At the LA Auto Show, Kia has provided some long-awaited U.S. market details for the Niro EV. Among the most important ones: With a large 64-kwh battery pack, it will offer an EPA-rated range of 239 miles.
The Niro, which Kia describes as a “multi-function crossover format,” is built on a dedicated green-vehicle platform shared with the Hyundai Ioniq, with all versions powered by at least a full hybrid system.
The Niro EV’s electric motor system, making 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque, should give it perky performance; and Kia says that the floor-mounted battery pack allows a very low center of gravity for stable handling. Four driving modes and four levels of regenerative braking—including a feature that allows light stops without the brake pedal—permit a wide range of settings, while Smart Regen and Eco Pedal helpers aid efficiency.
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Versus the Niro’s hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, the Niro EV is distinguished by its closed-off grille, arrowhead-shaped LED running lamps, blue-outlined lower air intake, reshaped rocker panels, blue front and rear bumper-fascia trim, and special 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, this vehicle has a rotary shifter, a larger center console with more storage options, an EV-exclusive seat upholstery with blue highlights, and blue-and-black “holographic” door trim.
Compared to the Niro Plug-In Hybrid, the Niro EV has slightly less cargo space (18.5 cubic feet vs. 19.4 cubic feet with the rear seatback up, 53.0 cubic feet vs. 54.5 cubic feet with the seatback folded).
2019 Kia Niro EV
Kia says that with the Niro’s CCS-standard DC fast charger you can gain about 100 miles of range in 30 minutes, or bring the battery up to 80 percent in 75 minutes. A 7.2-kwh onboard charger allows a full charge at Level 2 (240v) in 9.5 hours.
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A new version of Kia’s UVO telematics system allows real-time charging status and battery-level updates. You can also pre-condition the interior, schedule charging, or send points of interest to the navigation system.
Base Niro EV EX models have a 7-inch color touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and all Niro EVs include wireless phone charging. EX Premium models get an 8-inch touch screen with navigation. At the Premium level, you also get Harman/Kardon premium audio, a heated steering wheel, a power sunroof, a parking-distance system, LED headlamps, and mood lighting.
The Niro EV reaches U.S. dealerships in February.