Make / Model Search

Car reviews - Kia - Niro - EV Sport

Our Opinion

We like
Fit and finish, driveability, real-world range, urban ride quality, practicality, steering- and brake feel, quietness
Room for improvement
Price, will be superseded shortly, rural ride quality, virtual engine sound takes a little getting used to

Is Kia’s Niro the surprise package in the current range of EV offerings?

24 Feb 2022



THE KIA Niro is a small SUV that’s about the same size as its Seltos sibling, but additionally available in petrol-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid or battery-electric guises. The five-seat family SUV is offered in two trim grades per engine type – S or Sport – for a total of six variants all told.


The Niro range starts at $39,990 (plus-on road costs) for the Hybrid S through to an eye-watering $65,990 (+ORCs) for the top-of-the-range Niro EV Sport tested here.


We say eye-watering because, as good as it is, the BEV version of the Niro is more than double the price of an equivalent petrol-powered Seltos Sport ($32,790, plus on-road costs). Even if you are a staunch environmentalist, that premium equates to many tanks of petrol – enough to drive the Seltos 519,652km based on current petrol prices – or to the moon and most of the way back.


But we digress… Kia isn’t on its Pat Malone in charging more for the relatively new and, therefore, expensive technology employed in its EV variants. We are, by no means, singling the brand out.


The front-wheel-drive Niro EV twins share their drivetrain with Kia’s sister company Hyundai’s Kona EV. Battery capacity is rated to 64kWh with peak power and torque listed at a healthy 150kW and 395Nm respectively. When using a 100kW DC fast charger, the Niro EV Sport’s battery can be charged up from fully depleted to 80 per cent charge in around 54 minutes. When hooked up to or a domestic power outlet that window increases to all of 29 hours, however.  


Kia quotes a WLTP range of 455km for its Niro EV, which is 29km less than the slightly smaller – and marginally lighter – Kona. On test, we averaged 15.2kWh per 100km, which equates to a driving range of approximately 421km.


But what it lacks in range (compared with the Kona EV), the Niro makes up for in space. Cabin accommodation, especially in the back seat, is appreciably more generous than the twin-under-the-skin Kona, while luggage capacity also romps ahead with 451 litres over the Kona’s 332 litres. 


Equipment levels see inclusions such as regenerative braking, keyless entry, leather-accented seats with eight-way power adjustment for the driver, a leather-bound multifunction steering wheel, automatic LED headlights, as well as LED daytime running- and tail-lights.


Infotainment comes courtesy of a 10.25-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, multi-connection Bluetooth, digital radio, native sat nav, a reversing camera, plus an eight speaker DBL audio system.


The Niro EV Sport also offers a choice of four drive modes (Normal, Eco, Eco+ and Sport), paddle shifters for the adjustable regenerative braking system, an electrochromatic rear-view mirror, metallic-finish pedals, single-zone climate control and 18-inch alloys wrapped in Michelin rubber.


Safety kit is, likewise, well sorted and, might we add, wonderfully well calibrated. The Niro range includes, as standard, seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking with car-, pedestrian- and cyclist detection, lane-keep assist, lane-follow assist, smart cruise control and driver-attention alert with the Sport grade adding blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.


Service intervals are set at 12 months or 15,000km and capped-price servicing is available. Maintenance pricing tallies $1164 over three-, $1728 over five-, and $2803 over seven years. All Niro EVs are covered by Kia’s seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, but the batteries and motors are only covered up to 150,000km (guess you’re not taking that trip to the moon, eh?).


Drive Impressions


Okay, all joking aside, the Niro EV Sport is, as a matter of fact, a ripping little thing to drive. It’s a lot more polished than its size might suggest and is carefully packaged to ensure there’s not only enough cabin and cargo space, but also a generous level of oddment storage throughout.


It’s a remarkably quiet car to drive – even compared with dearer all-electric rivals – with very little wind or tyre noise to speak of. The interior is screwed together very well; there are no unpleasant rattles or squeaks at all. It really is a tranquil vehicle in which to spend time, and one we found exceptionally easy to manoeuvre, not least because of a tight 10.6-metre turning circle.


The Niro isn’t the rocket ship its output figures might suggest, but, for the most part, it doesn’t feel as heavy as its chunky kerb weight (1791kg) may suggest. Acceleration is smooth, completely linear and entirely fuss free. Kia’s offering is a particularly easy vehicle to live with in busy urban traffic – not only does it give you an appreciation of how EVs make sense as commuter cars, but also how noisy (and, frankly, smelly) conventionally powered vehicles can be.


The Niro EV hasn’t had the benefit of a localised suspension tuning program, but to be honest, it doesn’t suffer unduly because of it. Considering the vehicle’s intended application as a family hauler or urban commuter, it holds the road very well and rides with a comfortable attitude. It’s only when tasked with quelling larger bumps or hard edges at speed that the Niro’s bulk makes itself known, and you’ll feel the suspension working hard to keep the body’s oscillations in check.


The steering feel in the Niro EV Sport is light, but well metered and offers reasonably good communication with the driver. We also found the brake feel of the Niro very natural, which is to say it feels very similar to that of a petrol-powered car. And that’s a good thing... Many electrified models have wooden-feeling brake pedals, which tend to blunt the driving experience (especially in town). Kia seems to have found a way around this and the results are praiseworthy indeed.


One of the more interesting EV “tells” is how these oh-so-quiet cars tend to startle unsuspecting pedestrians in car parks. Like other BEV manufacturers, Kia has implemented a warning system that produces a hum at low speeds to alert pedestrians that a moving EV is in their proximity. 


Called the Virtual Engine Sound System, which is active at speeds of up to 25km/h, it’s an eerie tone that takes some getting used to – and one, we may add, that does little to project sufficient warning to shoppers as they amble to their cars. People have grown accustomed to listening (and not looking) for vehicles, which is something you really notice when driving an EV in a car park.


There’s a lot to like about the Kia Niro – and the new model, which is due in Australia in a few months’ time, is bound to grow the model’s appeal further. This is an entirely practical and liveable five-seater with the driveability and range buyers expect from small, electric SUV. 


If money isn’t a ruling factor in your purchase decision – and a battery-electric car is a must-have – then you could do a lot worse than to have the Kia Niro EV Sport parked in your driveway.

Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new Niro

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here