20 November 2020

Kia Niro EV 2020 Car Review

The Kia Niro SUV was first launched in New Zealand back in 2018 as the world’s first purpose-built SUV designed solely for Hybrid and electric power plants.

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Kia Niro EV Premium 2020
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Kia Niro EV Premium 2020
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Kia Niro EV Premium 2020
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Kia Niro EV Premium 2020
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Kia Niro EV Premium 2020
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Kia Niro EV Premium 2020
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Kia Niro EV Premium 2020
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Kia Niro EV Premium 2020
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Kia Niro EV Premium 2020

The latest five-seater Niro offers something for everyone in three pure electric flavours: The EV EX entry model starts from $77,990 (+ORC), the mid-spec EV SX from $79,990 (+ORC) and the cream of the crop the EV Premium model from $85,990 (+ORC).

Gangnam Styling 

Our test model, the Kia Niro EV Premium, features sharper front styling with all-new LED daytime running lights and revised LED tail-lights. It sports a new bumper with the same silver skid plate treatment, complete with arrow-shaped reflectors and fog-lights, on the lower edge of the bumper.

The EV Premium also features 18-inch alloys, furnished with eco tyres to reduce rolling resistance for enhanced economy.

Extra attention has been made to the efficiency of this EV with even the out-of-site chassis, drivetrain and exhaust being designed in a way to create as little drag as possible.

Modern Cohesion

The interior of the cabin has a well thought out design, with the same accent teal colour making its way into the cabin from the exterior. Subtle detailing such as the stitching on the interior door panels and the leather steering wheel, as well as in the illumination of the new seven-inch supervision cluster are all minor touches to help remind you that you’re in an EV. The cluster allows you to monitor crucial statistics like current driving mode, battery charge and remaining range.

The EV SX and EV Premium models also now receive a more sizable 10.25-inch touchscreen display with satellite navigation.

Functionally, the Niro EV has a simplistic wheel gear change selector with just three simple options – reverse, neutral and drive. In the centre of the knob, there’s a push button that allows you to engage park. This was a very intuitive way to lay this out and seems to now be a trend amongst manufactures like Ford and Range Rover. We love the gorgeous textured high gloss handle shrouding materials which carried over to the dash panel to give a rather modern feel.

Our Premium model was dressed with leather upholstery accented with teal piping and stitching, with both front seats also feature heating and ventilation. The driver’s seat also offers two-way power lumbar support. The Premium model boasts a wireless phone charger, a feature we’re seeing pop up more regularly in SUVs of this style.

The Premium model also includes a lively eight-speaker JBL premium sound system, privacy glass for the rear and back windows, as well as Interior Mood Lighting.

Surprisingly, the entire pure EV range actually has more space than the Hybrid or Plug-In Electric Vehicle options with 451L (seats up) or 1,405L (seats down).

Intelligent Driving

With a single speed reduction gearbox and a wealth of instantaneous torque on hand, it all makes for a very lively vehicle, especially during short sprints. The Niro EV offers two drive modes so you can drive the SUV to your desired tastes - Eco and Sport.

Safety features are in abundance in the Kira Niro EV. Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Collision Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are all included to help you to get from A to B safely.

Taking you further

Kia Motors NZ has now standardised the all-electric power train around the larger 64kWh lithium-ion battery that provides 150kW of peak power and 395Nm of torque. The Niro’s pure EV model range no longer offers a smaller range option as there once was with the EX289.

This battery provides a capable driving range of up to 455km on a full charge and, using a DC 100kW fast charging system, it can take just 54 minutes to charge the battery up to 80%.

The only difference is with the on-board charger. If you opt for the base model EV EX, the onboard charger can only accept 7.2kW compared to the 11kW that the EV SX and EV Premium can accept. This equates to a difference in charge time of an additional two hours and 35 minutes with an AC charger. 

You get what you'd want

The specs even at the entry level are enticing, however, the top-spec EV Premium adds even more food for thought.

It’s also refreshing that it doesn’t really scream out from the rooftops that it’s an EV from outward appearances, similar to the VW e-Golf. With a starting price of $77,990 (+ORC), it really is worth a look especially considering the large family-friendly storage capacity and the abundance of standard safety equipment. All of this makes for an enticing choice for the schools run, as well a family road trips to the weekend batch with its capable range.

At a glance


Kia Niro EV


Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor


From $77,990 (+ORC)

ANCAP safety rating

EV variant not rated


64kWh Li-ion Polymer


Single speed reduction gear



Towing capacity




Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

451L (seats up), 1,405L (seats down)

Safety systems

  • Forward Collision Avoidance Assist
  • Blind Spot Collision Warning
  • Hill-Start Assist Control
  • Lane Keep Assist (LKA)
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Front/rear parking sensors
  • Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go
  • Lane Follow Assist

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