driving the new electric Niro

You already know the final features of the new Kia Niro EV, but the copy provided to us for this first test has a slightly modified rear bumper. This is indeed a pre-production model, intended for full-scale testing before the start of production. At the moment, the exterior styling of the Niro 2022 can no longer be developed, but some interior materials of this “prototype” were not final. The software part, which can be developed until the last minute, also had areas of progress.

The new Kia Niro EV is 4.42m long, 1.83m wide and 1.55m high. It’s more of a crossover than an SUV.

This is the second generation of Kia Niro EV. replaces the e-Niro launched in 2018 after the hybrid version in 2016 and the PHEV in 2017. It was this zero-emission version that sold best in 2021, and the Niro even became Kia’s first sale in the French market. At 4.42m, the Niro EV is categorized more as a crossover than a compact SUV (Peugeot 3008 or Kia Sportage), which is 10cm taller. They are also often longer or even wider. Those dimensions make the new Kia a relatively livable vehicle (greatly improved in the second generation), but in a more compact and more traditional format.


Price Kia Niro EV 2022

Prices range from EUR 41,990 to EUR 45,590 excluding environmental bonus (see all prices for the new Niro EV). This first test driving a pre-production vehicle allowed us to discover that equipment may vary from country to country. For example, the copy available to us was equipped with a head-up display, which will not be available on the French market.

price Kia Niro electric EV
The premium version of the new Kia Niro EV is available starting at €45,590. His bonus is limited to 2,000 euros until the end of June. Then it will be 1000 euros.

The entry-level version in France is offered at a price of 41,990 euros, which gives a bonus of 6,000 euros (until June 30 – 5,000 euros after that). The higher tier (Active) also wins, but the Premium livery goes over the €45,000 mark and therefore you only get €2,000 in bonuses (€1,000 with 1uh July 2022). Note that the Niro only exists with a 64.8kWh battery, the 39.2kWh version does not carry over to this new body due to lack of commercial success.

Curiosity about the range the plug-in hybrid also entitles you to a €6,000 bonus. on the first two sets. This satisfaction stems from the fact that the Motion and Active liveries are homologated below 20 g/km CO2. Under these conditions, they have a price close to the hybrid version, the cheapest of all.


Autonomy and recharge time

From e-Niro to Niro EV, it’s just one step. The Korean manufacturer has just unveiled full WLTP certification for its new all-electric model. In the combined cycle, autonomy is declared at the level of 460 km. This is only 5 km more than the old generation. But this is not surprising, since the battery capacity has not changed much – 64.8 kWh versus 64 kWh before. On the other hand, the car returns to the “urban cycle” approval figure: 604 km instead of 615 km.

Kia Niro
The second-generation Kia Niro electric car will go on sale in July 2022. Its price starts from 41,990 euros, excluding bonuses.
Charging socket for Kia Niro
The charging socket is located in the center of the front grille. An 11 kW on-board charger is standard on all versions.

The newcomer, equipped as standard with an 11kW AC onboard charger, thus cuts the charging time to 5:45 on a box adapted to go from 0 to 100%. Forget about the classic grip right away, which requires a little over 28 hours of immobilization for the same exercise. On fast terminals its direct current (DC) charging system cannot rise above 72.8 kW, against 77 kW before.

However, Kia claims potentially faster charging times thanks to advanced software and battery thermal management. This puts the cells in a more efficient state during refueling, theoretically allowing a 10 to 80% escape on a fast terminal in 43 minutes. Kia points out that in this context, such a fee costs only 12.47 euros at the Ionity terminal (excluding the monthly subscription of 13 euros). Given the battery life, it’s pretty cheap.


Driving a Niro EV

Driving the new Kia Niro EV

The new Kia Niro EV is still dynamic and powerful thanks to its 204 hp. It has advanced in the area of ​​comfort, even if some thrill may remain depending on the speed.

Our test starts with a displayed range of 393 km with 100% battery. We are interested in this last figure, the rest of the data are taken from the analysis of the previous course. The digital universe consists of two screens reminiscent of those found on board the EV6 and Sportage. Showing good quality and nice graphical resolution, they are standard on the Premium version.

The dual-faced control panel at the base of the right screen, also taken from the Sportage, takes a bit of getting used to. Yes, and the gearbox control knob is also a curiosity, but you quickly get used to it. After driving only a few hundred meters, we notice two things. First, the steering wheel, quite thick, provides very stable steering with a lot of torque feedback. A point that will potentially be developed in the final version. Second, the brake pedal gives a very frank feeling of attack. Thus, it partially gets rid of the artificial side characteristic of electric vehicles.

New steering wheel Kia Niro EV
Massive steering wheel and stable steering for 2022 Kia Niro EV.
Gear lever new Kia Niro EV 2022
The center handle is used to control the gearbox. You get used to the treatment very quickly.

On the steering wheel, you also control the driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport or even Snow by holding the button down for a long time. In the city, the Eco is ideal, but this setting becomes unsuitable in terms of responsiveness after leaving the urban jungle. For that, a sport mode can be fun, but it’s not necessarily necessary. In most cases, the configuration Normal” will best serve the interests of the car. The Niro also offers more than enough power at 204bhp. and slightly less torque (with an advantageous gear ratio), making it still beefy but less restrictive for the front axle. The crossover wins in agility and driving comfort.

The Niro EV now comes with four regeneration programs that change the power of the engine brake. The strongest, christened I-Pedal, allows you to drive a car without touching the brakes in urban areas. The various options are controlled by paddles located on each side of the steering wheel. By keeping the left one pulled out, you immediately get maximum regeneration, no matter what mode is on, and that is until the car comes to a halt. When you release, you will return to the originally selected programming. Bus drivers who are accustomed to the Telma system will not be superfluous.

battery capacity new Kia Niro EV
Modest consumption on paper and on the road for the new Kia Niro EV: 17 to 23 kWh/100 km depending on conditions. Its real autonomy is from 350 to 400 km.

Outside of the city centre, the first corners are approaching slightly faster, confirming the new Niro EV is all about dynamism. Despite weighing in at over 1800kg, it gets almost flat and adds a welcome dose of comfort over the outgoing model. Our test model’s 17-inch wheels, which are less flashy than the standard assembly (18-inch in Premium trim) that will ship to the French market, may have something to do with this.

If this Premium version is richly equipped, Level 2 autonomous driving will require a €1,500 extension to get a very complete “DriveWise Plus package” in this area. While not essential for driving enthusiasts, it nevertheless provides important safety features.

Inside the 2022 Kia Niro

new interior Kia Niro EV
The trim level looks good, but some materials may not have been final for this Kia Niro EV prototype.
Kia Niro EV inductive charger
An inductive smartphone charger is standard on the top-end Premium version.
Socket Kia Niro USB-C
There are USB-C connectors on the rear seats in the pillars. Convenient for travel…

Power Niro front seats
Comfort is pretty good in the front seats. In this Premium version, the seats are electric.
Rear seats of Kia Niro
There is more space in the back of this new generation than on board the current one. Central Square helps out.

Front trunk Kia Niro.
A small 20-liter trunk hidden under the hood allows you to store the charging cable.
Kia Niro 2022 maxi trunk
In the two-seater version, the trunk of the Kia Niro EV is 1392 liters. It doesn’t have a double bottom.

Competition

Obviously, against the Renault Mégane E-Tech, the matchup will be interesting with the 2022 Niro EV. The French electric crossover is much shorter (4.20m), but it makes good use of its interior, offers good comfort and offers a great driving experience. Equipped with a 60 kWh battery in the Iconic Super Charge version, it has a WLTP range of 433 km and a price of €45,900, which puts it on par with the Niro EV Premium.

On the lower floor is a Chinese MG ZS. If the price is more attractive (36,990 euros for the long-range version of the Luxury), you will have to put up with more limited space, less prestige and too high consumption. Given the battery capacity and range, the closest model to the Niro EV is the Hyundai Kona. But the latter, although powered by the same electric machine, is smaller (4.21 m) at a fairly high price (from €41,200).

Find the test results and datasheet on the next page.

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