Stick Shift: 2019 Kia Niro EV

Photo via: Kia

The 2019 Kia Niro EV joins a growing list of all-electric options breaking into the market. A little friendly competition within the all-electric class is good. It drives manufacturers to create a quality product that’s interesting and affordable. It loosens Tesla’s grip on this important segment. Oh yea, and the more of these battery powered cars we have on the road, the better it is for the environment. As far as just another EV option goes, the Kia Niro is a surprisingly adept contender. Especially in EX Premium trim.

The most important item on anyones EV wish list is a good range. It’s what we all look for first when considering one of these plug-in options as our main mode of transportation. Lucky for us, the Kia Niro delivers. It’s an entry-level electric with significant range at its disposal. Depending on how aggressively you drive, the topography of the roads, and how hard you blast the AC of course. A range of 250 plus miles per charge is well within reach. As an extra bonus, it’s also roomy with a large back-seat and lots of cargo space. 

Photo via: Kia

Powering the Niro is the same battery pack used in the Kia Kona Electric and soon to be 2020 Kia Soul EV. A 201-hp motor and 356-volt 64.0 kWh Lithium Ion Polymer battery. It works great. Providing enough electric torque for good acceleration. Especially when set to Sport mode. Did I mention the impressive range to keep you going longer than many EV’s out there. Brake feel is ok when the pedal is applied gently, but heavy brake-inputs reveal the typical nonlinearity of these blended-brake systems.

The build quality and overall look of the Kia Niro is one of sturdiness and a kind of fun practicality. Large sections of economy-car finishes like plain black plastic bring the overall interior standard down some. The EX Premium trim option delivers some redemption though. This comes in the form of a sunroof. Leather front seats that are ventilated as well as heated. With contrasting colored stitching. An enlarged 8.0-inch center touchscreen and wonderful sounding Harman/Kardon speakers. All of the important safety and driver-aides can be found as well. From smart cruise control, lane-keeping assist, rear cross traffic alerts, blind-spot detection and more. 

On the outside, the Premium model Kia Niro continues to serve-up the goods with LED head and taillights, deluxe scuff plates and fog lights. Roof rails, a rear spoiler and dark gray fender and rocker cladding help ramp up the visuals even more. The finished Product is a car that combines one part sporty and two parts climate changing activist. It can only be considered a significantly positive development in the automotive industry that each year sees more and more of these all-electric options. Pretty soon, like a manual transmission, it will be hard to find anything you need to take through the gas station at all.

Kia is hitting the scene with several top options worthy of deep consideration. True to Kia form, each one is reliable and practical. The Kia Niro has the added advantage of also being spacious, with a premium look and feel, and a range that will entice most. It may be just what many EV-hungry consumers have been searching for. 

Price as tested: $47,155.00

By: Brandon Randall

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