2019 Kia Niro EV, with 239-mile range, gets the electric vehicle right

Posted On Monday, 29 July 2019 05:20 Written by
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The 2019 Kia Niro EV offers a solid 239-mile range. The 2019 Kia Niro EV offers a solid 239-mile range. Photo courtesy of Kia


Electric vehicles will eventually be coming to a mass audience. 

It’s just a matter of how fast they get here. 

And while that timetable is debatable, what’s happening right now is automakers are each making their claim on this territory at the outset. Kia has jumped into the fray with the 2019 Kia Niro EV — a full-electric version of it’s Niro crossover, which is also offered as a hybrid.

How does the Niro EV compare to the growing field of EVs? Quite well actually, punctuated by a 239-mile range, roomy interior and high-tech offerings.

While other EVs may get more press, the Niro EV displays enough positive attributes to be a dark horse in the EV battlefield.


The Niro EV is a compact crossover, but the good news is it has a roomy interior, even in the rear seats, beating out contenders including its corporate cousin the Hyundai Kona EV. Five people can be seated comfortably.

The materials used inside the Kona EV are not fancy, but not cheap either — about mid-range in the basic to luxury scale. You get 18.5 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats, 53 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. Compared to other EVs, it does well in terms of storage space.

I found seating in the Niro EV Premium comfortable even for long rides, and taller passengers will also be comfortable due to the Niro’s crossover styling. The design of the Niro leads to excellent visibility for the driver, and infotainment controls are easy to figure out and use. 

Upgrading to the Premium trim level adds interior lighting, a sunroof, rear parking sensors, heated and ventilated front seats, an upgraded sound system and leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver's seat, a larger 8-inch infotainment screen with navigation, and a wireless phone charger.


The maximum mileage of the 2019 Kia Niro EV when fully charged is 239 miles. That’s a tick better than the Chevy Bolt, 13 miles more than the Nissan Leaf, but 19 miles less than the Kona EV.

239 miles is a number that will make most people happy (though the number dips by about 20 if you crank the air conditioning). The trick for EVs is to get enough infrastructure for charging in place around the country, as it’s tough to use them for road trips without this.

If you can find the juice in public, the Niro's standard fast-charger port can add about 100 miles' worth of driving range in about 30 minutes (or go from 0% to 80% in 75 minutes). Otherwise, if you're at home and plugged into a 220-volt wall socket, the Niro's onboard charger can fill up the battery in about 9.5 hours. You’ll definitely want to upgrade that outlet to 220V, as a standard 110V outlet will take 59 hours to charge the Niro EV (obviously not a workable solution).

The official measurements on the Niro EV are: 112 MPGe combined city/highway, 123 MPGe City, 102 MPGe Highway. 

You can adjust the level of the Niro EV’s regenerative braking, which sends some of the braking energy to recharge the battery.


So how well does the Niro EV get moving? The heart of the system is a 64-kWh lithium-ion battery, plus an electric motor. Together, the two produce 201 horsepower, as well as 291 lb-ft of torque. It operates on a 1-speed, direct-drive transmission.

These are excellent numbers for an entry-level EV, and the Niro has more power than the Nissan Leaf Plus. It offers a driving experience that’s actually somewhat quick, powerful and enjoyable, words you don’t often hear about an EV that isn’t pushing double the price of the Niro EV.

The interior of the Niro EV is as quiet as Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, due to the lack of noise from the engine compartment and the strong build to keep out outside noise. To be honest, I forgot to hit the OFF button a few times and got a ding-ding reminder when I tried to leave without doing so. It’s that easy to forget the vehicle is on.

There are several ride modes offered. Eco mode is the most economical, but is pretty hard to stay in for long periods, as it feels like you’re not moving and traffic around you may get a bit annoyed. Normal mode is a decent experience, and sport mode provides a little oomph. AWD is not available, unfortunately, as this is a FWD vehicle only.

0-to-60 time was under 7 seconds, which is respectable. 

One area where the Niro excels is the bevy of standard safety and tech features it offers — where are more impressive than what you’ll get on the Bolt and other alternatives.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard for smartphone mirroring, as are Bluetooth and two USB ports. The UVO infotainment system and its touchscreen (either 7 or 8 inches, depending on trim) functions well, even if it’s not the most modern-looking system, and the Navigation system performed admirably.

Standard safety features include Blind Spot Detection, Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Avoidance Assistance, Adaptive Cruise Control, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Departure Warning.

The Launch package features auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink buttons, LED headlights, heated steering wheel and front and rear parking sensors. Niro vehicles sold in colder-climate areas also come with a battery heater and a heat pump.


The 2019 Kia Niro EV (Premium trim level) that I tested was priced just over $47,000, and the base price starts at $39,495. These prices are generally in the same price range as its competitors, and tax credits can help push the price lower.

Kia may not be the first name to cross your mind when the topic of electric vehicles comes up, but they’ve done an excellent job with the Niro EV, which is worth a test drive if you are considering an EV.

If your goal is to find an EV that’s roomy inside, tech-savvy, and will get you more than 200 miles between charges and serve as a great daily driver, the Niro EV is a solid option. Just make sure you have the proper charging solution in place.


Matt Myftiu can be reached via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.


Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2019 Kia Niro EV  
  • Price as tested: $47,155 (starts at $39,495)  
  • Best feature: No gas required, strong tech features
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Electric car buyers looking for a non-luxury EV with a strong range 
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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