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Los Angeles 2018: The Kia Niro EV makes debut

Kia has completed its hat trick with the official presentation of the Kia Niro EV at this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show. The Korean automaker now has three versions of the little crossover to offer consumers.

More than any other, the Niro is the embodiment of what a crossover is; it’s neither car nor SUV, exactly. Although Kia itself gives it the SUV designation, no doubt wanting in on the trend that makes anything or almost with that label a hot seller. Except that, a model with just front-wheel drive can’t really be considered a true utility vehicle, even if it does offer ample cargo capacity because of its boxier format. So crossover it is, as the Niro does represent the bridge between car and SUV.

Our review of the 2018 Kia Niro

Photo: Kia

In any event, we’re already quite familiar with this Niro, since we have the hybrid version. 2019 sees the introduction of both the plug-in hybrid variant and this all-electric Niro EV.

Take note that the EV shares a platform with the Hyundai IONIQ, also available with in three different electrified variations. The Niro does however come with a bigger 64 kWh battery pack; what’s more, this is the same battery pack that will power the EV version of the Kia Soul, which also made its big entrance at the LA show.

Total output delivered by the 2019 Niro EV is the equivalent of 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque.

Photo: Kia

Official figures for the U.S. have not been announced, but over in Europe maximum range has been given as 236 miles, or close to 400 km – putting it in striking distance of the Kona Electric. We expect the North American edition’s range to be a little less than that, but it’s still substantial.

In terms of charging time, the Niro EV comes with a quick charging system that, according to Kia, allows for recharging to 80% in just 75 minutes, or getting a range of 160 km in just 30 minutes. When plugged in to a Level 2 charger, it will take roughly 10 hours to charge the battery completely.

For the rest, the Niro EV is identical to the other versions produced by Kia, visually and in terms of the equipment and safety features included.

Pricing will be announced when the model officially launches, and just before it arrives at dealerships.

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