After debuting last November, the 2019 Kia Niro EV is finally out and it’s a little more expensive than we thought it might be. Kia’s online configurator reveals the electric car will have a higher starting price than the related Hyundai Kona Electric. Both models use a similar 64-kWh battery pack and electric powertrain that delivers 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque.
The Niro EV starts at $39,495, some $1,500 more than a base Kona Electric. These prices don’t take into account a federal tax credit of $7,500 available for both models. The Kia is also more expensive than the Nissan Leaf Plus, which is priced at $37,445, while the Chevrolet Bolt starts at $37,495. Leaf buyers can snag the $7,500 credit but the Chevy is only eligible for a credit of $3,750 since GM has crested 200,000 EV sales.
Back to the Niro EV: The base EX trim comes decently equipped. Standard features include a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cloth/artificial leather seats, and an array of safety features such as forward collision-avoidance assist, forward collision warning, driver-attention warning, blind-spot collision warning, lane-change assist, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist.
Step up to the EX Premium, and you’ll upgrade to an 8.0-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a wireless phone charger, power sunroof, and navigation. Prices start at $44,995. If buyers opt for the $1,000 Launch Edition package, they’ll also receive LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, front and rear parking-distance warning, and a few other goodies.
Range from the Niro EV is a respectable 239 miles, very close to the 238 miles offered by the Bolt and a decent jump above the 226-mile range of the Leaf Plus. But the Kona Electric basically creams the competition at 258 miles; if you’re looking for a reason for the discrepancy in both price and range versus the Niro, look no farther than the Kia’s slightly larger size. The new electric Kia Soul, expected to debut this year, is rated to travel 243 miles on a charge.
To the size point, the Niro EV offers 2.6 inches more rear legroom than the Kona, and is larger overall in every exterior dimension. Just looking at them, you might not realize Kia’s EV crossover is 7.6 inches longer than the Hyundai with the same drivetrain. Curiously, though, the Niro EV has less cargo volume at 18.5 cubic feet versus 19.2 for the Kona.