Kia and its sister company Hyundai are ready to drop some EVs with real range. We've already seen the US-spec Hyundai Kona Electric and learned about its Bolt EV-beating range, and now it's time to take a look at the Niro EV.
Kia has brought the production version of the Euro-spec Niro EV, known as the E-Niro, to the Paris Motor Show. We first saw the production version when it broke cover in May in Korea, but now, we're able to get up close and personal with it, and we can learn a bit more about what it'll offer in Europe and how that'll translate to the US market.
Under the E-Niro's body is an electric motor that puts out 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque, which means it's probably the exact same motor that lives in the Kona Electric. Two batteries are on offer -- a 64-kWh battery and a smaller, 39.2-kWh one, which also relies on a less powerful electric motor.
The E-Niro with the larger battery should run for about 300 miles per charge, according to the European WLTP combined testing cycle. In the US, that number will dip slightly, but it should have a better range than the 258-mile Hyundai Kona Electric. Regenerative braking will help drivers get a few miles back during a commute, while a driving-assistant system will offer suggestions when to coast or brake, further improving its efficiency.
The look of the E-Niro isn't all that different from the standard Niro, which is available as both a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. The charging port is located in the grille, which is closed off since airflow requirements are different than gas-powered cars. The bumpers are a bit different, and it has the same LED taillights as other Niro variants.
The story is the same inside, which is a bit different, but not too much different than the regular Niro. Since the E-Niro doesn't have a need for a transmission tunnel, the shifter has been replaced with a rotating dial, and Kia opened up some additional space for a storage area in the center console, which features six-color ambient lighting. There are bright blue trim elements scattered about, and Kia offers seating wrapped in cloth, synthetic leather or real leather.
There's a 7-inch infotainment screen, as well as a 7-inch digital gauge cluster display. In terms of safety tech, it's all there -- it can be optioned with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality.
While the E-Niro goes on sale in Europe before year's end, we'll have to wait a bit longer to get it in the States. Kia's US website says it's set to arrive in the US by year's end, as well, but we've heard that it's been delayed a bit due to increased demand in Europe. That's not a bad problem to have, even if it means we have to be a smidge more patient.
Kia Niro: Check out our review of the standard hybrid Niro.
Hyundai Kona Electric: Get the lowdown on the e-Niro's US-spec sibling.
Paris Motor Show 2018
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