Aug 2, 2019

What we're driving: 2019 Kia Niro EV

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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What we're driving: 2020 Range Rover Evoque

2020 Range Rover Evoque. Photo: Range Rover

I'm driving the 2020 Range Rover Evoque, a compact, wedge-shaped SUV that looks like it belongs in the future.

Why it matters: Styling has always been the big selling point for the Evoque, first introduced in 2012. It's all been updated for 2020, including new retractable door handles, which are cool but take an extra second to open the door.

Go deeperArrowAug 23, 2019

What we're driving: 2020 Kia Telluride

Last week, I drove from Detroit to Columbus, Ohio, in a 2020 Kia Telluride, the Korean carmaker's first vehicle designed specifically for U.S. customers, and boy, did they nail it.

Why it matters: Kia has come a long way in terms of quality and customer satisfaction. The new Telluride, its largest vehicle ever, checks all the boxes: bold styling, smooth handling, a sharp interior and appealing technology.

Go deeperArrowAug 30, 2019

Self-driving cars could be more fuel-efficient than human drivers

Photo: Volvo Cars

The expected benefits of self-driving cars are widely touted: They will be safer than human drivers and improve access to transportation for people with disabilities, the elderly and the poor.

One other potential benefit: They will be better for the environment (and not just because most AVs will be electric).

Go deeperArrowAug 7, 2019