Kia Niro EV: More Green Means Less Grille

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
kia niro ev more green means less grille

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.

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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  • Vvk Vvk on May 07, 2018

    > 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.

    • See 4 previous
    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on May 08, 2018

      @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.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on May 08, 2018

    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.

  • Tassos Despite the incomplete results, this article was the most useful, by far, of all TTAC articles for the entire Q3
  • Jkross22 Pedestrian.... trapped.... in San Francisco. Man, there's a lot of truth in this article.
  • Arthur Dailey What the heck is an 'influencer'?And who would buy or do something because somebody on a social media site told them to or recommended/flogged something?Maybe I am just too old and cynical to understand those who actually are 'influenced'? But then I also never trusted or was 'influenced' by celebrity endorsements or product placements.However I did know and coach a teenager who became extremely wealthy because he set up a Youtube channel where people paid to watch him and his friends play video games.
  • Dukeisduke $8,000 for this rustbucket? It's a '73, not a '74 ("Registered and titled as a 1973…it looks like a ‘74 to me"), and anyway, mid to late '60s Alfa Berlinas are much more desirable.Even if you kept it in a garage and didn't drive it in the rain, it wouldn't stop rusting, it might just progress more slowly. This looks more like a parts car than something you'd drive. It needs rear main seals all over the car, so that oil leaks can slow down the rust, like all the oil on the underbody.
  • Analoggrotto Only the truly influential , affluent, educated and elite drive TESLAs. This is a fake influencer.