Normally when looking at a vehicle evaluation longer than a week, we’d try to put it through its paces on some road trips, get a real sense of a strong level of use and really understand more about the ownership experience.
However, having picked up the KIA Niro a month ago, with just a couple of hundred run-in kilometres on the clock – it’s done little more than a few shopping runs and trips to the office and back.
Over the next few months, things will get more interesting. We’ve got the Niro EV’s siblings coming into the EFTM Garage, and we’re hoping an easing of restrictions means we can stretch the Niro’s legs a little.
From the get-go, I have some concerns. This is a $70,990 car drive-away.
For clear perspective, that’s over $10k more than a base-model Tesla Model 3, and more than what Polestar are planning to charge for the Polestar 2. That makes it a difficult sell. You’d have to be unaware of the EV market to buy a KIA Niro.
Seven years of servicing will cost you $2,803 – That’s only $500 less than a Cerato – so the overall maintenance costs aren’t exactly the biggest saving in ownership now are they?
So even if you’re saving $1500 a year in petrol, that’s $10,500 over 7 years, which makes this a $60,000 investment after savings are factored in. A big price for a small car, that I would best described as a hatchback on stilts – it’s got that ride height that gives cars these days a bit of that “SUV” vibe, but it’s not exactly big enough for five adults.
I know that after a month driving the car that’s more theoretical analysis than anything else but it’s what keeps coming up whenever I consider the car.
To drive I absolutely love it. The full EV feeling, in a car with all the normal bits and bobs like steering wheel controls, good infotainment system, Apple CarPlay (something Tesla still doesn’t have), and easy to access climate controls.
You have Eco, Standard and Sport mode and a range of well over 400km depending on circumstances. So I’m confident I can take this car anywhere the highway charging network allows me. We’ll be testing that soon!
As for the Niro consideration, you’ve got three models, a Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and the EV. Right now, given the price tag has a 4 in front of it, the Hybrid seems the smartest move. But we’ll put them head-to-head in the weeks coming.