2019 Kia Niro EV Offers 239 Miles of Range for $39,495
The Kia Niro is already available as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid, but now Kia is going all the way with electrification. After a concept-car tease at CES 2018 and an overseas unveiling, the all-electric 2019 Kia Niro EV made its United States debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show and will hit showrooms soon. The base EX trim level will start at $39,495 (including a mandatory $995 destination charge), or $31,995 after the federal tax credit. Kia will also offer a fancier Niro EV EX Premium trim level starting at $44,995 before the tax credit, and $37,495 after it.
Kia calls the Niro a crossover, but the vehicle lacks some key crossover qualities. The Niro has a tall roof but a low overall height, and all versions (including the Niro EV) lack all-wheel drive (they are front-wheel drive only). It’s a bit confusing, but not surprising. Crossovers are incredibly popular right now, so it’s easy to see why Kia used that label to attempt to increase the Niro’s appeal.
The Niro shares the same basic platform as the Hyundai Ioniq, which is also available in hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric flavors. The Niro EV’s electric motor produces 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque and draws power from a 64-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The same setup will be used in the upcoming 2020 Kia Soul EV. Kia estimates range at 239 miles.
The Niro EV comes standard with a Combined Charging Standard (CCS) DC fast-charging system that can recharge the battery pack to 80% capacity in 75 minutes, or add 100 miles of range in 30 minutes, according to Kia. Charging from a more common Level 2 AC source takes substantially longer, at 9.5 hours for a full charge.
Aside from the all-electric powertrain, the Niro EV is similar to the other versions of Kia’s pseudo crossover. So the base Niro EV gets a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a host of driver aids including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and blind spot monitoring. The EX Premium model adds features like leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, wireless phone charging, and an upgraded audio system.
The 2019 Kia Niro EV is priced $1,500 higher than the Hyundai Kona Electric, making it the most expensive electric car from the Korean company (assuming the 2020 Soul EV won’t be pricier). The Kona does boast more range, at 258 miles, but it’s only available in California at the moment.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV has a lower base price ($37,495), but its tax credit has been reduced to $3,750, making the Niro EV cheaper once credits are applied. The Bolt EV also doesn’t get standard DC fast charging, and its range is one mile shy of the Niro’s. The Nissan Leaf e+ only offers 226 miles of range, but it’s a bit cheaper than the Kia. The Nissan starts at $37,445 before the federal tax credit, and the price drops to $29,995 once the credit is applied.
Updated on May 2, 2019: Added pricing and range.