I Drive The Freshly Updated Kia Niro EV For The First Time! New Styling, Good ADAS, But Not E-GMP
So we flew out to California to meet Kia for the event where they had three available to drive. They had the of course new, Nero as its hybrid, its plug in hybrid variants and the EV variant, and I was most interested in looking at the dedicated EV, so thats. What I did now. This new EV is rocking a very similar configuration to the one from the last model year. Its still front wheel drive only that front motor is providing 150 kilowatts or 201 horsepower its provided by 64.8 kilowatt hour net usable battery, so thats a very marginal increase from the last generation thats, supposedly going to give this 253 miles of range, which is a little Bit up thats the average kind of estimated range, no word yet on the official EPA numbers, but based off the last generation Nero and this being a slightly higher capacity battery. I think thats pretty reasonable. So I had the opportunity of sharing uh this car with Tamika from Tamika talks, who was also my B cam filmer, so Im gon na uh, just shout her out, put a link to her Outlet in the description. If you guys want to check that out, but yeah, this is the Kia Niro EV driving Impressions to follow thanks for watching, we are just spoiled by this uh yeah Im driving slower than I should because Im just taking it all in its beautiful here and uh. This Coastal Southern California town uh, which, as I understand it, used to be a big farming, uh venue and now its like everything in California very developed but beautiful place.
Nonetheless – and I love being in EVS because, like Im just appreciating around town here – the smoothness of the drivetrain – so this is actually a 150 kilowatt motor, so that translates to 201 horsepower so reasonably peppy, it is front wheel, drive only Nero has always been that way For the EV trim uh for actually all of Nero so unlike Kona, which this shares a platform for theres, no way you can get this with all wheel, drive so thats. Something to note um and I havent driven a Nero before. But the thing Ive heard is the traction can be limited by that, because in an EV you actually have to wait more on the rear than you do in the front like in gas cars uh. Just because of the way the batteries are located so sometimes getting Traction in the front. Its actually not like a gas car where front wheel drive is better in snow in those kind of conditions um, it can actually be worse but thats. Just a packaging thing. Kia had to make this as three models right: they had to make the hybrid the plug in hybrid. So, for those reasons, I think thats why they chose to make this still front wheel drive. This is not that egmp platform youre seeing in the Kia ev6, which I personally really like thats a much more high tech vehicle. Also one thats more expensive Kia has not told me pricing yet for this, but theyve strongly suggest that its going to be cheaper than ev6 by a little bit.
I dont expect too much, but my guess would be low to mid 40 000 range, which is going to put you um about in line or a little bit cheaper than the wind. All wheel, drive ev6, of course, that car has all wheel drive. It has the 8 volt fast charging, but from my conversations here, it sounds like egmp just wasnt a match for this product. That architecture is just its so new its high end. It requires a long wheelbase and because this is the Nero this is um. It is a new generation, but its still sharing that platform right with its internal combustion counterparts. So in some ways I think the vehicle is a little bit compromised by that. That all being said, I I still like how it drives. I mean around town. This is a super practical vehicle theyve actually made it bigger its a little bit longer, just slightly wider, a little bit taller too, and it actually weighs less in the EV version, which I am impressed by. I think they said the way they did. That is the battery capacity is the same so that hasnt really changed 64.8 kilowatt hours, but what theyve done is they made the vehicle stiffer theyve used higher strength, steel uh, so its like, I think, like 22 percent. Stiffer overall is a chassis um. If I remember correctly so, thats super impressive and I think, contributes to this being just a well balanced car.
It is front wheel, drive it has that issue, but uh were here in beautiful Southern California, perfect weather, so not having any traction issues today, and what do you think is a passenger Tamika? How are you enjoying it? I am really enjoying it. I love the ride. Its very smooth, you know, sometimes you feel that jerky back and forth, you know, as the power is cooking in that could be me driving no, but its very comfortable Im really enjoying it. So I really like the interior, though I like how simple the the turn dial is, and all of that and I like how accessible it is yes, so the switch gear is, I think, a lot of it is actually taken from their newer cars like ev6. So you can see this uh, they have the fancy, drive mode selected, this dial here, your EV power button. If I go up here, they have this touch panel for your climate control and your volume. This has been controversial. I know my boss Kyle, has mixed feelings about this, because this dial can either be your volume dial or your temperature dial, depending on the context, and you can see how that can be an issue right. Yes, oh its cold. Let me warm up. Oh my gosh. My eardrums, so you know it looks nice, but I think functionality wise, maybe they they might have flown a bit too close to the Sun. With this kind of fancy setup.
It looks very nice, though it and uh Tech wise. We have a USB a port and a USBC port and in this higher trim of the EV, a Qi, wireless charger. So a lot of flexibility there absolutely and I like the size of the dashboard screen. Yes, the dashboard screen is very nice. I think both this and the gauge cluster are like 10 inch screens, so they say you get 20 inches of combined uh screen area. So um, not you know. Cars nowadays all have giant screens, but I think this is pretty standard in line theyre high quality screens. I, like them, uh pretty clear to see. I of course, have my power and my charge meter, because this is an EV also um. The heads up display its probably not going to show up on camera, but there is a heads up display its only offered on the EV versions of this car, and I, like it very much a lot like I havent used Too Many heads up displays, but Ive Used those cheap ones that are like a plastic fold out. This is a real heads up display on the windshield um its clear to me, its just showing me the speed limit and the speed Im going, uh reasonably sharp and Im, seeing it in the sunlight pretty well, and the age I have to say is really well Controlled in this car uh, like kind of approaching the luxury space, its very common were not you know, on a highway were going about 40 miles an hour, but even still Im hearing very little of the outside world window windows up uh and thats, really relaxing combined With the fact that this isnt Eevee, of course, that we dont have that 1.
6 liter engine, like you, would um coming on in either the hybrid or the plug in hybrid they make. This is just pure EV and thats. How I like it because its so simple so smooth and its its very common, I could almost fall asleep but of course, Im not going to because Im driving, but its very, very sedate driving this around. Now we have the in car and navigation working thanks to Tamika and her Tech expertise here, uh, which is great so were we have this beautiful route to the golf course here. Um, as you would you know, in your Kia, Niro EV and the heads up display is actually showing the navigation for me, so thats really cool Im, seeing uh the prompt from the Kia navigation system uh. I like this system, Ive used it before uh. This has a split screen functionality because its a 10 inch screen so thats cool. We have our Sirius XM, chill playing, maybe Ill quiet that down for copyright but its nice, and then you have your map so really enjoyable in that respect, uh and also the fact that um we have all of the Adas or the Adaptive driver assistance Technologies. A lot of that is standard thats, pretty common among your volume, Brands, Honda, Toyota, Kia, Hyundai theyre, all doing it, but Kia and Hyundais system is among the better ones. This has Im gon na forget all of the acronyms, but like forward Collision warning, of course, and braking rear cross traffic alert.
It has a safe exit warning. So if youre opening the door and a cyclist is coming itll warn you itll, warn you if theres rear passengers, you left behind its warning me when theres stuff on my blind spot. Of course, it has the blind spot detection protected Lane changes and because this is the EV its offered with highway driving assist too, which is like, if youve been paying attention in this space, one of the best systems on the market for autonomous driving itll do automated Lane changes, so all you have to do is just put in your turn signal. The car will figure out the lane change when youre on the highway, of course, its adaptive cruise control its keeping you in your lane. It uses machine learning to actually learn your driving style and adapt how it applies region and acceleration to basically create a smooth mimicry of how you would drive with the adaptive cruise control. So thats super smart and of course it will slow down for Curves, like the systems have done for a while. So when youre going around a curve or based off navigation, itll know to slow down and not but say take it at 60 miles an hour that, I think, is a super cool feature and hda2 from everything. Ive heard, like I said, one of the best systems so having it in EV here is really nice, its interesting that its only in the EV then didnt talk about offering it in those Hybrid models, so it seems like theyre, really positioning this EV model as being A very Tech, heavy vehicle and thats how it feels on the inside.
I mean its a little bit like driving the future. This whole interior is um its nice and its very modern yeah. I agree with you. I love that its 360 Degrees basically of protection. Yes, thats a good point right because they added the side, uh detection, so basically they showed basically they had an ad spot. They showed us if you have an intersection right and theres a car thats going to come on your left or your right. The car will actually know to stop and avoid that Collision. So no system is foolproof. Obviously, dont try to get into an accident, but among uh among those systems. This is covering your bases pretty well between the rear, the front and the Side Collision warning. It definitely makes a difference when you know now that youre buying cars, you have to think about your family, think about teenagers that are going to be driving yes and oftentimes theyre distracted. So I love the the 360 degree of protection you know kind of makes. You feel safer, absolutely nowadays were all too distracted, so its nice that the cars are getting smarter for us and helping us out a little bit in that regard and among cars that do that. Kian Hyundai have really been knocking out of the park with their standard Safety Systems. Now, in terms of efficiency, I just weve just been driving around, not that much Im currently seeing 3.2 miles a kilowatt hour, knowing that this is a Kia product and its the Nero in particular its always been efficient.
I think we can get better than that closer to that four miles. A kilowatt hour range its just Im sure this vehicle has been driven by KIA press people uh. You know in situations that maybe dont highlight its efficiency and right now were just going around town up these slight Hills, but um even still 3.3 miles a kilowatt hour for a compact SUV like this is pretty good and, like you were saying to Mika, like you Know, families practicality wise, like this is a great fit vehicle for that right. Absolutely yeah, and I mean just two of us in here: weve got our bags in the back, but plenty of space very roomy. It looks like the backseat passengers will be quite comfortable too. By the way these seats are sustainable, its not just the EV powertrain. What do they say? I think its like recycled eucalyptus leaves yes, the seats are yes yeah in the seats um, then the back is recycled, wallpaper its like yes in the headliner above us, and you can feel it its a little weird, but you know I think its okay uh, like You know if, if they didnt tell me it was vegan and recycled, I might think its a styrofoam special, but it actually is uh vegan um according to them, and they have btx free paint on the outside theyre, also using uh biopolyurethane materials. A lot of acronyms again that I dont know all know what they mean, but Kia assures me that this is a very vegan interior and I believe it being in here.
It does feel nice and I think, its a good um. Its a good kind of holistic approach, theyre taking to making these EVS uh not just sustainable from the drivetrain, but also how they make them right, theres, a lot of material that goes into these Interiors, so the more sustainable you can make that the better its very Clever on Kias part that they have us head out at like 10 30 on Tuesday, instead of like what 8, 30 or 9, because I feel like you wont, want to be on this highway two hours ago. Whenever rush hour begins yeah, we would be totally sitting not doing anything, absolutely really testing that stop and go which, by the way, Im going to try to turn on cruise control um with the Adaptive they call it SCC. I believe that stands maybe that sensor cruise control and Im using HDA. So what its going to do is its basically going to match the speed of course of the car in front of me. I can tweak that here very easily with the steering wheel, controls, uh and Im gon na try one of those automated Lane changes lets see if the car can do it. Uh looks like its not doing it yet because there is a truck that is actually going in my blind spot so Im going to cancel that turn signal for the moment. Um the system errors towards being conservative, which I totally understand you Id rather do that than be uh.
You know aggressive driver and whoa. I just did it and now the car is changing lanes. Uh, okay, I reminded you to keep your hands on this terrible. I wish I was not human error. The car is just smarter than me. What can I say, uh wow this system really good its not like you know, were were in the real world, but not all the drivers around us are robots, theyre acting erratically. You know they can be jerky. The system is not over sensitive to that. Its not like a lot of radar cruise control systems will be very jumpy um. This is so smooth. I mean its driving better, almost better than I would so. I, like it a lot Ill turn that off for the moment and then Im gon na just play with the region a bit um so yeah. Basically, my left paddle is going to add more regen, meaning Im actually going to slow down quicker. My right paddle is going to simulate almost like upshifting gears, where its gon na just slow down less quickly. So I didnt have that much time in California to drive the Nero. But on this first drive I was impressed with the nvh and the comfort of the vehicle. It is, of course, a Nero its a front: wheel, drive SUV, so very kind of floaty ride, uh not really sporty at all. However, I think the electric motor does this vehicle a huge solid, because I had the opportunity to drive the normal hybrid with that 1.
6 liter gasoline ice engine right and I think the acceleration feel was much more peppy in the EV. You know its not fast its not competing at all with anything like a model, 3 Performance or any of the you know, more sophisticated dual motor. All wheel drive electric vehicles out there, but much more. I think, in line with what you would expect, then its kind of um, slower gas Brethren so EV in my opinion, is the power drain to go with the big question with Nero is going to be price and, of course, the traction situation with front wheel, drive Ill be very curious to see if we can kind of review this more in depth in Colorado, hopefully later so stay tuned to out of spec reviews for that. But in terms of that overall pass package, I think the interior, the new tech features, the add ons for Value like highway driving Assist 2 are really big draws for new Nero, especially that new styling too, on the outside thats, going to make a lot of people Happy because the last generation was already, you know an efficient good value. The question is: can Kia keep that low, compelling price point, especially when they themselves have ev6, which is gon na sit, definitely higher in the price ladder among the Euro? But the question is how much higher because uh? Well, I think, Nero EV has to be cheap right. It has to be cheap to justify its slower charging rate and its uh front wheel drive only configuration in terms of what its offering, though, as a package.
The overall efficiency, the actual range youre getting the numbers, are looking promising so far lets stay tuned to out of spec reviews.