2019 Kia e-Niro
It’s the Euro-spec version of the Niro EVby Andrei Nedelea, on
After unveiling the Niro EV at the International Electric Vehicle Expo in South Korea, Kia has also revealed the European version, dubbed e-Niro, at this year’s Paris Motor Show. It comes with two battery pack options, a range of up to 301 miles (or 485 km) on one charge, and it even comes with a system called Coasting Guide Control which informs the driver of the best times to coast calculated based on a planned route.
You may also have noticed that its name sounds like the surname of Robert DeNiro and Kia has gone ahead and embraced this and featured the movie star in its TV, digital and print adverts.
2019 Kia e-Niro
2019 Kia e-Niro Exterior
The Kia e-Niro looks pretty much the same as the Niro EV shown initially - that means it has a unique flush front grille part of which houses the charging port - the grille has a unique pattern etched into the plastic which probably tries to mimic it being open.
There’s also a new front bumper with a splitter and a different lower intake compared to gasoline-burning models - it also features “arrowhead” style daytime running lights.
It also comes with unique aerodynamic rims, but unlike many other electric vehicles, it doesn’t really shout about being electric through badging and noticeable details. Sure, it does have a badge on the rear hatch that announces it is electric, but there’s nothing on the sides or front - granted, its charging port lid is quite obvious up front, but it’s not explicit.
The rest is standard Niro fare, which means a decently proportioned crossover body with a fairly aggressive front end complemented by a not-so-aggressive rear. It’s not the tallest looking crossover around, but this helps it look quite good when going down the road, especially approaching you head-on.
2019 Kia e-Niro Interior
Inside the e-Niro, everything looks suitably modern and well designed, although it certainly isn’t avant-garde like any new Peugeot, for instance. But its air of familiarity and excellent ergonomics will certainly make the driver and occupants feel right at home inside.
The electric version gets a full digital gauge cluster, as well as a rotary dial for gear selection.
All buttons and switchgear are placed very logically and within easy reach, but its interior plastics feel very scratchy for the most part and this detracts from the overall ambiance.
There is soft-touch plastic on top of the dash, but even that isn’t especially nice to touch and the further down the cabin you go, the worse it gets. But you can’t fault assembly quality, though, and it helps make up for the so-so materials to a degree.
Plenty of blue accents in the electric version also help liven up the mood and the only other piece of criticism that can be leveled at its interior has to do with rear visibility. Between its rising side window line and small rear glass area, trying to know what’s behind you can be more of a chore than it should, unless you rely heavily on the car’s (standard) rear-view camera.
Getting in and out of the car is another strong point, with extremely wide-opening doors, door openings and high-placed seats. The driving position is also pretty good, helped by the reach- and rake-adjustable steering wheel, as well as
Its UVO infotainment, which runs on an 8-inch display, may have plenty of features, but it’s not as easy to get accustomed to like some others from rivals.
Once you do, it’s actually pretty good and feature packed; if you don’t like the standard system, it also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
2019 Kia e-Niro Drivetrain
Kia may have offered electrified versions of the Niro before, but this e-Niro is the first one that does away with the internal combustion engine. It is, however, offered with two electric motor options and two battery packs.
The less powerful motor has 134 horsepower and its 39.2 kWh battery pack will give it a range of 193 miles or 312 km on a single charge; it allows the e-Niro to sprint to 62 mph or 100 km/h in 9.8 seconds.
The claimed range numbers are calculated according to the new WLTP standards.
The more potent motor option has 201 horsepower and its benchmark sprint time drops to 7.8 seconds. Range increases significantly, to 301 miles or 485 km, thanks the larger 64 kWh battery pack. Both powertrain options improve efficiency using Coasting Guide Control and Predictive Energy Control and the driver can choose the level of brake regeneration by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Being a Kia, the car has a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty, and thankfully it also includes the motor and battery pack, along with the complicated electronics that make it all work.
2019 Kia e-Niro Prices
Having just been announced, pricing for the e-Niro has not been revealed, but the mechanically related Hyundai Kona Electric is already on sale - it even uses the exact same two motor and battery combos: the 39 kWh version costs from €34,600 (or $39,900), while the other costs from €39,000 (or $44,900).
2019 Kia e-Niro Competition
Being based on the same platform and sharing the same engine with the Kia e-Niro, the Hyundai Kona Electric is its main rival. It has the advantage of already being on the market and available for purchase, but its disadvantage is its polarizing styling which will definitely not please everybody.
It also looks a tad more premium and luxurious inside too and for the people who have no problem with the way it looks, the e-Niro will seem boring alongside. But the e-Niro’s more conventional (yet still distinctive) aesthetic will make it appeal more to traditional buyers who couldn’t put up with the Hyundai’s strange face.
Read our full review on the 2019 Hyndai Kona Electric
The all-electric version of PSA’s flamboyant looking DS3 Crossback, the DS3 Crossback E-Tense, can’t quite match the e-Niro for range or performance, but it certainly is more interesting to look at. Like the Kona, its styling won’t please everyone, but nothing else on the road looks like it and the same daring design has been carried over inside, where passengers will feel like they’ve stepped into sci-fi movie set in the near future.
In E-Tense trim, the DS3 Crossback uses a 134 horsepower electric motor drawing its juice from a 50 kWh battery. Claimed range is down even on the cheaper e-Niro, managing no more than 300 km (or 186 miles) on a single charge. Sprint time is nothing to write home about either, as it needs 8.7 seconds to crack 62 mph.
Read our full review on the DS3 Crossback E-Tense.
It may considerably more expensive than the Kia, but the Mercedes EQC is probably going to be on the wishlists of those looking to buy a high-riding electric vehicle right now. With a futuristic-looking exterior and luxurious interior, the EQC will be the first real premium all-electric SUV from an established automaker - it’s set to arrive in showrooms in 2019 with a claimed range of 450 km or 279 miles.
Performance is also what you’re paying extra for in the case of the EQC - it has 408 horsepower which can catapult it from naught to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds. Its price has not been announced yet, but it is expected to start from around €65,000.
Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes EQC.
Kia e-Niro will certainly find buyers who will be blown away by its claimed range numbers. It also looks fairly conventional, yet it does have some cool design features, and it packs a lot of tech to keep driver and occupants busy.
It’s also decently quick in its more powerful form, with 201 horsepower on tap, and racing away from the lights is what dads are going to do in this crossover when they’re alone in the car.
The fact that Hyundai launched the Kona Electric before it will hurt initial sales to a degree, but those who wanted the Kona’s capability in a less dramatically style looking package, and were waiting for such a car, they need wait no more. If, by any chance, Kia prices it to just undercut the Hyundai, that could also help sales gain traction at first.
Read our full review on the 2017 Kia Niro.
Read our full review on the 2019 Kia Niro EV.
Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Niro EV Concept.