The Niro that heralded a new era of electrification at Kia when it debuted in 2016 has entered its second generation. As before, the new Niro offers a choice of multiple alternative powertrains and suits the needs of a wide range of environment-conscious customers.
The 2022 Kia Niro broke cover on November 25, at the 2021 Seoul Mobility Show. With its launch still a few months away, here’s what we know on the new Kia electric car:
2022 Kia Niro Exterior
The 2022 Kia Niro has an unmistakable road presence with a bold design inspired by the Kia HabaNiro concept from the 2019 New York International Auto Show. In addition to being significantly more premium, its exterior is quite funky as well, with a strong focus on tapping young customers. The silhouette is largely similar, but there is a greater degree of extremity at the rear, explained later in this section.
At the front, the Niro’s upper grille is slimmer, edgier and noticeably wider, covering the whole width of the SUV. The vertical headlamps and their striking ‘heartbeat’ LED DRL provide a confident look and aggressive styling to the SUV. The lower grille is taller and larger, adding to its assertiveness.
On the sides, the 2022 Kia Niro has new edgy mirrors and a contrast C-pillar, a feature that instantly reminds us of the HabaNiro concept. This feature would make the all-new Niro instantly recognizable, and it’s not just an aesthetic feature. It enhances airflow and improves the vehicle’s aerodynamics. However, we would like to point out that the Hyundai Bayon, also unavailable stateside, has the same style of lights.
The windscreen is extremely raked, in a steeper angle compared to the first-gen Niro. Another noticeable change is the relocation of the registration plate area from the bumper to the tailgate. Where the first-gen model has rounded elements for soft styling, the second-gen model has sharp lines for edgy and aggressive styling, and this applies to the rear windows and quarter glasses, too.
2022 Kia Niro Interior
Kia has been making great progress in the past decade in the area of interior design, and the 2022 Niro is the latest example showcasing that achievement.
The cabin of the Niro goes on a diet to free up space for occupants and be aesthetically pleasing. The slim and fluidic dashboard with its stylish off-center curves, the sleek panel merging the fully digital instrument cluster and the touchscreen infotainment system, the chic center console, the dial-type electronic gear selector, and the luxurious two-spoke steering wheel borrowed from the EV6 have made the Niro a more upmarket SUV.
The rising door armrests for the front occupants go well with the new curvy dashboard design. The smaller switches and other physical controls complement the new minimalist interior theme. Kia has used several eco-friendly materials in the 2022 Niro, such as recycled wallpaper (for the headlining), Bio PU with Tencel from eucalyptus leaves (for the seats), and BTX-free paint (for the door panels).
UVO Connect system
Kia should equip the 2022 Niro with the new UVO Connect infotainment system that is snappier and more intuitive and features more connectivity options in all markets. On-demand Find My Car with Surround View Monitor that shares images of the vehicle’s surroundings using cameras, Last Mile Navigation that provides walking directions to the vehicle, Connected Routing cloud-based route calculation system, etc., could be among the new features. The next-gen model should come with over-the-air (OTA) software upgrade capability as well.
Kia updated the UVO Connect app with improved graphics, revised menus, and additional functionality in June 2021. It may update the app again when launching the next-gen Niro EV, although not as extensively.
The updated UVO Connect app (called UVO Connect 2021 on the Google Play and Apple App stores) has new icons for a cleaner look. It features a new customizable home menu that allows the user to enable shortcuts for frequently used functions. Enhancements in the app include a revised settings menu and improved biometric identification as well.
2022 Kia Niro powertrain
Kia has not announced specs of the new Niro EV, but here’s what we know of the car in this aspect:
The first-gen Kia e-Niro packs a 64 kWh (356 V, 180 Ah) lithium-ion battery pack and a 150 kW (201 horsepower)/395 Nm (291 lb.-ft.) electric motor. It has an EPA-estimated range of 239 miles. The 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric with the same setup has an EPA-estimated range of 258 miles.
In some markets, the e-Niro is available with a smaller 39.2 kWh (327 V, 120 Ah) lithium-ion battery pack that gives a range (WLTP) of 179 miles. The motor generates 100 kW (134 horsepower) and 395 Nm (291 lb.-ft.) of torque in this spec. Kia may not offer the standard-range configuration in the all-new Niro EV, at least not in the UK, where more than 95% of the first-gen model orders are for the long-range variant. Paul Philpott, President and CEO, Kia UK and Ireland, revealed this tidbit to Autocar magazine. The company may address the needs of short-range EV buyers with the Soul EV henceforth.