Marrying crossover cool & EV sensibility.
The Busan Motor Show, one of South Korea’s biggest automotive events, is well underway. And naturally, the two biggest local players have pulled out all the stops to mark the occasion, with one of Kia’s headlining debuts at the motor show being this, the 2019 Niro EV.
The Niro, for the uninitiated, is a compact crossover that Kia sells in selected markets. However, in EV guise, the company aims to have the Niro available in far more markets than it presently does, with management going as far to call it a “global EV,” the second such model from Kia after the electric Soul hatch.
With intelligent packaging, strong practicality, and a long-distance driving range of 380km per full charge, the Niro EV will prove to be quite the headache to the recently-launched Nissan Leaf, which offers everything the Niro EV has sans the uber-trendy crossover look. With a design pencilled in studios in California and Namyang, the Niro EV was envisioned from the outset to have global appeal, and they seemed to have done it.
The Niro EV is based on a ‘Clean & High-Tech’ design concept, and its forward-thinking aerodynamic design is proof of that. The Kia ‘tiger nose’ grille now features an integrated charging port, replete with a Niro logo debased in it. There are also revised air intakes, and new LED daytime running lights, as well as blue highlights everywhere to emphasise the new-mobility factor of the Niro EV.
Also noteworthy are the muscular wheelarches, filled with 17-inch lightweight aluminium-alloy wheels, hiding a regenerative braking system behind them. More blue highlights are to be found towards the rear, framed by twin LED taillights with a unique lighting signature.
A sole interior shot of the Niro EV reveals things like a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, said to be replete with EV-specific features like charging location knowledge, power consumption levels, and so on. Another 7.0-inch colour screen takes the role of the instrument cluster, giving drivers more information at a glance. There’s also little unique touches, like a wireless smartphone charger on the centre stack, an integrated lamp atop the dash (that shows battery charge level), and a mood-lighting system (offering white, grey, bronze, red, green, and blue). There are also gloss-black and light-blue trims throughout, to highlight the fact that it’s an electric Niro.
Under the skin, you’ll find a 64kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, good for 380km of range per full charge. With a 100kW DC fast-charger, you can go from zero to 80% charge in just 54-minutes. And I speeds’ your thing, you can hit 100km/h from rest in just 7.8-seconds, thanks to the 150kW electric motor between the front wheels. There will be a more affordable Niro with a smaller 39.2kWh battery pack instead, which offers 240km per full charge, perfect for more urban commuters.
The Niro EV’s smarts aren’t confined to the powertrain alone, either. The Niro EV packs some serious advanced driver assistance systems like forward collision warning, collision avoidance assistance, and smart cruise control replete with a traffic jam functionality. All in all, the Niro EV looks like quite the city runabout, and we’re sure it’ll tug at the heartstrings of plenty of environmentally-friendly drivers.