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'22 Bolt vs Kia Niro EV by Charlie in South Korea

1547 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  cwerdna
"Asian Petrolhead" does reviews of all types of cars in his country. Now that the Bolt is for sale aghain, he does a nice review of it, liking it better than the Kia Niro. Check it out:
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Having both in our family now I can't say the Bolt is better but I also can't say the Niro blows it away. This is how I would rate it.

Interior room : Niro edges the Bolt
Can't really get around this, the Niro is slightly wider and longer and that combined with its slightly more squarish shape gives it more interior room in all dimensions. More rear seat room, more storage room. The Niros back seat can fit three across more comfortably than the Bolt can.

Interior finish : I'd call this one pretty close to even. In some ways the Niro is better and in others the Bolt is but most of this just comes down to personal preference.

Infotainment software : Niro and honestly it really isn't that close. The one dislike i've always had with the Bolt is GMs software, their UI really isn't good at all. It works and it is laid out sensibly but the appearance is old and dated, the performance is just subpar. Same holds true when comparing Kia Connect (phone app) and the MyChevy app. Kia connect's app is really good, laid out well and responsive. The MyChevy app is a dinosaur in comparison. Honestly this (software) is the area GM needs to improve on the most is they want to really compete in the long term.

Exterior Appearance : Pretty much equal to me. They both have their oddities and aren't the "best" looking cars, I know some prefer one over the other, to me they are both fine.

Driving dynamics : Bolt has the edge in this one. Not including safety systems in this one, just the driving. The Bolt being a slightly smaller car with a slightly shorter wheelbase does drive a little better to me, both are quite nice to drive and handle well, I think the Bolt just edges out the Niro. I also like the more direct one pedal drive system implementation in the Bolt. Niro has a sort of one pedal system but you have to engage a few more things. Regen has to be set to its highest. Auto Hold has to be on. Then as you are coming to a stop you have to hold down the regen paddle to make it come to a stop so auto hold can hold you in place. Whereas with the Bolt it is just be in L, done. So the Bolt has true one pedal driving where the Niro has the sort of one pedal.

Efficiency : Niro slight edge over the Bolt. Both seem to be pretty equal in this area when it comes to power use efficiency for driving. Niro I would give the slight edge just because if you are in a colder climate area you can get the Niro with a cold weather package that adds a heat pump for more efficient heating int he winter, thus longer winter range as compared to the Bolt if heating to the same temp.

Safety systems : Niro hands down. Not only does the Niro come standard with more safety features than the Bolt but they all work better than the comparable systems in the Bolt. The LKA in the Bolt is a joke but the system in the Niro is actually quite good. Niro also has some systems that just aren't available on the Bolt.

Crash safety : Bolt with a slight edge. Bolt has more 5 star ratings than the Niro but it is pretty close.

So to me I don't think one is clearly better than the other, it would depend upon what are the most important categories to you. We got the Niro for the second EV because it was for our son so the two things I prioritized were the safety systems and the infotainment systems. The Niro to me is clearly better in both of those categories and the areas the Bolt I think are better or equal are less important to a new driver.
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@Pete Blair what has changed from 2019 vs 2022 Kia Niro ?
As presented in the video below, the 2019 had some shortcumings :
  • no real one pedal driving
  • clumsy gear shifter
  • harsh slow speed braking
Has it improved since than ?
I did mention that the Niro doesn't have true one pedal, so that it still the same. However it does do a version of one pedal, with regen set to the highest level if you hold the regen paddle while slowing down it will actually bring it to a complete stop. Also add in that the SCC (Smart Cruise Control with stop and go)

Gear shifter isn't clumsy to me, just a 3 position dial. Maybe some people won't like it but it isn't difficult to use and i've had no issue with doing three point turns.

Slow speed braking seems fine to me. It brings the car to a stop in a predictable and expected way.

The infotainment screen was updated since the 2019, it is larger and nicer.

Like I said though, I don't think the Bolt or Niro are clearly better. Niro is better in some ways and the Bolt is better in others, so to me it likely comes down to more of a personal preference.

Though that is all on the current 2022 Niro, the 2023 is a redesign and from what I have seen of it so far made some big improvements. Interior is even nicer, instruments/infotainment is nicer, range was increased, exterior was improved. So I would suggest going to look at some of the early reviews of the 2023 Niro.
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I had the '19 PHEV version, so mostly comparable but not quite the same car. The infotainment screen changed in 2020 to a larger, wide screen version. But they also put a piece of chrome trim that is a complete killer for some drivers when the sun is out. Blindingly bad. They also made the pedestrian alert sound far louder and obnoxious from the '19. My Niro sounded similar to what my EUV sounds like, just a soft Sci-Fi sound like something from Star Trek. The Niro forum is filled with complaints about the '20+ sound levels.

Remains to be seen what Kia does with the new 2023 version. So many other changes being made, perhaps they've paid attention to the complaints. The '23 is a complete remodel.
Mine doesn't have any chrome trim in the interior.

The low speed sound doesn't bother me. Though I am typically listening to music or podcast so it gets drowned out. It would be nice to have a few sound types to select from so you could at least have one more to your preference. Though that is a complaint with pretty much all of the EVs.
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