Wasn't Kia supposed to be a value-oriented brand?
Kia gave its Niro small crossover a much-needed facelift for the 2019 model year that included packaging upgrades and better-looking exterior styling. The Niro still won't turn heads everywhere it goes, but that was never its mission. Instead, the Niro is an affordable crossover that does everything well. However, affordability may no longer be the all-electric variant's strong point.
The automaker has announced pricing for the 2019 Niro EV and, surprisingly, it actually has the most expensive base price of any Hyundai or Kia electric car. Chances are the upcoming redesigned Soul EV won't be as expensive as this. The cheapest 2019 Niro you can buy is the EX trim, which begins at $39,495. With the federal tax credit, the price drops to $31,995.
The top trim Niro EX Premium begins at $44,995 prior to the credit and $37,495 with it. To compare, the 2018 Niro EV's two trims were priced at $38,500 and $44,000, respectively.
Still, we're a bit surprised by these figures, particularly the base price. To compare, the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric begins at $37,995 and, with the credit, comes to $30,495 in change. That's $1,500 less than the Niro EV, but it's important to remember the Kona is slightly smaller, though its driving range is better, 258 miles compared to 239 miles. On paper, the Kona EV sounds like a better deal to us.
If you're planning to shop around for affordable new electric vehicles, the Chevrolet Bolt still has the cheapest base price of $37,495. However, because GM lost the full $7,500 tax credit allocation, buyers will only get back $3,750.
Furthermore, Chevy has not reduced the Bolt's price to compensate for that. Do the math and the Bolt is actually more expensive to buy now because of that halved tax credit. While the 2019 Kia Niro EV is still an excellent all-around EV, it now faces internal competition from its Hyundai Kona EV corporate cousin. It's also nearly $1,000 more to buy than last year's model, pictured below.