Kia Niro EV: Is It Really Worth Tesla Model 3 Money? Video

MAR 5 2019 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 65

Do electric cars like the Kia Niro EV still have a chance now that the Standard Tesla Model 3 has arrived?

This question is popping up all over the internet. It makes perfect sense since Tesla finally launched the $35,000 base Model 3. Now, Tesla has an offering that comes in at a price point that’s on par with just about every other small to midsize, mainstream, long-range EV on the U.S. market or coming soon. We’re talking about the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Nissan LEAF Plus, Hyundai Kona Electric, and, of course, the Kia Niro EV. How is this going to play out?

This particular video focuses specifically on the Niro EV, but you can easily take the information and make your own decision about how the latter cars may fare. Thus far, nearly every review of the new Kia electric car have been widely positive. There have even been some outlets that have suggested choosing the crossover instead of the Tesla Model 3, mostly due to its significantly lower price (despite the fact that it’s only available in limited markets and production is minimal). Now, those publications will have to write another article.

Sadly, we still don’t have official U.S. pricing for the Niro EV. However, the similar Hyundai Kona Electric starts at $36,450. In its gas-powered configuration, the Niro costs $3,500 more than the Kona. So, it’s safe to assume that the Niro EV should come in somewhere around the $40,000 mark. It qualifies for the full $7,500 EV tax credit, so, if you can take advantage of that, you’re looking at a price around $33,000. The Tesla Model 3 starts at $35,000 plus destination. Through the end of June 2019, its potential credit is $3,750. All said, a base Model 3 will cost you $32,450. After June, you’ll pay $36,200.

Let’s not forget that some of the cars above — like the Bolt and LEAF — often come with huge discounts off MSRP. While some people have argued that this may be the case with the Niro EV, it’s not looking so promising. We’re already learning about significant markups to the Kona Electric due to demand. If demand plummets, however, the situation could change.

With all of this being said, check out Forrest’s review of the Niro EV and his assessment of the situation. In addition, read some of our other Niro EV reviews. Then, let us know your thoughts overall.

Video Description via Forrest’s Auto Reviews on YouTube:

Is Kia’ first LONG RANGE EV worth Tesla Model 3 Money?! | 2019 Kia Niro EV Review

Now that the base version of the Tesla Model 3 is available, does the Kona EV still stand a chance? Here is my review of Kia’s first long range EV!

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65 Comments on "Kia Niro EV: Is It Really Worth Tesla Model 3 Money? Video"

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In ICE land entry level Niro is ~$17K less than an entry level BMW 3 Series so that might be and indicator for the sort of price difference that’s needed if Kia were interested in selling Niro EV in serious numbers. Of course there are no indications that that’s actually the case, for compliance purposes Kia only needs to find a relatively small number of people willing to pay Model 3 money for a Niro which might be possible as Niro does offer more interior space. If not Kia will have to do what Tesla did and discount….

I think they need to change their plans and sell as many of these as they can before the Model Y comes to market.

That would make sense as Model Y will kill any residual edge Niro has on Tesla in this price segment. I do fear that selling larger numbers even competing against smaller Model 3 will mean some pretty steep discounts though. Meanwhile Hyundai has a dedicated EV platform in the works that might be better equipped to compete with Tesla than the current ICE conversions.

Honestly, I think the real question should be, is the Tesla Model 3 worth Kia Niro money?

I do like the availability of faster charging of the Tesla network, but Hyundai/Kia are better known for their quality and reliability, and the latter factor is more important to me, and a lot of people, in terms of car ownership. Plus the the practicality of the Niro is an attractive aspect, too.

Model Y is going to be more expensive than the Niro.

Officially, the Y base will be under $40k. So base prices will be similar. But who know how long it will be before the base Y is actually for sale.

But the roominess, uniqueness , superior battery tech and engineering of model Y will be worth the extra money . It won’t appear as if you’re driving a run of the mill sub standard engineered compliance Niro car that looks like all other ICE Niro’s . A $49,000 Niro looks the same as a $22,000 Niro .

A $49000 Niro looks and is the same as a $22000 Niro to most customers looking at them in the dealer lot. This is the PROBLEM, competition comes not from Tesla, it comes within their own other models in the lot with a hefty $27000 less than an EV Niro. Not an easy sell for the EV.

The demand for the e-Niro is huge and there are 1 year waiting lists in some countries. There is currently no other EV that can rival it in terms of space, quality, range and price as a package. Maybe only the sister Kona comes close but the space and interior design seems much better in the Niro.

Demand definitely used to outstrip the very limited supply. We’ll see soon enough whether that’s still the case now that the fabled $35K Tesla actually became a reality.

I don’t think they will compete.

Demand? maybe, but the significant markups over MSRP on the Kona from some dealerships is the same routine from dealers,” we don’t want to sell EV’s” Dealers is the CANCER of the OEM’s, past, present and future.

Chris O said:
“for compliance purposes Kia only needs to find a relatively small number of people willing to pay Model 3 money for a Niro…”

Kia can satisfy its CARB requirements by selling just the Niro PHEV and Optima PHEV. Under CARB regulations, Kia is an “Intermediate Volume Manufacturer,” and therefore, is NOT required to sell ZEVs in CARB states. To comply with CARB regulations “Intermediate Size Manufacturers” need only sell PHEVs in CARB states. Under CARB, PHEVs are TZEVs (Transitional Zero Emission Vehicles). But the Niro BEV would yield more CARB credits per vehicle than the Niro PHEV and Optima PHEV.

§1962.2(b)(3) reads as the follows:
“(3) Requirements for Intermediate Volume Manufacturers. For 2018 and subsequent model years, an intermediate volume manufacturer may meet all of its ZEV credit percentage requirement, under subdivision 1962.2(b), with credits from TZEV.”

See page 3 for §1962.2(b)(3):
https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/zevregs/1962.2_Clean.pdf

But the “base” Niro EV is well appointed and optioned to be more in line with the higher trim levels of the gasoline Niro.

Absolutely not worth Tesla Model 3 money ! * 🙁 *

As that answer depends on individual needs, I am curious as to why you say thay.

People who buy $40K (or $30K) cars generally buy for brand name, not for perceived value. Even if Tesla 3 cost the same as Niro/Kona/Leaf/Bolt and perform similar, most will opt for Tesla. When Tesla performs whole lot better and looks much much better, there’s simply no contest.

That’s not even considering extensive supercharger network that has half dozen to dozens of handles per site, not 1 or 2 handles per site clogged with free charging Leaf/i3/Maven Bolts.

Tesla 3 has very low back seats. Kia E-Niro has standard height back seats that provide good support under your thighs, you sit better.

Kia E-Niro is a much more practical car because it is a hatchback.

The real issue with the e-Niro and the Kona Electric is that of supply. If they were available in a similar timeframe to the Model 3, then they would make sense to a lot more buyers. As it is, I think in markets where the Model 3 is available within a few weeks or months, a lot of people will be swayed by the Model 3.

For me personally, I have an order down on a Kona that we expect to be delivered early in 2020, which is likely to be sooner than the base spec Model 3 being be available in this country (UK). If the Model 3 were available right now, of course I would go for it.

Neither the e-Niro or Kona Electric are available to order in the UK now. I think this was just a toe in the market to test the market and see what the response was. A single load of 900 e-Niros is arriving in April, many of which will go to dealers as demonstrators, and the main dealer tells me there is nothing more available for 18 months. Kia / Hyundai have just announced that they are planning to produce a new drive train for 2020 that will allow considerable cost savings – so I would assume that no more e-Niros will be produced until an updated vehicle comes out on the new drive train at a reduced price. An 18 months delay would also allow a new battery chemistry, again at reduced cost.
I would expect the Tesla model 3 long range AWD will be the one to compare with in a years time. Even better if Tesla produces a body modification for model 3 LR AWD that is SUV / Estate / pickup. It would make the most sense for Tesla’s sales potential. Tesla will also reduce prices again as soon as they implement any new battery chemistry.

I don’t think we will see any more price reduction. I agree that battery cost will go down with Maxwell technology, but I think this has already been accounted for and in the mean time Tesla’s margins will be lower.

If the Kona and Niro were AWD I would get one over the M3 for sure. But they are not AWD.

One good thing about the 35k model 3 is that it could force Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Chevy etc. to cut the prices on their models under the 30k$ mark, where they belong. At least, once incentives will run out.
That could be the actual game changing role of the model 3

MSRP of Tesla and GM (soon Nissan) are now incomparable to others MRSP as one give you the tax credit and the other not (or less). So when Hyundai/Kia put a price tag, they know the end consumer wont pay the full amount and so the MSRP reflect this. So maybe when the tax credit will have totally run out on Tesla, the Kona will suddenly look like a very good deal.

Ya, at this price, the tax credit won’t have much impact

Is it worth more than a Model 3?
Yes and a lot more.
Just my opinion but I have one on order. I will never go back to a Sedan.

If you enjoy sitting up and riding higher with more flexible storage in a hatch form then yes, it could be an easy choice over Model 3, however, if charging time, convenience and many long trips is your thing, there’s no comparison, Model 3 it is. Best of both worlds, maybe wait a few weeks and see what Model Y has to offer, Kia is being stingy with production, at least with Model Y, when it does come to production, ramp up will happen quickly. Of course, market availability trumps many decisions, it’s a wholly personal, and often geographical choice for all. Just go electric, choose the vehicle that suits your life, enjoy and never look back.

We still don’t have the Model 3 here so when will we get the Model Y? 2021? or 2022?
As for charging, 50kW CCS is fine for me. There are plenty of chargers now. A lot more than Tesla Superchargers.
Oh, and there is a service centre for Kia less than 2 miles from my home. The nearest Tesla one is 48miles away by motorway (when it gets rebuilt after the recent fire)

Well, there’s your answer, Niro it is, it’s a good choice for you, enjoy!

We have two Chevy Bolts and we love them, have to say we’re happy with higher step-in and seating position, love the roominess inside, especially rear leg room, and the practicality of the hatch is great. When first lease is up, we just may go with Tesla for longer trips, the Superchargers are just more prevalent here in the U.S., hopefully I’ll have a choice between the 3 and the Y. When second lease comes due we will probably stick with newer Bolt and maybe even cross shop the Kona or Niro if available, both seem like great choices.

So how much did it cost to charge the Niro? Was it about $12 to go 110 miles? At least this is an electric vehicle by a real car company.

I think the Model 3 certainly seems like more car for the money. For many people, that will be the more desirable car for many reasons. But don’t discount differences in taste. Many people prefer the look or the utility of a CUV or hatchback. Also, many people won’t like the lower seating position of the Model 3. A certain number of people will also be put off by the whole lack of test drive issue, and having to purchase online. I also think there are people will simply not accept the spartan interior of the Model 3 and the lack of buttons and switches. Some people prefer buttons or switches for the most commonly used items.

Of course the rebates available is also to me a huge issue. I would NOT have purchased a Honda Clarity without the $7,500 rebate.

You can purchase a Honda Clarity EV now? I thought they were only offered with closed end leases.

I think he was referring to his purchase of a Clarity PHEV. Only the Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid is offered for sale. The EV and fuel cell are only offered for lease.

If Kia was trying to get substantial EV market share in the US, I’d say good luck with that!
But they are not.
There are >500 models of light duty passenger vehicle models in the US for a reason – not everyone wants the same thing.
While hatchbacks are not that popular in the US, people who do buy them likely wil not buy a sedan.
And for people who rarely stray more than 100 miles from home, the supercharger network may not be a selling feature.
Model 3 will outsell all others for a while, but that does not mean everyone would prefer one.

Some people just gotta have an SUV. The real question is: will these people be willing to wait for the Tesla Model Y.

Seems to me like you should compare the Midrange with the e-Niro. Unless you really don’t need the range.

There is an error in this article. The $3750 tax credit for Tesla goes through the end of June 2019, not just March. Then the credit is reduced to $1875 from July through December 2019.

What a biased framing. The Niro is an SUV which generally fetches more $$. It has substantially more space, and presumably more off-road capabilities. Furthermore, the Model 3 was not designed as a luxury car – for that there is the Model S. Both cars were designed to reach a similar price range. If anything, it is the Model 3 that has spent a year far above its target price range – selling well in that range, but eventually exhausting its US waiting list for that price level.

And it’s a completely gratuitous bias. One could simply asks how the two compare to each other without going out of one’s way to make the non-Tesla look bad. We need most automakers on board, and if you care about EVs then the Koreans should be lauded for their quick progress, not mocked.

I suggest that this site’s regular writers check each article they write that involves Tesla, with this question in mind: “Are we making sure we are not becoming another one of Tesla’s ‘State TV channels’?”

There are plenty of those around. Please retain a more independent perspective. Thank you.

One advantage of the Model 3 that rarely gets mentioned is the suspension (double wishbone front/five link rear) Even most car guys don’t understand how suspension works, exactly. I’ve been a car nut since the 1960s and I didn’t understand it until recently, thanks to the magic of the internet. The key to great handling is how wheel camber changes as the car leans into a turn. Double wishbone and multi link suspension tilts the wheels when cornering to maintain maximum tire contact with the road. Kinda like this // // for turning right and like this \\ \\ for a left turn. Additionally, front suspension should prevent dive under braking and rear suspension should prevent squat under acceleration. The angle of the upper arm of the front double wishbone suspension prevents dive when braking and the longitudinal link of the five link rear suspension prevents squat during acceleration. The Model Y shares 75% of it’s DNA with the Model 3 so the Model Y will have the same suspension as the Model 3. The Kia Nero uses McPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension because it costs less to manufacture. And anti squat suspension geometry is not… Read more »

E-niro does not use a torsion beam at the back. Don’t make stuff up.

There is a difference between making stuff up and being incorrect. It helps to be able to distinguish the difference, especially in politics.

I’m in California and am anxiously waiting for the Niro EV. As soon as it becomes available I’ll buy one. The reason is simple, the Tesla is too space agey, the sparce interior is just not attractive at all and looks like a London Taxi inside. In any case there are so many Tesla’s on back order it will be a very long wait to get one. The body lines are not that good looking either, especially from the front view. Of course the model S is a different story but that’s on another level and out of my price bracket. The attractive thing about the Kona and the Niro is that they are just like a regular car with a lot of bells and whistles thrown in. I drove the Kona Electric and felt right at home, it is just a little small, hence the Niro. In my circles, people just hate the odd styling of most hybrids and electrics, the regular car shape is the right way to go. I have already seen the high demand for the Kona, my local dealer sold a truck load in a day, so I expect both Hyundai and Kia will have… Read more »
One advantage of the Model 3 that rarely gets mentioned is the suspension (double wishbone front/five link rear) Even most car guys don’t understand how suspension works, exactly. I’ve been a car nut since the 1960s and I didn’t understand it until recently, thanks to the magic of the internet. The key to great handling is how wheel camber changes as the car leans into a turn. Double wishbone and multi link suspension tilts the wheels when cornering to maintain maximum tire contact with the road. Kinda like this // // for turning right and like this \\ \\ for a left turn. Additionally, front suspension should prevent dive under braking and rear suspension should prevent squat under acceleration. The angle of the upper arm of the front double wishbone suspension prevents dive when braking and the longitudinal link of the five link rear suspension prevents squat during acceleration. The Model Y shares 75% of it’s DNA with the Model 3 so the Model Y will have the same suspension as the Model 3. The Kia Nero uses McPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension because it costs less to manufacture. And anti squat suspension geometry is not… Read more »

FWIW – The Niro EV has a multi-link independent rear suspension.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

For the rebate, you can look at it this way.
When you purchase the car (any car that gets the full rebate), you are financing that $7500 and the Tesla (but really any car that is in first phase out mode) you are financing the $3,750.

Then you decide.

The increased monthly payments for financing the $7,500 can be offset in part by increasing your W4 exemptions.

If I was in the market, I would buy the Niro over the Tesla 3. Reasons: 1) Android Auto / Apple Carplay support; 2) Normal Door handles 3) traditional cockpit controls 4) Hyundai / Kia understand quality much better than Tesla does

Different vehicle classes. The only thing they have in common is being EVs.

Not everyone wants a sports sedan. Especially from a company with limited service centers.

The $35k Model 3 may end up being difficult to get hands on as well with “volume production” not planned until mid year. With deliveries prioritized to reservation holders and likely California first.

For the same price the sensible part of me would go for the Kia Niro, it is the better vehicle overall and being much roomier and practical. The child in me would go for the Model 3 though. So it would be a tough choice…. whichever comes first with towing could be a decider. For less than €5k difference I’d probably let the child in me decide.

But considering that the Model 3 starts from €54k and the e-Niro from 34k the difference is still way too big.

Is the Niro worth Model 3 money? I think that comes down to taste and use cases.

I’d love to have a Niro, but it could only function as a secondary vehicle. The charging network is just not there. This also means that it’s too expensive assuming it’s $40k plus. Worse, I don’t think the hassle of buying from a stealership is worth the cost when the alternative is so streamlined.

A top-spec Niro with adaptive cruise and lane-follow assist is going to be similar in price to a low-spec Model Y with basic autopilot, mid 40’s.

And at that price, I’d be very tempted by the Y, if I were able to wait.

The free market solves this easy.
People can only buy what is for sale, and they buy what they want. Depending on price, quality, brand, image and so on.

If they sell too few, they can offer more equipment for the same price. . They can offer extra gifts with the car, reduce price, improve the vehicles range/performance/quality.

It would be worth knowing what is included in the base versus the loaded Niro EV. The heated and cooled seats are nice, and so is the heated steering wheel. The cooled seats and heated steering wheel are something the Model 3 doesn’t offer. The dash and doors are okay in soft touch finish, but they don’t compare to most $35K+ cars. It still seems a bit cheap on the finish side. I’m surprised he could do a burn-out on the Niro. Most traction controls don’t allow such frivolity. I was surprised to see that the traffic aware cruise control is so immature in development. This is one area where Tesla shines, especially with the ability to refine these electronics on a regular basis. I found it interesting that the Niro allowed the charge port door to remain open as he moved the car to the proper placement. I would hope that warnings were going off inside. That’s one advantage that Tesla has with a motorized charge port door. Overall, the Niro EV offers an option for those who want or need to go the CUV route. Hopefully, Kia will in the future offer all wheel drive on the EV.… Read more »

So true, if I could have a Bolt with either the 3’s or the Niro’s suspension and cooled seats and faster quickcharges, or a 3 with a heated steering wheel and hatch, or a Niro with a Bolt’s rear seat legroom and access to supercharging network, then I would have the perfect vehicle!

The Kia Niro as tested looks really good and I would describe as fully loaded with every conceivable option and deluxe trim. So is this only $36k? Or is it a much higher cost version? For that comparison to the Model 3, which version is the same price?

We put down a 700USD reservation fee for the eNiro february 2018 and got our queue number 1200 . Looking to replace the small E-UP! from VW with a bigger car. The sales people told us that you’ll probably get the car early / mid 2019. Since then they have stalled, and stalled, and stalled … Several emails saying that they are “Testing” towing capabilities, but it’s unsure if it will be available on the model. Same goes with an app with the car, first they did not know, then they said it’s probably not coming and finally they say that it’s probably coming on cars being produced later, making 2020 the most likely date where you could buy a 40 000USD EV with an app. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked the car and was impressed with cargo capacity, but all the stalling was driving me crazy. Remember the 1200 queue number? Well, now it’s down to 500. They have delivered less than 200 cars so far, meaning approx 600 people in front om me said “no thanks”. To make the story even more crazy I know several people where contacted by Kia / Importer saying: “Hey, we… Read more »

It’s a very good EV (way better than the BoltEV) but it’s not a great one.
For the $37K the Standard Plus Model-3 is a smoking deal, but if you don’t want a sedan & want a SUV instead wait.
Model-Y will be announced in a weeks time, and lets face it, it will be spectacular, and it will have the awesome charging from the current Supercharger network at 135-145KWH and the future faster 250-260KW chargers.
Its a Win/Win. if u need a car right now! … get a clunker for a year or two, and save up ur pennies & dollars.
I already quit buying Starbucks and other coffee (quit cold turkey) XD
Bring on that sexy Model-Y Tesla gents!