Not before time, it’s a chance to dip a toe into the expanding pool of Kia electric
vehicles with a stint in the Niro compact sports utility, albeit the top-of-the-range GT-

And there looms the first obstacle: where the EV models open their account at
$44,380, plus on-road costs, for the petrol / electric hybrid Niro HEV S, the full
electric GT-Line sets back the buyer $72,100. That’s a big pile of dosh to step over.

And what do you receive in return?

The second-generation Niro has landed with a new look, new advanced technology,
reworked powertrains, for the first time Kia Connect connected services, and what Kia
claims is a 460-kilometre range.

Kia Connect is an intelligent remote-control app with functions including remote
engine start, door lock control and remote climate control, as well as innovative in-
car services such as destination and vehicle tracking and system status, valet
parking mode, local points of interest and emergency call feature.

Kia Connect is covered over the full Kia seven-year unlimited kilometre warranty and
is fully transferable.

The Niro EV has extended Kia’s vehicle bidirectional charging ability whereby the
vehicle can not only receive power but supply it from its high-voltage battery. In this
case the so-called vehicle-to-load (V2L) capability can be used to charge external
devices such as laptops.

Damien Meredith, chief operating officer of Kia Australia, said the Niro represented a
sizeable improvement over its predecessor, helping to bolster the Korean
manufacturer’s local line-up of electrified vehicles.

There is no mistaking the new-look Niro EV GT-Line with its striking colours. The test
car, for example, was Snow White Pearl with contrasting Steel Grey panels on both
sides between the C-Pillar and rear.

Underpinning this post-modern patterning were unique jazzy 17-inch alloy wheels.

Up front a compact LED light set-up combines headlamp, daytime running lights and
turn indicators, while rear lights include an integrated aerodynamic design that
cleans airflow to help improve illumination.

The styling is regular SUV stuff and in GT-Line is topped off with a panoramic
sunroof and powered tailgate.

Charge points are not easy to find on some EVs. Not so here: access is via an
instantly recognisable flap situated in the centre of where an ICE radiator would
normally live.

The new SUV platform translates to ample space inside the cabin, capable of taking
up to five occupants in relative comfort. Faux leather trim extends to front heated and
ventilated seats and two-spoke heated steering wheel.

Bigger than before, with every dimension but height increasing, seat and steering
wheel adjustment are adequate for comfortable driving, while the rear bench is flat
and can be firm on longer journeys. Leg and headroom are good.

The rotary transmission controller and push button motor start / stop switch share the
centre console.

Boot space, accessed via a power tailgate, has taken a jump to 475 litres but with
the seats down, 1392 litres is thirteen fewer than the old car.

An under-bonnet boot holds 20 litres and is home to the battery charging lead
in a dedicated compartment, while the V2L plug is located in the base of the rear
seat at hand for running laptops or other small appliances.

Two 10.25-inch screens take pride of place in the GT-Line’s digital dash – to the left
speedo and the right a power metre. The other media and entertainment screen is
packed with features including an innovative display showing the power flow and the
charge state of the battery.

There’s also a 10-inch colour head-up windscreen display, while an eight-speaker
harman / kardon audio delivers quality DAB+ radio and also has USB Apple CarPlay
and Android Auto. There’s a wireless phone charging point up front

The Niro EV 150 kW electric motor is carried over from the existing car, Kia stating it
now develops 255Nm – 140 Nm shy of the outgoing model without performance
being compromised but range being improved. Drive is sent to the front wheels
through a single reduction gear transmission, with the 64.8 kWh battery pack
enabling a driving range of up to 460 kilometres, five kilometres more than the car it

ANCAP is yet to assess and crash-test the Niro so it does not yet have a rating.
Eight airbags (dual front, dual side, dual curtain, driver’s knee and centre) feature
across the Niro range.

Active safety includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, forward collision
warning, forward Autonomous emergency braking with junction collision avoidance,
reverse AEB, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist,
reversing camera, forward and reverse cross-traffic alert, exit and rear seat occupant

First impressions are the quietness of the car – from engine and wind to road surface
noise – the result of advanced sound deadening material.

One of three drive modes – Eco, Normal and Sport – can be called up by means of a
steering wheel-mounted button. Eco is largely forgettable, Sport is firmer but less
economical, while Normal is relaxed and in keeping with the car’s character.

With a factory claimed 16.3 kWh per 100-kilometre average fuel consumption, the
test car recorded an accumulated figure of 14.1 kWh per 100 kilometres average
over a week of mixed driving.

A top-up battery charge of around 20 per cent, to 80 pc on a public fast charger, took
40 minutes, pushing the car’s range to 300-plus kilometres. Cost was less than $6.

Kia conducted a full ride and handling tune for the second-generation Niro in
Australia, making it the first vehicle from the Korean brand to receive steering map
changes since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Steering wheel paddles can be used to choose between three levels of braking
regeneration. The strongest is good in traffic and delivers a pretty good one-pedal
driving experience.

The turning circle is a solid 10.6 metres and thoughtfully Kia has kicked in with a
remote parking feature where the key fob can be used to start the car and roll it
forward and back to fit in tight garages or shopping centre spots.

The Kia Niro EV GT-Line is fine on fuel economy, comfort, range and charging
convenience. However, $70K-plus is a lot to step over before getting into the car.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 7/10
Safety: 8/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 6/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 7/10
Value: 5/10


Kia Niro HEV S: $44,380
Kia Niro HEV GT-Line: $50,030
Kia Niro EV S: $65,300
Kia Niro EV GT-Line: $72,100
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges.
Contact your local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Niro EV GT-Line single electric motor, single speed, FWD

Electric motor: Single speed electric motor
Power: 150 kW
Torque 255 Nm
Battery: Lithium-ion polymer, 64.8kWh
Claimed energy consumption: 16.3 kWh/100km

DRIVELINE: Single-speed reduction gear, front-wheel drive

Length: 4420 mm
Wheelbase: 2720 mm
Width: 1825 mm
Height: 1570 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 m
Kerb mass: 1727 kg

Front: Disc
Rear: Disc

Seven years / unlimited kilometres
Battery 150,000 kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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