2019 Kia Niro EV EX Premium: Electric Respect

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

As the axiom goes, “drop that zero and get with this hero,” but in Kia’s case, we can substitute the hero with Niro. Though, the crossover EV does offer zero-emissions, so now we have the best of both worlds and another electrified ride to introduce to individuals looking to reduce their carbon footprints. My Platinum Graphite weekly loaner came in the form of a 2019 Niro EV EX Premium with every offering imaginable. It provided quiet, clean performance and a 239-mile all-electric range.

Kia calls the Niro a smarter kind of crossover. The exterior resembles a slightly taller wagon in a bubbly shape. I typically like this style of vehicle a bit sinister, but since it’s an EV I will give the Niro a pass. Yet, the smooth sailing CUV incorporates a tailgate spoiler, body cladding, roof rails, electric blue accents, LED lights, an active air flap, and a distinctive tiger-nosed front fascia where the DC Fast Charge Port is located.

With an introductory price of $38,500 for the Niro EV EX and $44,000 for the Niro EV EX Premium, the pricing is a minimum of $10,000 more than the $28,500 Niro Plug-In Hybrid LX. Meaning, we all have to pay to play once entering the EV games. However, the tradeoff is the annual gas expense you save from the pump, tax incentives, and heightened conscience knowing that you are doing everything possible to bring sustainability to the world. My model was also enhanced with additional options that increased the price by $2,000, such as the Cold Weather Package 2.0 and the EX Premium Launch Edition Package. Additionally, as a vegan, it only makes sense to treat my body and autos alike, like green machines. If I’m going to eat clean, which means more quinoa and kale please, then I should drive clean as well. In my world, I’m used to paying a little more for things that matter, such as increasing life enhancement and reducing the use of fossil fuels.

Electric vehicles are fun due to their instantaneous torque. When you accelerate, the Niro takes off immediately! Here in Maryland, our roads are ideal for spirited driving since the topography is a mix of flat lanes, open highways, and switchbacks, which helped me truly understand the dynamics of the EV. I was surprised by the Niro’s maneuverability on the open road and got a kick out of Sports mode. The CUV utilizes power from a 150 (kW) AC synchronous electric motor and its high-density, lithium-ion polymer 64 kWh battery is packaged under the rear floorboards to keep from invading rear utility volume. The combined system output is 201-horsepower and 291 ft-lbs of torque. Regenerative braking occurs when you deaccelerate, with the ability to set the braking levels from the steering wheel-mounted paddles shifters. A nifty rotary shifter with LED indication is utilized to engage drive, reverse, neutral, or park.

Note to self, get into the routine of charging the Niro EV each time you come home, which can be a nuisance. The level 1 (120V) at my house required overnight and next morning docking. Owners will certainly have to install a level 2 (240V) charger that Kia says will take 9 to 10 hours. The (DC) Fast Charger, of course, will juice you up by 80% in just an hour. I would still like to see public charging stations increased because the one place I thought I would be able to reenergize at — Washington Dulles Airport — was full. I believe I counted just six stations in Garage 1.

Inside, the Niro’s cabin is reminiscent of typical Kia interiors with a clean, well-placed instrument panel, large touchscreen, logical control placements, and a multifunction steering wheel. The electric blue outlining the vents, steering wheel, and shifter instilled a feeling of serenity. The seats are a bit stiff, but I stayed occupied with the 8” infotainment system’s Harmon Kardon premium audio with eight speakers and Clarify technology to help expand compressed music to its natural state. Plus, Kia’s UVO eServices Infotainment (your voice) does most of the thinking for you. From its subscription-free services like Diagnostics, Geo-Fencing, Curfew Limit, and Parking Minder to its suite of apps such as Spotify, UVO is pretty cool. Working the UVO app from a smartphone, owners can set the Niro EV’s charging schedules, use remote commands, and locate proximate charging stations.

A sunroof and phone charging pad provide more comforts and the tailgate’s wide opening and configurable, folding seats for active nomads like myself, increases the ability to travel with sporting and adventure gear. Naturally, advanced driver systems help turn your EV into a smart car with Lane Following Assist, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Brake Assist System, and Smart Cruise Control to name a few.

The EV wave is a route we can’t avoid, and one that should be entirely accepted by the masses. So, start becoming familiar with the pathways to automotive carbon reduction and begin putting some respect on that electric name.

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