The 2021 Kia Niro Electric Is Held Back by a Glaring Issue

A little over 15 years ago, Kia was the rental car you hoped your company didn’t stick you with. Over the past few years, however, the South Korean auto manufacturer has done a lot of things right. It went from having a seemingly permanent place at the bottom of the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) to dominating it.

Since then, being handed the keys to a Kia is more than acceptable. But you can’t do all things perfectly all the time. Taking a look at Consumer Reports’ latest review of the 2021 Niro, Kia is having one of those times.

It takes nearly 10 hours to charge the 2021 Kia Niro Electric

A Kia Niro on display at an auto show
An electric Kia Niro | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Waiting 10 hours for almost anything these days is almost unthinkable. From the way we feed ourselves to the way we socialize, the “Now Culture” is ever consuming. Well, if you buy a 2021 Kia Niro Electric, get used to scheduling everything with time to spare.

In Consumer Reports’ 2021 review of the Kia Niro Electric, they found it takes nearly 10 hours to get it fully charged from 10% on a 240-volt connection. According to J.D. Power, the average time it takes to completely top up an EV’s battery using Level 2 charging is eight hours.

Some EV models require a trim upgrade for DC fast-charging compatibility. The good news is, DC fast-charging is available for all Niro Electric trims. Nonetheless, according to Kia’s EV charging guidance, it takes 42 minutes to charge from 20% to 80% using an 80 kW fast charge and above. On the contrary, the average time is usually between 20 and 30 minutes for the typical EV.

Keep in mind that when EV batteries are below 20% or above 80%, chargers are designed to slow charging to prolong battery life. This means that between the lower and higher 20% range, charging times can double. Thus, while it’s a good idea to avoid draining any EV’s battery past 20%, it’s more so for the Kia Niro Electric.

The Niro EV is more refined than the Bolt and Leaf

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Consumer Reports gave the 2021 Kia Niro EV an overall score of 55 out of 100. Even with that mediocre score, it placed 10th place out of 29 electric vehicles reviewed by the product testing site.

The all-electric hatchback has a decent EPA-estimated range of 239 miles per charge, but Edmunds claims its reviewers got 285 miles. For this reason, Edmunds listed the Niro EV as the second-best EV in terms of range, under the Tesla Model 3. The 2021 Chevy Bolt was listed as the 3rd best with Edmunds reported a range of 277 miles.

Apparently, the Niro Electric has a more accommodating ride, a more spacious interior, and easier-to-use controls as compared to the Tesla Model 3. Consumer Reports also reported that it “feels more refined and substantial than the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf.”

Similar to the Tesla design, the Niro Electric’s large Lithium-ion polymer (Li-Po) battery pack is positioned in a way that gives it a low center of gravity, helping it take corners better. It lacks some of the deficiencies that plague the Niro Hybrid, such as rough transmission and laggy acceleration.

The Niro has nifty driver-assist features including partial automation

As vehicles become more intelligent, automobile manufacturers have been adding more driver-assist features. Additionally, more advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are also being offered standard by certain carmakers.

Kia is one of those manufacturers that loads its vehicles with plenty of driver-assist features and ADAS. The new 2021 Niro Electric is no different, with a long list of customizable ADAS features to select from.

The base model Niro Electric includes lane departure warning (LDW), forward collision warning (FCW), blind-spot warning (BSW), lane departure warning (LDW), rear cross-traffic warning (RCTW), adaptive cruise control (ACC), and automatic emergency braking (AEB). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also come standard with all trims.

If you want extras like a power sunroof, artificial leather seats, projector beam headlights, heated steering wheel, and heated and cooled front seats, then the 2021 Niro Electric EX Premium is the one.