serling dystopia of anthropomorphic cars who no longer have free speech.. Cars 3: 1984

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The entire upper grille on my grandmother’s ’14 Soul is a blank, so this makes sense.

    I like this. It’s handsome and understated. I would have liked to see Kia introduce more-expressive lighting pods for the headlamps, though.

  • avatar
    Syke

    And if I get in the market for a pure EV, I’d much rather buy it from Kia or Hyundai (or Chevrolet) than Tesla.

    Something about the realization that I’m allergic to being trendy.

    Knowing that the manufacturing company has an excellent chance of being in business ten years from now doesn’t hurt, either.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This is the EV I want. But if it’s a compliance car like H/K’s previous (and current) EV offerings, forget it.

    “Hyundai and Kia need to start making outlandish promises if the automakers hope to generate the kind of press once (and maybe still) enjoyed by a certain American electric carmaker. Instead, Hyundai Motor Group quietly putters along the road to electrification, issuing well-established timelines for its vehicle introductions, then following through.”

    I assume your snark is directed at Faraday Future.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      > I assume your snark is directed at Faraday Future.

      Tesla. He means Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Gee; I would never have guessed.

        As for the ‘road to electrification’, YTD Hyundai/Kia has sold 732 BEVs, while Tesla has sold 24000+. And I can’t buy a H/K EV in my state. H/K has a very long road to travel yet, but at TTAC, it’s Tesla who tells the lies.

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          But which company, Tesla or Hyundai/Kia, has a higher likelihood of not being in existence in a few years?

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @redmondjp: But which company, Tesla or Hyundai/Kia, has a higher likelihood of not being in existence in a few years?

            Chances of something going horribly wrong on the Korea Peninsula vs. Model 3 production numbers not improving. Place your bets.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          That’s in part due to the limited roll out of the Soul and Ioniq EVs here.

          H/K are have allocated more of their current EVs for their domestic and the EU markets; presently, they can’t meet demand (as battery supply is tight) but that may changes as more countries are lowering or doing away w/ BEV subsidies.

          Right now, H/K are pushing the hybrid variants of the Ioniq and Niro and for April, H/K pushed past Ford to take 2nd place in hybrid marketshare (17.8%).

  • avatar
    vvk

    > Hyundai Motor Group quietly putters along the road to electrification,
    > issuing well-established timelines for its vehicle introductions, then following through.

    Ha, this is super easy to do when you have no vehicles to sell and no intention to sell them! Soul EV is the only BEV they actually put on the market and it is a) completely uncompetitive in terms of the range and b) is only available in extremely limited quantities in very, *VERY* few states! And have you personally, Mr. Willems, ever tried to actually purchase an electric vehicle from an actual Kia dealer?! GOD LUCK with that. Because they have ZERO interest in selling them. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to get two dealers in NYC to lease a Soul EV to me earlier this year. No interest at all. Nobody responds, then when I force the issue, they brush me off with excessive fees. Kia dealers don’t want EV customers who do not spend money on vehicle service!

    The Ioniq EV is nowhere to be found, despite all the hoopla. The Kona EV has “made world debut” — but is it for sale anywhere?! ANYWHERE?! No, not even in Korea. Vaporware…

    > Niro EV aims to be the affordable answer to pricer “status” EVs like the Tesla Model X

    This is so unbelievably unfair. Niro EV is a tiny hatchback with very little cargo room and no room for infant seats in the back, unless mounted in the middle. Tiny, low to the ground, front wheel drive hatchback. I am not saying it is bad — far from it. Plenty of people would be well served by this type of car. However, you CANNOT compare it to the roomy three row high performance crossover with AWD, plenty of cargo room, exceptionally comfortable seats for 7 people that weighs 5000+ lbs and offers 3 second 0-60 times!!! Model X is VERY different and is not a direct competitor in any way. And, in spite of what you say, it is the only one actually owned and enjoyed by tens of thousands of satisfied customers around the world. Unlike the Niro EV or any other Hyundai Motor Group BEV.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @vvk: I have no experience with the Niro EV but a ‘tiny, low to the ground hatchback with no room for infant seats’ does not accurately describe the regular Kia Niro. Unless you are comparing it to a Suburban or other Canyonero type of vehicle which.

      The Niro is larger and more spacious than a great many vehicles that sell widely not just in North America but throughout the world. And sits heigher than many (most?) sedans and coupes.

      Referring to the Model X as “owned and enjoyed by tens of thousands of customers” is either a wildly inaccurate statement or one that I have misconstrued.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        > Referring to the Model X as “owned and enjoyed by tens of thousands of
        > customers” is either a wildly inaccurate statement or one that I have misconstrued.

        Over 80,000 actual customers are enjoying their Model X so far. What is inaccurate?

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Misconstrued your meaning. As for numbers they do appear accurate based on actual deliveries.

          As for ‘enjoying’ I would suspect that most do, however there are exceptions to that.

          What of the other comments?

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            According to Wikipedia (which is of course infallible) the total number of Model X’s delivered as of the end of the calendar year 2017 was 46,535 units.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Think that may change w/ the upcoming new Soul which will share platforms w/ the Kona.

      Range on the current Soul EV is limited b/c the platform can’t support a larger battery pack w/o further impeding cargo space (also, don’t think it’s a bad idea for automakers to offer BEVs with different ranges as not everyone needs 250+ miles of range and the higher cost that goes w/ it).

      So not only should the new Soul get available AWD, but for the EV model a range close to that of the Kona EV (would be less due to the boxier shape of the Soul).

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The EV needs to drop another $20 000.

    I think it’s a lot of money for something that would be more like driving a hobby. Lots of unnecessary work to keep an EV.

    That $20 000 can buy a lot of gas, by the time you use that gas, the batteries will need replacing two times over.

    EVs? Never.

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