L.A. Auto Show – All-New 2019 Kia Niro EV Crossover Utility Makes North American Debut

2019 Niro EV, Road-Test.org, Iain ShanklandLOS ANGELES, November 28, 2018 – The new Niro EV opens a world of new possibilities for consumers who love crossover characteristics but also want all the benefits electric vehicles have to offer. Not only can they have all the functionality of a traditional crossover, but they can have it while happily driving past filling stations.

When Kia designed and created the Niro, it was engineered to accommodate many different advanced electrified powertrains. First to arrive in 2016 was the hybrid, then in 2017 the Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), and now a fully-electric powertrain.

Powertrain and Battery
Energy and power for Niro EV comes from a state-of-the-art, liquid-cooled 64kWh lithium-ion polymer battery that is packaged under the floor of the vehicle to allow for minimal passenger space intrusion. Fast charging rates are brief, so even extended road trips can continue after only short charging intervals. Some specifications and features of the Niro EV battery and powertrain include:

  • 201-horsepower electric motor with 291 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Charging protocol changed to CCS and battery can now charge at 100kW
  • Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge is standard equipment – approximately 160 km/100-mile recharge in 30 minutes or 80 percent total battery capacity in 75 minutes
  • Level 2 (240v) at 7.2 kWh charger needs approximately 9.5 hours for a full charge

The Driving Experience – A Blast on the Road and Flexible, Too
With 291 lb.-ft. of torque, the Niro EV’s powerful electric motor offers plenty of pull and, well, electrifying get-up-and-go. Add to that a low center of gravity due to the floor-mounted battery pack and a 106.3 inch-long wheelbase, the Niro EV delivers a vehicle that’s entertaining to drive, stable and feels planted and substantial on the road. Of course, driving style affects the amount of energy expended, and the Niro EV is equipped with a variety of tools that put lots of useful energy management control in the driver’s hands, including:

  • Four drive modes – Eco, Normal, Sport and Eco+ – that automatically adjust regenerative braking level, air conditioning and heating settings, and even set speed limits to help manage operating efficiency
  • Smart regenerative braking operated via paddle shifters provides drivers the ability to slow the car and capture kinetic energy, returning energy to the battery and adding extra range. Drivers can choose from four regen braking levels (0 to 3) depending on how aggressive drivers want the regen effort and energy efficiency (range) needs
  • Brake and Hold System feature allows regen paddle shifter to bring the car to a full stop, adding energy to the battery that would be lost using normal braking
  • Smart Regen System adjusts the regenerative braking level based on a vehicle being detected in front of the Niro EV and can create smoother coast-down driving, especially when descending a steep road5
  • Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the instrument cluster that helps to keep the driver aware of real-time power distribution based on accelerator pedal input

2019 Niro EV, Road-Test.org, Iain ShanklandDesign – A Unique Expression of a Successful Style
This battery-electric Niro EV is right on trend as consumers shift more and more to electric vehicles while looking for the attributes of crossovers, such as the higher seating position for easy ingress/egress and better visibility, and the utility and function for varied lifestyles (18.5 cu.-ft. of cargo space and 53 cu.-ft. with the backseat folded). In order to provide the Niro EV its own character, it has several unique exterior and interior design cues, including:

Exterior:

  • Unique front fascia with closed off grille – no need for an open grille, since there’s no internal combustion engine to cool
  • “Arrowhead” LED Daytime Running Lights
  • New lower air intake with EcoDynamics blue surround accent
  • Specially-designed 17-inch alloy wheels engineered to help reduce drag and improve efficiency
  • Reshaped rocker panels
  • Revised front and rear bumper fascias with blue trim accents – unique to the Niro EV

Interior:

  • High-tech rotary shifter dial (shift-by-wire) with available customizable “mood” lighting
  • Large, multi-functional center console with many storage options, cup holders, storage compartments and 3 USB ports – 2 charging and one connectivity
  • Niro EV-only seat upholstery with blue highlights
  • Available special blue and black high-tech “holographic” graphic door trim

Technology — Equipment-Rich, Advanced Connectivity, Safety Features, and Driver Assistance Systems
The Niro EV is loaded with high-tech, advanced automotive technology to complement its status as a state-of-the-art, all-electric vehicle. Equipment includes the “Kia Drive Wise” suite of Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, and a long list of standard and optional equipment, highlights of which are listed below.

  • 7-inch color touchscreen6 with rear view monitor and parking guidance
  • 6-speaker audio system (AM/FM/SiriusXM8) with USB input
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Standard wireless smartphone charging
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity with voice recognition
  • 7 airbags (dual front advanced airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, driver’s side knee airbag)

2019 Niro EV, Road-Test.org, Iain ShanklandVehicle Safety Systems
Antilock braking
Traction control
Electronic stability control
Hill-start assist control
Tire pressure monitoring system

“Kia Drive Wise” Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)

  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
  • Blind Spot Collision Warning (BSW)
  • Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
  • Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning
  • Parking Distance Warning – Forward and Reverse (available)

New for Niro EV is a revamped UVO telematics system that allows owners to monitor and control a long list of vehicle operations, including:

  • Notifications of battery and charging status
  • Real-time charging station update
  • Scheduled charging
  • Panic notifications – the vehicle will send a notification to the server if the panic alarm is triggered and the system dials 911 emergency services, provides the car position via GPS, and opens a live microphone so that emergency workers can communicate with the vehicle occupants
  • “Send-to-Car” points of interest (POI) and waypoints — owners will be able to plan a road trip with waypoints and send it to the vehicle’s navigation system
  • Pre-condition the vehicle cabin temperature prior to use

Made in Korea, Coming to North America
The new Niro EV will be built in South Korea at Kia’s Hwaseong manufacturing facility, right alongside the Niro hybrid and plug-in hybrid.
When it goes on sale early next year (pricing will be announced near the on-sale date), the Niro EV will be available in two trims, EX and EX Premium, which adds a host of upscale features to the already well-equipped EX.
Premium EX features include:

  • 8-inch color navigation touchscreen
  • Power tilt/slide sunroof
  • LED headlamps
  • 8-speaker Harman/Kardon premium audio system with external amplifier and subwoofer
  • Auto-dimming mirror with Homelink
  • Heated steering wheel
  • LED interior lighting
  • Mood lighting
  • Parking distance warning – forward and reverse
  • Deluxe scuff plate

Copyright © 2018 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
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