Kia has come a long way over the years with premium models like the Stinger and Telluride. The Korean automaker has also made strides in the electric car segment with their Kia Soul EV, EV6 — and of course, the Kia Niro EV. This compact electric crossover offers a tiny footprint for easy maneuverability and a great driving range, making it a good option for commuters and families.
Below, we cover the ins and outs of the Kia Niro EV to help you determine if it’s the right option for you.
The Kia Niro EV joined the Soul EV as the Korean automaker’s second all-electric crossover in the 2021 model year. Unlike the Soul, however, which was more wagon than crossover, the Niro EV does a delicate balancing act between SUV and lifted hatchback.
The Niro EV didn’t follow many cars in the electric vehicle class by boasting a wild design, either. Its style remained consistent between its hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and EV variants, and was calm enough to cater to the masses. The only thing setting the Niro EV apart from the other Niro models was its closed-off grille for enhanced aerodynamics and other subtle design tweaks.
On the outside, the Kia Niro EV comes relatively well-equipped with standard 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED positioning lights, tinted glass, auto-folding side-view mirrors, a rear spoiler, roof rails, and halogen projector lights.
Note also that the Niro EV is a compact crossover, measuring just 4,375 mm long, 1,0855 mm wide, and 1,570 mm tall.
Like most modern Kia interiors, the Niro EV is surprisingly upscale and tastefully put together. Besides its joystick-like gear shifter, there’s not much to pin this crossover as an EV, making it appealing to a broader audience. In some trims, though, it does feature a metallic appliqué on the dash and contrasting piping on the seats, but none of this detracts from its calm overall demeanour.
In its base EX trim, the Kia Niro EV’s interior comes rather well-equipped. It includes premium cloth- and leather-trimmed seats with height adjustment, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a rear centre armrest, automatic climate control, a 7-inch digital gauge cluster, electronic parking brake, and more. You also get the added comfort of heated front seats and a heated steering wheel for the cold Canada winters.
It also boasts lots of tech, including a standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, Kia Connect, and more in the EX and EX+ trims. In the SX Touring trim, the touchscreen jumps to 10.25 inches, and you get a wireless phone charger, a 110-volt power outlet, LED interior lighting, a Harman Kardon premium audio system, and more.
Inside, the Kia Niro EV offers plenty of room for the average family. Its front seats have 1,018 mm of headroom, 1,364 mm of hip room, 1,059 mm of legroom, and 1,423 mm of shoulder room. The rear seats offer 957 mm of headroom, 1,228 mm of hip room, 914 mm of legroom, and 1,400 mm of shoulder room.
As for cargo hauling specs, the Niro EV is a little tight with the rear seats upright at just 524 litres. The Niro EV’s practicality is better with the seats folded, as it expands to 1,501 litres of cargo space.
The Kia Niro EV has a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor that drives the front wheels only — in other words, it is only available with front-wheel drive (FWD). This drivetrain delivers 201 horsepower (hp) and 291 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque, which is enough to sprint it to 100 km/h in just 7.8 seconds and up to a 167 km/h top speed while producing no emissions.
Electric range is a big deal for all electric car buyers, and the Kia Niro EV does well with its 64-kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack that delivers a 385-km driving range in all trim levels. Its standard 7.2-kW onboard charger allows it to charge to 80% in 1 hour and 15 minutes on a 50-kW DC fast charge station, or 1 hour flat on a 100-kW charger. Remember, though, DC fast charging should never be your primary charging medium, as this can cause premature battery degradation and range loss.
On a Level 2 240-volt charger, whether at home or a public charger, the Niro EV reaches a full charge from 0% in 9 hours, 35 minutes. On a Level 1 charger, which is a charging cable plugged into a standard 120-volt household outlet, it has a 59-hour charge time .
All said and done, the Niro EV delivers fuel-consumption equivalents of 1.9 Le/100km city and 2.3 Le/100km highway.
In Canada’s cold winters, you may want to opt for a heat pump and battery heating system to help maximize your driving range. This is standard only on the EX+ and SX Touring trims.
The Kia Niro EV hasn’t been through IIHS safety testing, but the automaker’s closely related hybrid model has. The latter received all “Good” ratings in all the crash tests, but it fell short of being an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
Note, also, that the base Kia Niro EV EX and midrange EX+lack any advanced safety features. It includes only a rearview camera and seven airbags. However, the SX Touring trim comes standard with blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, lane-follow assist, driver awareness monitoring, automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and more.
The Kia Niro EV carries a starting MSRP of $44,995 for the EX trim before national and provincial incentives. That price rises to $50,695 in the EX+ model and $54,695 in the SX Touring trim. Though the global chip shortage has put a strain on electric vehicle inventory, the Kia Niro EV is available new, but you may have to special order one.
You can also save thousands of dollars and bypass the ordering process by opting for a used 2019-2022 Niro EV. A used 2019 Kia Niro EV will typically run you $36,692 before incentives. If you prefer the latest model year, you may be able to find a used 2022 Niro EV for $43,656 before incentives.
The electric crossover segment continues to expand, and the Niro EV now has plenty of competitors from various automakers, including sister brand Hyundai.
The Hyundai Kona Electric is a tiny electric crossover with a 201-hp electric powertrain and standard front-wheel drive. Like the Niro, there is no AWD option, limiting its effectiveness in snow and ice. With its smaller size, the Kona Electric does more with the 64-kWh battery pack it shares with the Niro EV, giving it a 415-km range.
The Kona Electric also comes standard with more advanced technology, including a 10.25-inch touchscreen and safety gear, such as safe-exit warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, and more.
However, the Kona EV is about $2,000 more new from the dealership.
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 is one of the newest additions to the electric crossover segment, so it’s as advanced as they come. First, the IONIQ 5 is a dedicated electric vehicle, so it has multiple powertrain options, starting with a 168-hp base powertrain and topping out with the 320-hp Preferred Long Range model with a 5.1-second 0-to-100 km/h sprint time. It also boasts a 58- to 77.4-kWh battery pack that delivers 354 to 488 km of electric range.
The IONIQ 5 also accepts up to a 350-kW DC fast charger, allowing it to charge from 10% to 80% in just 17 minutes and 16 seconds.
The IONIQ 5 is also loaded with all the latest tech, including dual 12.3-inch screens, dual automatic climate control, and all the latest safety gear like blind-sport collision avoidance, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist, lane-following assist, lane-keeping assist, highway driving assist, and much more.
The IONIQ 5 is pricier than the Niro EV, however, with a starting MSRP of $47,549.70.
The VW ID.4 was the German automaker’s first dedicated electric vehicle, though the Golf had an electric variant for a few years. The ID.4 comes in two powertrain flavours: a 201-hp rear-wheel-drive (RWD) model and a 295-hp dual-motor AWD version. Respectively, these models deliver 422 and 394 km of driving range.
Like the IONIQ 5, the ID.4 has the latest in charging technology, giving it an 80% charge in just 30 minutes on a DC fast charger. On a Level 2 charger, this time increases to 7.5 hours, but this is a full 0 to 100% charge.
The ID.4 also has more advanced standard equipment, including a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and more.
The ID.4 is also relatively affordable at a starting price of $43,995 new. However, new and used inventory remains very tight.
The Kia Niro EV has a lot to offer, and you can save thousands by buying a used model from Canada’s premier online auto retailer, Clutch.
At Clutch, you not only get a great price, but you never have to set foot in a dealership. We handle the entire used car buying process online and deliver the vehicle to your door.
Are you nervous about buying an electric crossover 100% online? You can rest assured that any vehicle you choose from Clutch will be of the highest quality, as they’ve all passed a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process performed by trained Clutch technicians. Clutch then adds a 90-Day Protection Plan and nationwide roadside assistance for additional peace of mind.
Need more protection? You can also opt for an Extended Warranty for even more security.
Best of all, you’re also covered by Clutch’s 10-Day Money-Back Guarantee, which means that if you don’t love your new electric crossover, you can exchange it for a new one or return it for a no-questions-asked refund.