Wow. Idaho got a few of these in. Our iMiev has been dropping in miles. Our careful winter driving yields about a 35-40 mile range. It used to be 55 in the winter. And there’s too many times where we need to go farther than that. And thus enters the KIA Niro EV. It was the only EV in car lots in East Idaho. The new KIA logo looks nice.
It’s great the iMiev 240V EVSE works with the Niro, howbeit 16 hours. The Niro came with a 120V EVSE (44 hour Niro charge time). The Niro EVSE cable is more flexible than the iMiev EVSE. The Niro version doesn’t twist up and harden in the cold.
Since the Niro needs (well… wanted) the 240VAC plug in the garage we moved the iMiev over and it can only reach a 120V outlet. So we use the Kia EVSE on the iMiev.
In the meantime, I did buy a Lectron 240V 32A EVSE (8 hour max charge) for my NEMA 14-50 garage outlet. Which means I have a spare iMiev EVSE. I’ve gone about 350 miles since buying the Niro EV so I’ve only used the Lectron twice. And it has worked perfectly. And for our future long-distance driving, I’ll bring that Lectron EVSE with me as an emergency.
The Runway Red Niro is the only EV we could find in Idaho Falls. We are used to the iMiev, so test driving the Niro twice (once in Pocatello and once in Idaho Falls) brought some surprises:
1. It’s the 2nd most comfortable vehicle we owned (Chevy, Olds, Toyota, iMiev, with the GM Conversion van being the most comfortable).
2. It’s nice looking. We don’t stand out anymore like an iMiev. The iMiev is cute; especially with my wife in it.
3. Pickup was great even in ECO+ mode.
4. Has a similar power meter as the iMiev has, howbeit an analog LCD guage.
5. Nice 3D GPS.
6. FM stations frequencies displays on LCD screen of Pixie Tubes! For some reason that got this old engineer excited.
7. The 8-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system shook the road. I’m not familiar with HK but it sure sounds great.
8. Can come to a complete regenerative stop with that left-hand paddle. The right-hand paddle can ease up the regeneration until you get into a free-coasting mode. I like the one-pedal driving. After a fresh full charge, you can’t use that. The screen displays something like “too full for regenerative braking”.
9. Can hold 5 people with good rear-leg room and height.
10. Has a lot of storage in the back. There’s a deep recess for more storage under the back floor. Maybe it’s for a spare tire. I found a pump and tire spray goop and hub-cap wheel locks there.
11. If the front window fogs, it automatically unfogs via some camera sensor. But the fogged side-windows will need a user to turn on the defrost.
12. Lane assist is a common feature and works great.
13. Heat-pump is amazingly fast and efficient on a 1F day; faster heating than my Prius. They put the heat pumps on the Idaho cars
14. On cruise-control, it keeps 4 car-lengths in back of the front car. I can get used to that!
15. I was behind a car at a stop light. The car in front turned right. The Niro beepd at me and displayed something like “front driver left”. That’s a big help for taking a nap at the red light!
16. The dealer told me “Don’t leave coins on the wireless phone charger”. Oh.
17. For shifting: very easy rotate knob for Reverse, Neutral, and Drive.
18. Usually new cars have 20-30K-mile tires to give a softer ride. Kia uses a Michelin Primacy 215/55R17 94V tire w/ 55,000 mile warranty! Rated for 149mph. But the Niro is computer locked at 103 mph… ~$200/tire.
19. I can open and close the outside mirrors. They close when I leave and lock the doors. When I get close to the car, they open up. It’s alive!
20. LED daytime running lights are great. Also the projector beam headlights are excellent like the iMiev.
21. The reverse warning is loud! Neighbors can hear it a couple of houses away. Sounds like a cement truck. Maybe KIA is paranoid about running over a 2-year old grandkid.
Some things my wife misses:
1. Smaller size
2. Smaller turning radius
3. Simpler controls
Wife and a college daughter still drive the iMiev. I drive the Niro unless it’s good weather (then I bike). My wife likes the iMiev because:
1. High view; easy to get into. The Niro is close.
2. High clearance so we don’t high-center on snow here. (Niro EV is also pretty good height).
3. Can make sharp U turns on small roads
4. Easy to park.
5. Easy to maneuver.
6. SIMPLE CONTROLS. The Niro controls scares wife (but she’ll get used to it
Our son wanted us to get a Tesla Model 3. I had to point out that:
1. It’s an 8-month wait for the budget version.
2. Tesla insurance was higher (new Niro is only $527/year with Allstate).
3. Wife didn’t want to sit that low.
4. Wife didn’t want main controls on a screen menu..
5. KIA has 0% 5-year financing for Feb 2022. It’s hard to beat that
6. There’s no Tesla shop/dealer here. Closest is in SLC. Having a dealer here is great. I’ve been enjoying the infinite free car washes… and soon the 6 free tire rotations.
When I talked to the Kia financer he said “You get free oil changes and…. oops. Well, you get free lifetime car washes!”.
So far, I’m in love with the Niro EV.