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Kia Niro EV 2021: fully-electric SUV takes aim at Hyundai Kona Electric


Keen to embark on their first venture into electrification Kia Australia has brought the fully electric version of the Niro to our shores.

The 2021 Kia Niro EV has launched in Australia alongside two new hybrid variants as the local outlet takes its first step into electrification in our market.

The fully-electric Niro has been available overseas since 2019 where it is badged as the e-Niro, with Kia Australia opting to only bring the long-range versions of the small SUV to Australia.

Kia says the Niro will be joined later by the fully-electric EV6 midsize SUV when it enters production towards the end of 2021, though a local delivery date has not yet been set.

Kia Niro EV 2021 side
Kia has launched the fully-electric Niro EV onto the Australian market

Like the Hyundai Kona Electric of which it shares a platform and drivetrain, the Niro EV is available in a choice of two grades with the Niro EV S priced from $62,590 (before on-road costs) and the top-spec Niro EV Sport slightly more at $65,990 (before on-road costs).

The recently facelifted Kona Electric sits roughly even on price, though it should be noted a facelifted version of the Niro is set to arrive in Australia in around 12 months time.

Using a front-mounted electric motor, the Niro EV sends 150kW of power and 395Nm of torque directly to the front wheels thanks to a 64kWh battery weighing the best part of half a tonne.

Kia Niro 2021 group
The Niro is available in a traditional hybrid, plug-in hybrid or EV version

The Niro EV is capable of 455km of range according to conservative WLTP testing, a figure similar to that of the pre-facelift Kona Electric which now claims 484km (WLTP).

Once that power has run out drivers can plug their Niro EV into a 100kW charger and top up the battery from 0 – 80 per cent in just 54 minutes .

Impressively, the Niro EV has managed to curb its drag coefficient down to 0.29 thanks to a blocked off grille and underbody covering along with an active flap in the air intake that switches between cooling down the motor and optimal aerodynamics as needed.

Kia Niro EV 2021 engine
The front-mounted electric motor sends 150kW of power and 395Nm of torque directly to the front wheels

As standard, the Niro EV is fitted with halogen headlights and LED headlights, though buyers opting for the Niro EV Sport receive sharper LED headlights upfront.

Moving inside, Kia says the Niro is larger in every dimension than the Kona, with interior storage similar to the Kia Seltos small SUV, with the boot rated at a sizable 451 litres.

Sitting in front of the driver is a 4.2-inch digital display fitting between the analogue gauge cluster that keeps an eye on the range and driving models of the car.

Kia Niro EV 2021 interior
Buyers who opt for the Niro EV Sport receive a 10.25-inch centre screen

Kia has fitted an eight-inch touchscreen in the centre of the Kia EV S but steps it up to a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen in the Sport grade, with both featuring wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Niro EV Sport buyers will also appreciate the fitment of an eight-speaker JBL Premium Sound System – while all grades receive the eight-way power adjustability for the driver and six-way adjustability for the front passenger.

As standard the Niro EV comes with a reasonably healthy list of safety features including AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and a rear-view camera.

Kia Niro EV 2021 front 3/4 driving
The Niro EV can travel 455km on a single charge according to WLTP testing

Those opting for the Niro Sport also receive blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert and guiding lines for the rear-view camera.

Kia has also fitted a feature called Virtual Engine Sound System which as the name suggests generates a noise at speeds under 28km/h to alert others that a silent car is moving around.

The Kia Niro in both hybrid and fully-electric guise are now available to buy in Australia.

Kia Niro EV 2021: prices in Australia

All prices listed are before on-road costs.

  • EV S: $62,590
  • EV Sport: $65,990

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