The 2020 Kia Niro EV is a fully electric version of, yes, Kia’s Niro. Kia also sells the Niro as a regular hybrid as well as a plug-in hybrid, but the EV only uses electricity. For power, it uses a 64-kWh battery with a 201-horsepower electric motor that drives the front wheels. The result is both quick acceleration and an EPA-estimated range of 239 miles. That’s not quite as much as rivals such as the Chevrolet Bolt or Tesla Model 3 are capable of, but it’s still plenty for most EV drivers.
There’s more to the Niro EV than just some impressive numbers. You’ll also like its roomy seating and impressive amount of technology and safety features. This is one of our top-ranked electric vehicles, and it’s worth checking out. Niro EV test car accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. That’s noticeably quicker than rival EVs such as the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf, though the Tesla Model 3 is quicker still.
Braking is smooth and consistent. The Niro offers partial one-pedal driving, but it won’t bring you to a complete stop unless you hold the steering paddle. The steering is direct but doesn’t translate much feedback from the road. When the Niro is pushed, the suspension keeps the car planted and composed. It’s fun to drive this car quickly, though the eco-oriented tires provide only modest amounts of grip. We like the Niro’s ride quality. It smooths out bumps in the road without being overly soft or bouncy. The front seats are well shaped and firm, but they don’t offer many adjustments. The dual-zone climate control works quickly and evenly, and the rear air vents are a welcome feature for passengers.
The Niro EV is very quiet with little wind, tire or road noise coming into the cabin. At low speeds, the car emits a futuristic whirring sound that’s required to help alert pedestrians. It fades away above 20 mph. Kia nailed the Niro’s interior. The rear offers plenty of legroom and headroom and there’s quite a bit of open space up front. It’s also easy to get in and out of. The rear window is a bit small, which can hamper your view when backing up or trying to see what’s behind you in traffic. The Niro EV is easy to see out of. All the controls are easy to find and use too. The Niro’s infotainment system is functional and easy to use. There are EV-specific screens that show range, driving data and more, which is a welcome feature for eco-conscious drivers. Syncing a smartphone is easy, and the Niro quickly reconnects once you get back inside. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. There are one data and two charging USB ports and a wireless charging pad.
The Niro comes standard with a full suite of advanced driver aids. I enjoyed the smooth and easy operation of the adaptive cruise control, especially in traffic. The Niro comes to total storage capacity. It is easy-to-load nature and rear seats that fold flat. Up front, you’ll find a lot of places to store your small items inside the cabin. All four doors feature pockets and water bottle holders. The main cupholders are adjustable and can be folded away to provide another bin or room for larger water bottles. Its easy to install child safety seats in the Niro EV thanks to the roomy rear seat and easily accessible seat anchors. Depending on your route and driving style, you’ll probably be able to clear 250 miles without much trouble.