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The second-generation Kia Niro has received its first model year update and entered the 2024 model year in the U.S. The electric SUV offers style, technology, and a futuristic driving experience in small and city-friendly dimensions. The 2024 Kia Niro EV has started arriving at U.S. dealerships and currently, I’m experiencing it out at the 2023 Los Angles Auto Show (2024 Kia Niro EV Wave variant) to know what’s new in the updated model:
The new Niro family features a funky exterior targeted primarily at young customers. While I’m generally not keen on vertical headlamps, the Heartbeat DRLs on the Niro EV are an exception for me. The slim tiger-nose grille lends a sporty appearance, though I feel the lower grille could have had a more intriguing design. Perhaps Kia can address this part during the facelift in 2025? I find the placement of the charging port at the front clever, as it facilitates easy access for plugging in a charger.
The 2024 Niro EV’s offbeat side profile makes it recognizable from a distance, largely thanks to the ‘Aero Blade’ C-Pillar, which is available in a contrasting color. Its unique 18-inch wheel design further accentuates this offbeat look. While I’m not particularly fond of the rear-end design, the slim, high-mounted brake light integrated into the spoiler and spanning almost its entire width is a feature I appreciate. For color options, the 2024 Niro EV maintains the palette of the previous model year, except for the Fire Orange Metallic.
Stepping into the interior of the 2024 Kia Niro EV, as a six-foot-tall person, I felt that ingress was easy, with the driver seat complemented with ample headroom. The 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat gets 2-way power lumbar support, and I felt that the vegan leather upholstery lent it a pleasing feel. Lumbar support and under-thigh support felt adequate, and the seat is well bolstered, with the headrest adjustable upwards and towards the driver. The two-spoke steering wheel is similar to the EV6’s unit, and comes with manual tilt and telescopic adjustment, physical buttons, and offers a decent grip.
The sleek dashboard tapers towards the passenger side, in line with the unusual exterior. I think the center console has a feel of car from a much higher segment, and it features two cupholders and a storage box under the armrest with enough space to keep things like sunglasses and a wallet. That said, I feel like the piano black finish is a fingerprint magnet, and requires regular maintenance.
The 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster has good quality graphics and shows EV-specific details like range, energy consumption and a power meter. The 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which features wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, has a familiar user interface. The climate control system is almost fully touch-operated, but I found it convenient to be able to change the temperature with dials, which can double as a volume adjuster (left) and a radio frequency tuner (right).
Entering the rear of the cabin, I had no challenges, despite my 6-foot frame. Perched behind the driver’s seat, which was still in the most optimal position for me, I had adequate knee room. I felt that the angle of the backrest was ideal, but a recline function could have made it even better. I had decent under-thigh support, and I imagine that I’d be comfortable in longer journeys here as well, though the floor hump would mean seating three abreast would be tight. No complaints with the headroom was and the shoulder room was also adequate.
The cargo area of the 2024 Niro EV is quite spacious, offering a luggage capacity of 22.8 cu. ft. (63.7 cu. ft. with the rear seats folded). Unlike in the old Niro EV, a dual-level cargo floor is a standard feature in the new model. Another interior change in the 2024 model is the unavailability of the Light Grey color package. All variants get a a frunk (front trunk) that unlocks 20 liters (0.7 cu. ft.) of additional cargo space.
Kia hasn’t changed the specifications of the second-gen Niro EV with the MY2024 update, which means it drives and feels the same. Going by reviews of the previous model year, it’s sufficiently quick as an urban commuter. The ride is a little stiff and the occupants do get jostled around on poor or broken roads. On the plus side, the firm suspension keeps the SUV planted around turns exhibiting reduced body roll.
The Niro EV’s steering is light and makes precise turns, which instills more confidence in the driver, something novice drivers will truly appreciate. The transition between the regenerative braking system and the disc brakes is smooth, and the driver can set the former in three levels. Thanks to one-pedal driving and its perfect tuning, the friction brakes don’t need to come into action in most normal driving situations.
The 2024 Kia Niro EV retails at USD 39,600 in the Wind trim and at USD 44,600 in the Wave trim. Both figures exclude a USD 1,325 destination charge.
The 2024 Kia Niro EV offers plenty of style, technology, and comfort, coupled with a good performance. However, for the same money, I would strongly consider the VW ID.4, which is bigger, more spacious, more powerful with the AWD option, priced lower, and is built in the U.S. and eligible for USD 7,500 Federal Tax Credit.
2024 Kia Niro EV FAQs
What is the 2024 Kia Niro EV release date?
The 2024 Kia Niro EV is now available at U.S. dealers.
What is the 2024 Kia Niro EV price?
The 2024 Kia Niro EV’s prices start at USD 39,600 (excl. USD 1,325 destination charge).
Which models are the 2024 Niro EV’s rivals?
The all-electric Niro competes with the Hyundai Kona Electric, VW ID.4 & the upcoming Chevy Equinox EV.
An automobile engineer by training, I’ve analyzed the global car market since 2005, with a keen focus on EVs since 2008. My journey in online automotive publishing spans 16 years, during which I have reviewed cutting-edge automotive technologies and interviewed leading CEOs and vehicle developers from around the world.