Kia Finally Discloses (Almost) All Technical Specifications for the Niro

When Kia presented the Niro on November 25, 2021, it failed to disclose any technical specifications for the crossover. One possible reason for that was that deliveries would take ages to begin. Five months later, we finally learned (almost) all aspects of this car.
Kia Niro EV 23 photos
Photo: Kia
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The Niro sits on the third generation of the K platform, also called K3. Before that, the Niro used the same architecture as the Hyundai Ioniq, called J Eco-Car. The change allowed it to be slightly larger. It is now 4.42 meters (174 inches) long, 1.83 m (72.1 in) wide, 1.57 m (61.8 in) tall, and has a wheelbase of 2.72 m (107.1 in).

The first-generation Niro was 4.36 m (171.5 in) long, 1.81 m (71.1 in) wide, 1.55 m (60.8 in) tall, and had a wheelbase of 2.70 m (106.3 in). Curiously, the EV version had different numbers for length (4.38 m, or 172.2 in) and height (1.57 m, or 61.8 in). The new Niro eliminated those differences.

We already knew the cargo space for the Niro, but it is worth mentioning it again. The second-generation electric Niro has a frunk with 20 liters (0.71 cubic feet) of space, and it is also the one with more cargo space in the trunk: 475 l (16.8 ft³), or 495 l (17.5 ft³) in total when you also consider the frunk.

The battery packs in the HEV and PHEV reduce the trunk space – the only cargo compartment they offer, for obvious reasons – to 451 l (15.9 ft³) and 348 l (12.3 ft³). It is a pity Kia did not find a better place to install these components. Something unusual happens with the second row of seats folded: the EV derivative loses its edge. The HEV offers 1,445 l (51 ft³) of cargo space, beating the EV (with 1,392 l, or 49.2 ft³) and the PHEV (1,342 liters, or 47.4 ft³).

Kia Niro EV
Photo: Kia
The HEV and PHEV derivatives use the Smartstream 1.6-liter GDI gasoline engine. Neither Kia nor Hyundai disclosed the thermal efficiency of this mill. When the Korean group introduced it, it only said it had the goal to improve it “by up to 50%,” which does not help much if we do not have the starting reference. It could be the case that Hyundai meant it wanted it to reach a 50% thermal efficiency, but we cannot say that for sure.

The four-pot delivers 141 ps (139 hp). In the HEV version, that adds up to the 32 kW (43 hp) electric motor, but Kia did not disclose the combined power – there are losses in the integration. In the PHEV’s case, it has a 62-kW (83 hp) motor, and the combined power is 183 ps (181 hp). The EV delivers 150 kW (201 hp) and 255 Nm (188.1 pound-feet) for a top speed of 167 kph (104 mph) and a 0-to-100 kph (62 mph) in 7.8 seconds.

There are three interesting aspects of the car that are related to energy efficiency. The first is its low drag coefficient: 0.29. This aerodynamic advantage may be lost due to the frontal area of the crossover, but it is an outstanding number for a vehicle in this market segment.

In the PHEV and HEV derivatives, the second-generation six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (6DCT) does not need a reverse gear. That alone saves 2.3 kilograms (5.1 pounds) while the electric motor takes care of moving the Niro rearward.

Kia Niro EV
Photo: Kia
The mass-saving efforts included the body-in-white. Despite being a larger vehicle, the second-generation Niro’s body weighs 20.3 kg (44.8 lb), while presenting more torsional stiffness thanks to the extensive use of high-tensile strength hot-stamping steel.

The last bit of energy-saving effort comes from a 5.5 kWh high-voltage PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient). These ceramic resistors are self-regulated by temperature. When the weather is hot, the resistance increases, and the resistors spend less energy. When the temperature drops, resistance decreases, current increases, and these resistors heat up. The PTC is used on the PHEV derivative, and it extends the electric driving range in cold weather.

Unfortunately, Kia is yet to reveal the battery pack's capacity for the PHEV version. It just stated that it could reach 65 kilometers (40 miles) of range under the WLTP cycle. The Niro powered solely by cells counts on a 64.8-kWh battery pack and can travel up to 463 km (288 mi) with a full charge.

The Korean brand said that it could go from 10% to 80% of charge in 43 minutes with an adequate fast charger. That shows it works on lower voltages than the EV6, which uses an 800V system and charges much faster.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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