2019 Kia Niro EV. Photo: Kia

This week I'm driving the 2019 Kia Niro EV, a battery-powered compact with a 239-mile driving range.

The bottom line: As with most Kia brand vehicles, the Niro packs in a lot of features ordinarily found in more expensive cars. The sticker price on my tester, outfitted with the top-of-the-line EX Premium trim plus a $1,080 cold-weather package and $1,000 worth of other extra goodies, is $47,155 before a $7,500 federal tax incentive for EVs.

The Niro is marketed as an SUV, but since it doesn't have all-wheel drive or have a higher ground clearance like an SUV, it's really more of a hatchback — but a good looking one at least.

If you haven't driven an electric car, you really should. They are fun to drive, with spirited handling and quick acceleration — the Kia Niro EV included.

  • There are now quite a few to choose from, and a bunch more arriving in dealerships soon.
  • EVs have advanced to the point where you can consider one for your daily driver without any range anxiety.
  • I tooled around my neighborhood and made 2 trips across town, drawing the battery range down to around 100 miles, and I only plugged it in once overnight to the ordinary 240-volt plug in my garage.
  • Typical charging time: 9.5 hours.

Safety features: No matter what trim level, every Niro EV includes a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, lane centering, forward collision alert, automatic front braking, and adaptive cruise control with stop and go.

Go deeper: See what else Joann has been driving

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