Bowen's Report Card
2021 Kia Niro – An Electric SUV Hat-trick
- Three electrified options
- Great fuel economy (Hybrid/Phev)
- Sharp looking
- Pricing is way too high
- Limited warranty on EV battery
“To be fair it’s not a case of Kia donning a balaclava to rob you. Do you really think Kia Australia want to charge Tesla Model 3 rates?”.
The small Kia Niro SUV has landed with three electric powertrains, the only compact crossover style SUV to do so thus far. The Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) and Electric powertrains are bound to create interest, however has Kia managed to keep notoriously electrified powertrains prices right?
There are two trim levels for each powertrain, S and Sport. The Hybrid starts at $39,990 for the S, with Sport at $43,890. The PHEV is priced from $46,590 for the S and $50,490 for Sport while the range-topping Electric model starts at $62,590 for the S and $65,990 for Sport.
In short, the aforementioned high prices remain. If you want a fully electric Niro the blow may be softened via its 455km range, one that is endorsed by the gold standard World harmonised Light vehicle Testing Procedure (WLTP).
To be fair it’s not a case of Kia donning a balaclava to rob you. As a nation we regularly get a dud deal on a whole range of vehicles. This Niro is almost at the end of its lifetime for example. Do you really think Kia want to charge Tesla Model 3 rates?
The 64kWh battery runs an electric motor that produces 150kW and 395Nm. It’s a 356 Volt Lithium-Ion battery, meaning faster charging times. As with many electric cars it sits under the floor, helping to maintain a lower centre of gravity and disguise its 457kg weight.
The Hybrid model uses a 240 Volt Lithium-Ion polymer battery. It weighs 38.5kg and sits under the rear seat with a capacity of 1.56kWh.
Being a Hybrid, it still needs an internal combustion engine. Kia uses a 1.6-litre engine that makes 77.2kW and 147Nm. The electric motor adds a further 32kW for the Hybrid and 44.5kW for the PHEV with torque of 170Nm in both cases.
Combined system output for both Hybrid and PHEV is 104kW and 265Nm.
The PHEV variant uses two Lithium-Ion polymer batteries with 360 Volts combined. They’re located under the rear seat plus there’s one in the boot. They have a combined capacity of 24.7Ah and 8.9kWh with a weight of 117kg.
The petrol assisted models use a six-speed Dual-Clutch-Transmission (DCT). The Hybrid sips a claimed 3.8L/100km while the PHEV can achieve a mere 1.3L/100km.
What Kia Say
“Kia is thrilled to start its electric vehicle journey in Australia with the new Niro,” Kia Australia Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith said.
“The technically advanced and fun to drive Niro range demonstrates Kia’s research and development in this area is second to none and along with the recent announcement of the exciting EV6, these products are just a hint of what else Kia will be offering when it comes to zero-emissions driving.
“And it doesn’t stop with the product. Kia Australia has been rolling out an extensive network of training and infrastructure to service and maintain the new technology. Every service centre will have staff trained in the management and service of electric vehicles, and every dealership will have the ability to recharge customer vehicles.” Mr Meredith added.
Technology highlights include:
- 8-inch touchscreen infotainment
- Wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay
- Bluetooth multi-connection functionality
- AM/FM tuner with Digital radio and six-speaker sound system
- 4.2-inch supervision driver’s instrument cluster and drive mode select for Eco/Sport.
Comfort highlights include:
- Partial cloth and leather seats
- Eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support
- Six-way passenger seat adjustment including height
- Keyless entry
- Electric powered and folding mirrors
- Rear parking sensors
- Rear view camera with dynamic guidelines
- Tilt and telescopic adjustable steering
- Auto temperature control
- Leather steering wheel
The EV S model scores the most gear with:
- 17-inch aerodynamic alloy wheels with temporary mobility kit
- Dial type shifter
- 7-inch supervision driver’s instrument cluster
- Expanded drive mode select with Eco/Eco+/Normal/Sport
- Steering wheel paddle shifters
- Electro chromatic rear-view mirror
- Single zone air conditioning
Kia’s 7-Year unlimited kilometre warranty and 7-Year capped price servicing with 7-Year roadside assist is in place. However, the high voltage battery and electric motor are only covered by a 7-Year 150,000km warranty.
Bowen’s Report Card
I’m yet to drive the range, although I have driven the hybrid overseas. The pricing is too high for many, considering its a rather compact vehicle.
More to come…