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2023 Kia Niro EV Review: Charging de Niro

Lionel Kong
01/03/2023
2023 Kia Niro EV in Singapore

One of Singapore’s most complete family cars gets a full-electric addition to the garage


2023 Kia Niro EV


Launched: February 2023 – Price S$203,999 with COE (February 2023)
Five-door, small crossover SUV, five seats
147hp, single-motor electric, VES A1, 16.2kWh/100km


PROS
Spacious, upscale cabin
Impressive list of active safety tech
Great driving dynamics for a family car

CONS
Pricier than you might expect
Centre touchscreen small by current standards

SINGAPORE

The Kia Niro Hybrid launched in Singapore last year won us over with its thoughtful design, sure-footed driving ability, and amazing fuel economy. Now here’s a car that’s more of the same, but with zero tailpipe emissions. It’s the Kia Niro EV, and one of the first things that strike about the car is that it looks nearly identical to the petrol-electric hybrid variant, and also more amazingly, there are no ‘EV’ or ‘electric’ badges of any form stuck onto the body. It’s a sign that EV cars are quickly becoming commonplace here, and all that shouty, loud badging about electric-this and electric-that are no longer needed. 

2023 Kia Niro EV in Singapore

It’s all too easy to mistake this as an ICE car, but the closed-off nose of the car and charging port door are hints that this isn’t just another petrol-powered car. There’s an electric motor over the front axle tuned to deliver a power output of 147hp, and the lithium-ion battery packs give the car a quoted range of 400km between charges. 

2023 Kia Niro EV in Singapore

The interior is almost identical in layout to the Niro Hybrid, and has the same upscale feel as Kia’s current generation of cars like the EV6 and Sorento with the wide digital dashboard, plush seats, and clever dual mode control panel for the air conditioning and audio system.

2023 Kia Niro EV in Singapore

It’s largely touchpad based, but there are some tactile switches too. The rotary knobs on the dashboard do double duty as audio volume and aircon temperature settings, and the controls for the ventilated seats are actual buttons as well. There’s also customisable ambient cabin lighting, a trending must-have in this segment these days.

2023 Kia Niro EV in Singapore

Unlike the Kia Niro Hybrid which is available in two different trim levels the Niro EV only gets one high-specification version, and at a price of just over S$200k with COE it isn’t exactly a cheap car, relatively speaking, but it also has very few direct competitors. The electric Hyundai Kona has a cheaper short range variant but the long range version is much costlier than the Kia Niro EV.



2023 Kia Niro EV in Singapore

Still, as a complete package this car is more than just competent. By EV standards the power delivery may seem muted with a 0 to 100km/h dash time of just 7.8 seconds, but when compared to the range of very pedestrian, and by now frankly outdated Japanese 1.5 and 1.6-litre engined cars, it’s a gigantic step up in driveability.

2023 Kia Niro EV in Singapore

The way the car simply seems to cruise effortlessly is further enhanced by its subtle dynamism. Unlike the aloof, very detached and insulated feel of some comfort oriented cars, or the dull, appliance-like drive of some others, the Kia Niro does have a communicative chassis. The EV drivetrain has managed to maintain the balance, and the overall feel is a car that’s easy to manoeuvre, but still very comfortable to drive around all day. 

2023 Kia Niro EV in Singapore

While the official power efficiency is quoted as 16.2kWh/100km, having the car average somewhere between 12 to 13kWh/100km is well within reach in daily urban driving. Ultimately the officially quoted 400km range per charge is quite achievable.

2023 Kia Niro EV in Singapore

Kia also didn’t skimp on safety features with the Niro EV. Options that were simply ‘options’ a few years ago are quickly becoming standard fitment in premium cars and the Niro EV does feel like one. Active cruise control and a plethora of driver warning aids including lane departure assist and blind spot warning are fitted as standard, and these do much more for you than paying for a tacky aftermarket bodykit that does nothing for family car’s practicality.  



2023 Kia Niro EV in Singapore

As cars go however, a new Honda HR-V costs a lot less, and you could also get a Nissan Qashqai with this budget and still have a tidy amount of change left over. And that’s before you factor in the additional annual road tax that EVs get hammered with.

2023 Kia Niro EV in Singapore

Yet this is only if you compare costs directly with the Niro EV, as the Niro Hybrid is still a viable, competitive car when stacked against the immediate competition. You could get a smaller EV like a Peugeot e-2008 for example, but it also has much less range. As far as technology and comfort in mainstream EVs go however, the Kia Niro EV is one of the cars leading the way here. 

2023 Kia Niro EV in Singapore

Kia Niro EV

DrivetrainFull electric
Electric Motor / LayoutSingle / front
Motor Power / Torque147hp / 255Nm
Battery Type / CapacityLithium-ion, 64.8kWh
Standard Charge Time / Type7 hours / 11kW AC
Fast Charge Time / Type41 minutes 10 to 80 percent / 80kW DC
Electric Range*400km
0-100km/h7.8 seconds
Top Speed167km/h
Efficiency16.2kWh/100km
VES BandA1 / -S$25,000
AgentCycle & Carriage Kia
PriceS$203,999 with COE and VES
AvailabilityNow
Verdict:Same comfortable and upscale package as the Niro Hybrid, but with a big upfront price jump from the petrol-electric hybrid

*According to battery capacity and LTA homologated efficiency figures



Tags:

electric car EV kia niro

About the Author

Lionel Kong

An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.

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