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10 Things To Know Before Buying The 2022 Kia Niro EV

HotCars logo HotCars 6/19/2022 Mohith Mohan
© Provided by HotCars

The Kia Niro EV is a compact fully-electric crossover SUV that is built on the same platform as the Hyundai Ioniq. Offered for a base selling price of $39,990 and coming in three trim configurations, the new 2022 iteration of the Niro EV manages to retain all the traits of the outgoing 2021 model and comes with very few changes. It has a single electric motor producing 201 hp, and it is capable of doing 239 miles on a full charge.

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The quirky exterior design looks alright even after more than 7 years in production, and we also admire the interior that comes filled with all the tech and features as standard. The 2022 model year also received a few more features like a 10.2" infotainment system, navigation support, and Harman Kardon audio system. Competing with the likes of Ford Mustang Mach E, Hyundai Kona Electric, and Volkswagen ID.4, here are 10 things you need to know before buying the 2022 Kia Niro EV.

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EX Trim Is The One To Go For

Of the three trims that are offered with the Niro EV, the EX trim provides the most bang for your buck. Available for a base MSRP of $39,990, this trim was found to be pretty value for money considering the long list of standard features and techs on offer when compared to the base S trim.

Some of the features like heated seats, automated emergency braking, blindspot monitoring system, lane-keeping assist, and wire Android Auto & Apple CarPlay are standard for the EX trim. Even though the top-of-the-line EX Premium trim is loaded with a few more features, the EX trim would be our pick since it comes with all the much-needed features you would expect from a compact SUV.

Superb Refinement Level

Being a fully electric SUV, the refinement level is expected to be better than the gasoline and hybrid variants of the Niro, and this is indeed where the Niro EV shines. Take this SUV to the highway, and it offers almost no electric motor noises, apart from a mild hum at higher speeds.

The aerodynamic design helps in cutting through the air, and the wind noise was as low as that of the Kona Electric. The EX Premium with the 17" alloy wheels wrapped in 215 section tires has a reasonable sidewall and that helps in reducing the road noise and tire noise to a great extent. The sound deadening is superb as well.

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Interior Quality Could Have Been Better

The interior quality is the Achilles Heel for the first generation of the Niro lineup, and this 2022 iteration remains more or less similar as well. Even though the overall fit and finish and plastic quality is better than in the older model years, it is nowhere as good as the ID.4 and Ioniq 5.

There were quite a bit of hard touch plastics on the common touchpoints in the dashboard and door cards. The fully black cabin doesn't look very airy, and the design feels old when compared to the more modern competition. The excess piano black elements do not gel well with the overall design language as well.

Brisk Acceleration

The single electric motor of the 2022 Niro EV produces 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque and comes mated to a single-speed automatic transmission and FWD drivetrain. The performance numbers are better than many of the rivals, and that also helps it to give out an impressive 0-60 MPH time of 6.2 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 14.9 seconds.

The low-end torque is where the Niro EV shines the most, as the entire 291 lb-ft of torque comes at the instant you mash the throttle. There is no delay in power delivery, and it is a breeze to drive. It is a capable cruiser on the highway, too, with more than enough grunt to overtake fast-moving traffic ahead with ease. However, we wish it was available with an AWD drivetrain.

Comfortable Ride And Handling

The well-calibrated independent front and rear suspension setup coupled with a reasonably stiff chassis and decent weight distribution give the Niro EV a good balance between ride and handling. The ride quality is excellent due to the suspension setup that is on the softer side. It absorbs most of the bumps on the roads with ease, and only the bigger ones filter into the cabin.

Even then, it doesn't jostle the passengers around too much. The high-speed stability is top-notch, and the body roll isn't going to be a dealbreaker. Even though the steering could have been done with a better feel and feedback, it is very sharp and direct. None of the rivals fare much better in this regard. The understeer was minimal and the Niro EV remains composed when taking corners at higher speeds too.

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Regenerative Braking Is Smooth

Like the Ioniq EV, the 2022 Kia Niro EV comes with multiple modes of regenerative braking, which can be controlled through the paddle shifters. When set to the fourth level, which offers the highest regeneration, one-pedal driving is going to be a very easy affair. It feels natural when you lift off the gas pedal and doesn't feel unrefined like some of the rivals.

The braking performance showcased by the 4-wheel disc brake setup with 12" front rotors and 11.8" rear rotors is excellent. The 2022 Niro EV could do 70-0 mph braking in 176 feet, and it doesn't feel twitchy under hard braking. ABS kicks in when necessary, and the automated emergency braking feature comes standard for all the trims.

Average Driving Range

The 2022 Kia Niro EV comes with the same 64-kWh battery pack as the Hyundai Kona Electric and the range of 239 miles is identical too. We found the range of the Niro EV to be better than the Nissan Leaf as well, however, the Chevrolet Bolt EV offered the highest range at this price point.

This compact crossover electric SUV can be charged through either 120 or 240-volt power outlets. There is support for DC fast charging as well, providing 80% charge in just an hour of fast charging.

Spacious Cabin

Being a compact electric SUV with one of the best wheelbase, height, and width in the segment, the 2022 Kia Niro EV is an excellent option if you want a spacious 5-seater. Getting in and out is pretty easy due to its superior height and ground clearance when compared to the rivals. The doors open wide too.

The front and rear-seat passengers are going to be happy with the headroom, legroom, and shoulder room on offer. The wide armrest and multiple storage cubbyholes improve the versatility of the cabin. However, the cargo capacity of 18.5 cu ft felt restricted when compared to the Kona Electric and ID.4.

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Standard Infotainment Is Packed With Features

The older 8" touchscreen infotainment system has been replaced with the more modern 10.3" unit. We have always loved this system which also comes in many other Kia and Hyundai monikers due to its superb display quality, easy interface, and the long list of standard features.

The fluid animations coupled with multiple knobs and buttons make it a joy to use. The standard features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM radio, navigation, voice recognition, and an 8-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. The audio quality is better than expected at this price segment, with punchy bass and clear vocals.

Lots Of Standard Driver-Assistance Tech

The Niro EV gets all the safety and driver-assistance features as standard. This includes forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. The basic safety features like airbags, ABS, traction control, stability control, and side-impact beams are standard too.

The solid external build quality due to the high-tensile steel construction helped the Niro EV to score an overall crash safety rating of 5-stars in the NHTSA crash test. It got a good rating in most of the subsections of the IIHS crash test, too.

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