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[Behind the wheel] Smooth and stable: Niro EV shines in the rain

Kia’s 2nd generation Niro boasts longer driving range with cheaper price tag

Kia Niro EV (Kia)
Kia Niro EV (Kia)
Driving a small electric vehicle in the pouring rain isn’t always pleasant. But the second generation Kia Niro EV has proven that even a small EV can be stable and smooth under slippery conditions.

Running on front-wheel drive, the battery-powered compact vehicle seemed to have an edge for driving in extreme weather conditions over rear-wheel drive vehicles. It comes with a 150-kilowatt or 204 horsepower single electric motor, enough for an average electric battery SUV.

During a 92-kilometer test drive session between Seoul and Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province, on Wednesday, the vehicle’s performance was impressive. The ride was smooth, even on bumpy roads or rumble strips on the highway. However, the steering wheel was prone to vibration from the road surface, which was a bit uncomfortable to deal with.

The car’s other strength is in its 64.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack, which allows excellent range. It takes only 45 minutes to charge up to 80 percent when using a 100 kW fast charger. Its practical traveling distance stands at 401 kilometers per single charge.

Although very little has been changed in the Niro EV’s interior and exterior, the charging port has been newly moved to the center area in between the front grill near the engine room. This is because it is built on the original Niro platform instead of E-GMP. The first generation Niro EV had a charging port on the right side of the front grille.

The Niro EV is positioned as an entry level EV, but additional functions such as Vehicle to Load (V2L), which has built-in plug-in AC power outlets, makes it as luxury as the Ioniq 5 or EV6. The Niro EV has a V2L capability for a total of 3 kW of power, compared to 3.6 kW found at Ioniq 5 or EV6.

It features a head-up display, a premium Harman Kardon sound system, as well as a semi-autonomous driving function which is also used in the luxury sedan Kia K9. HDA2, an upgraded version of driving assist on highways, helps maintain a set distance and speed from the vehicle ahead and assists with lane changes.

What makes this vehicle really attractive is its reasonable price.

Kia’s Niro EV Earth, trim tested for the driving session, is priced at 49.1 million won ($38,000) after applying the eco-friendly vehicle tax deduction.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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