Better late than never.
The all-new Kia EV6 is not the automaker's first-ever pure battery-electric model though it is the first to utilize a dedicated EV platform. There have also been fully electrified versions of the Soul and Niro but the former has been dropped for the US market. The Kia Niro EV, however, remains and it's been updated for the 2021 model year. Hang on, shouldn't it be a 2022 model at this point?
Under normal circumstances the answer is "yes," but this year has been anything but normal. The 2021 Niro EV is mostly carried over from the 2020 model but there are a few notable updates.
The EX base trim now comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as rear occupant alert. There's also remote start functionality that allows owners to preheat or cool the cabin. The other relevant update comes by way of an expanded DriveWise advanced driver-assist safety suite. We must point out this remains an optional system but it does now include leading vehicle departure alert, highway driving assist, and navigation-based smart cruise control.
The EV's general bones remain the same, meaning a 64 kWh battery pack that powers an electric motor with 201 horsepower. Total range is a respectable, though far from segment-leading, 239 miles.
The base EX has a starting price tag of $40,265 while the EX Premium runs from $45,825. Both figures include the $1,175 destination. We can't say for certain how much longer the aging Niro lineup will be around, which also includes the regular gasoline-engined version and a plug-in hybrid variant.
With the EV6 on its way shortly, there'll likely be little to no need for the Niro EV. Pricing for the EV6 hasn't been announced just yet but it's estimated to begin at around $45,000. Given it'll have a driving range of 300 miles and a far more stylish design inside and out, the EV6 seems like the logical Niro EV successor.