7 Reasons to Avoid a Kia Niro at All Costs

Kia Niro

7 Reasons to Avoid a Kia Niro at All Costs

Key Points

  • The Kia Niro EV is a popular vehicle but suffers from several problems which may put people off buying it.
  • The Kia Niro EV has a limited driving range of just over 250 miles per charge.
  • There is a lack of public charging infrastructure for the Niro EV, making it difficult to charge on the go.
  • The Kia Niro EV also has a disappointing amount of storage space.

Thinking about driving off the lot in a brand-new Kia Niro EV? It might look like a smart decision on the surface, but there are seven important factors you need to consider before signing the contract on this electric vehicle. Turns out, the Niro might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Let’s break down each of these seven reasons to avoid a Kia Niro EV below. Only then will we know whether the Kia Niro is the right fit for you or not.

5 Must-Know Facts About the Kia Niro

  • The Kia Niro comes in three variants: a gas-powered hybrid model, a plug-in hybrid model, and a battery-electric variant.
  • Hyundai’s layout for the Ioniq serves as the same layout used by Kia for the Niro. Kia also chose to include dual-clutch transmission, which is not typically found in most other EVs.
  • The hybrid version of the Niro holds the Guinness World Record for the lowest fuel consumption by a hybrid. The vehicle journeyed from L.A. to New York with a record-low fuel consumption of 76.6 miles per gallon.
  • In 2019, Popular Mechanics bestowed the prestigious honor of Car of the Year to the Kia Niro EV. That same year, What Car? magazine also gave the title to the Niro — marking the first time an EV had won the magazine’s award.
  • The Kia Niro has an exceptional powertrain warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles. However, its limited warranty covers just five years or 60,000 miles.

Kia Niro Specs

Vehicle ClassCompact crossover SUV
Body Style5-door SUV
LayoutFront-motor, front-wheel-drive
PlatformKia K3 Platform
BatteryLiquid-cooled lithium ion polymer
Electric Range253 miles
MPGe101 (highway)
126 (city)
113 (combined)
Starting MSRP$40,875

The History of the Kia Niro

The history of the Kia Niro EV begins with the introduction of the Kia Niro hybrid in 2016. Kia’s Niro was their first dedicated hybrid model, designed to offer fuel efficiency and a compact SUV design with familiar Kia features. The Niro quickly gained popularity for its practicality and eco-friendly features, paving the way for an EV model down the line.

Building on the huge success of the Niro, Kia introduced the Niro EV as an all-electric version of the hybrid in 2018. The Niro EV aimed to go a step further than the Niro hybrid by providing a fully electric driving experience while still retaining the Niro’s practicality and versatility. At the start, the Niro EV’s release was confined to South Korea and Europe. Kia later expanded availability to additional regions in the years that followed.

The Niro EV made headlines for its advertised performance, range, and features. Its advanced battery technology, infotainment system, and safety technologies also turned heads. It wasn’t until drivers started getting behind the wheel of the Niro that the problems below began to surface. While Kia is expected to continue refining and expanding their EV lineup, it’s well worth discussing these seven reasons to avoid a Kia Niro at all costs.

Kia Niro parked in a parking spot.
The Kia Niro looks good on the outside, but examining its finer details reveals some serious flaws.

Why Avoid a Kia Niro?

Before you buy a Kia Niro EV, you should review these seven serious concerns below. The choice of a vehicle is yours alone. That’s why it’s so essential for you to understand everything there is to know about the Niro — the good and the bad. Remember, while there’s plenty to love about the Kia Niro EV, you must consider your specific needs and circumstances before making a final decision. Let’s go over these seven reasons to avoid a Kia Niro EV.

Range Under 300 Miles 

The Kia Niro EV has a limited driving range of just over 250 miles on a single charge. This might be fine for those simply driving to and from work or the store. However, those with longer commutes or busy daily schedules might not be able to work with such a limited range. 250 miles per charge is a lot better than some lesser EVs on the market today, but it’s still not enough for us to give an enthusiastic endorsement of the vehicle.

Slow Charging Speeds

When the Kia Niro first hit the market in 2016 and 2017, the included Level 1 charger required nearly 60 hours to get the car back to 100%. While speeds have improved somewhat in subsequent years, the Kia Niro is still plagued by tremendously slow charging speeds. Even with the Niro’s fast charger, it still takes around 45 minutes to reach 80%. Those in a hurry or with a busy schedule can’t afford to waste this kind of time recharging.

Not Enough Public Chargers

Depending on where you live, you might struggle to find an extensive network of charging stations for your Niro EV. Limited charging infrastructure is more than just a local issue, though. It’s a problem EV drivers face nationwide, globally, even. This sheer lack of EV chargers across the planet makes it extremely difficult to charge your vehicle conveniently while on the go. This is even more true in rural or less developed areas around the world.

Little Cargo Space

As if the battery range on the Niro EV wasn’t disappointing enough, the battery pack also takes up a lot of space in the cargo area. This eats up valuable space that should be reserved for storage. The most recent release, the 2023 Niro, offers just 23 cubic feet of storage space in the cargo area. That’s barely more than your typical sedan’s cargo space. For an SUV, 23 cubic feet just isn’t going to cut it, especially if you regularly transport large items.

Kia Niro with doors open on showroom floor.
The Kia Niro’s battery pack takes up a lot of valuable cargo space.

Large Price Tag

The 2023 Kia Niro EV has an MSRP of over $40,000. This is a lot more expensive than a gas-powered SUV (not to mention other electric models in this class). While Kia will try to sell you on the potential fuel savings you’ll enjoy with this EV, there’s no getting around that major upfront cost. More feature-heavy versions of the Kia Niro have even higher prices, with some toeing the $50,000 line.

Battery Degradation Risk

Despite how EVs are marketed, no vehicle on the market is truly perfect. Electric vehicles are undoubtedly immune from many of the most common problems with gas-powered vehicles, but they still have their fair share of unique issues to deal with. One of the most notable (and expensive) of these issues is the risk of battery degradation. Like all EVs, the Niro EV’s battery will likely experience degradation over time. This means the battery’s capacity to hold a charge could decrease, resulting in reduced driving range and costly repairs or replacements down the line.

Limited Vehicle Availability 

Despite these reasons to avoid a Kia Niro, the car is nevertheless in high demand throughout its available markets. Depending on your location, the Kia Niro EV might not be as readily accessible as you’d like. This limited availability in certain markets means it’s possible there might not even be a Niro on the lot for you to buy in the first place. Nobody wants to hit long wait times, nor does anyone want to settle for a disappointing alternative. For this reason, you may be better off exploring alternatives before setting your sights on the Niro.

In Review: Reasons to Avoid a Kia Niro Today

While the Kia Niro EV certainly has its merits, there are seven valid reasons why you might choose to steer clear of this particular electric vehicle. By staying aware of the Niro’s drawbacks and considering the alternative options out there today, you can make a more informed decision that best aligns with your specific needs and preferences as a driver. Ultimately, you must weigh these pros and cons carefully before committing to any vehicle — not just the Kia Niro.

Let’s review below.

  • The Kia Niro’s electric range is barely more than 250 miles per charge
  • Recharging takes longer with the Niro compared to other EVs
  • Public charging is nowhere near as accessible as it needs to be
  • Very limited cargo storage space thanks to a large battery pack
  • The Niro is very expensive, even for an electric SUV
  • The battery faces degradation risk, just as with any EV
  • Demand for the Kia Niro has led to lack of availability nationwide

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Frequently Asked Questions

What's the range of a Kia Niro?

The 2023 Kia Niro EV offers an advertised range of 253 miles. However, factors like driving conditions, temperature, and usage of features like air conditioning can affect the range significantly. Some tests saw reported ranges as low as 210 miles or less.

How long does it take to charge a Kia Niro?

The charging time for the Niro EV varies depending on the charging method. With a Level 2 AC charger, it can take around 9-10 hours to fully charge the battery. With a DC fast charger, you can achieve an 80% charge in about 45 minutes. Level 1 chargers can take as long as 12 to 24 hours to fully charge the Niro.

Can you tow with a Kia Niro?

Yes, you can do a little towing with the 2023 Kia Niro. While not explicitly designed for towing, it does have a tow hitch capable of hauling up to 1,000 pounds.

How many people can be seated in a Kia Niro?

The Niro EV offers seating for up to five passengers. It has a comfortable and spacious interior with ample legroom and headroom for both front and rear occupants. However, its cargo space is pretty limited due to the large battery pack.

Does the Kia Niro have all-wheel drive?

No, the Kia Niro EV does not have an all-wheel drive (or AWD). It has a single electric motor driving the front wheels, making it a front-wheel drive (FWD) instead.

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