Earlier this year at CES, Kia took the wraps off a gaudy and ostentatious Niro EV concept that looked more like a supercar than a family crossover. We never really expected the production model to look like that because concepts never do; they’re mostly for show. Now that Kia has revealed the production model of the Niro EV, we get to see the more realistic CUV with an impressive 280-mile range.
Gone is the flashy matte paint job, stylized lights, and eye-catching wheels, and in their place is what you’d expect from a crossover in today’s world. It is much more reserved and road friendly.
The Niro EV retains much of the same design characteristics of its gas, hybrid and plug-in hybrid brothers. About the only thing that’s really been tweaked is the front fascia with a redesigned bumper to house the plug-in port and a new bumper with new fangled LED fog lights.
The real story here is the Niro EV’s battery, a 64kWh pack that goes 280 miles on a single charge on WLTP tests. However, U.S. commutes tend to be much harsher on battery range so don’t expect to get that much on a single charge. The Niro’s distant cousin, the Hyundai Kona, is also equipped with the same 64kWh battery and it gets 250 miles of range in the U.S. That is a better barometer for what to expect out of the Niro EV.
There was also talk of a smaller and cheaper 39kWh battery option, which is available to international markets, but since the option never made its way stateside with the Hyundai Kona, it’s doubtful it will with the Niro EV. That battery got 236 miles on WLTP tests, which means it would likely get under 200 miles in the U.S.
As far as performance is concerned, it’s anticipated the 201 horsepower and 291-pound feet of torque announced with the concept is the only thing making its way to the production model. That should provide plenty of power to get around town while also preserving some energy.
Kia will announce the final production model of the Niro EV with complete specs at the Paris Motor Show in October.