First Drive: 2019 Kia Niro EV

The Kia Niro hybrid crossover will be joined by an all-electric version that promises to banish range anxiety. With a 64 kWh lithium-ion battery sitting under the rear floor, it’s officially rated to deliver a driving range of 385 kilometres. That, by almost any standard, is very good, and as the drive proved, it’s a conservative estimate. The other tidbit is it takes the Niro EV just 7.8 seconds to scoot from rest to 100 km/h, so it’s mean as it’s green.

To differentiate it from the hybrid, the Niro EV gets a redesigned front fascia with a closed grille and built-in charging port, a new rear bumper and some blue accents to speak to the fact it’s a zero local-emission vehicle. Inside, a new rotary shifter and electric parking brake replace the traditional shifter, and the reworked instrumentation gives the pertinent electric data — range and what the powertrain is doing — in a clean and uncluttered manner.

Likewise, the large seven-inch infotainment screen has some added functions, including the ability to find nearby charging points, monitor the state of charge and view the driving range using the navigation system. It’s a slick affair eases the information overload. As for utility, the cargo area remains virtually unaffected, rated at 629 litres — versus the Niro Hybrid’s 635. The Niro EVs mirors the Niro SX in terms of content, arriving with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and so on.