2 Reasons Why The Kia Niro EV Was Left Off Consumer Reports' List Of Most Satisfying Cars
Consumer Reports (CR) recently updated its Top Ten Most Satisfying Cars list. Every model on the list deserves its spot. However, the Kia Niro Electric Vehicle had an ownership satisfaction score from CR that tied the Tesla Model 3, the top vehicle on the list. So why didn't CR include the Niro EV?
Kia Niro EV vs. Tesla Model 3
The Kia Niro Electric Vehicle is one of three ways that Kia builds this green vehicle. The all-electric version is one of our favorite test vehicles of 2019. It impressed us so much that we drive it to a Tesla dealership that had invited us to test-drive the Model 3 and drove the two back to back. In many ways, including overall driving satisfaction, we found the Niro EV our favorite of the two. It's that good.
Kia Owners Love the Niro EV
Owners of the vehicle report a similar viewpoint in CR surveys. When asked if they would definitely consider buying the vehicle again, 92% of owners CR received surveys back from said "Yes." That makes the Kia Niro EV the highest-ranked vehicle for owner satisfaction, tieing the Tesla Model 3 which earns the same rating. Yet, the Kia is left off this new list.
To find out why, we phoned our contacts at the media-relations department of CR. During the holiday week. We were thrilled that Michael Monticello of CR, took time during this busy period to phone us back and to answer our questions.
Kia Niro EV Markets
Mr. Monticello explained that the first reason that CR left the Kia Niro off this list is that Kia does not sell the car in every market. Kia does sell the Niro EV in every target EV market. That being the ZEV-compliant states like Massachusetts that mimic the California emissions guidelines. However, the Niro is not for sale everywhere - yet. And it may not be for a long time to come. Kia told Torque News recently on the record that the company is sending most of its limited EV capacity to European markets.
Related Story: On the Record: Kia Explains Why The Niro EV's U.S. Sales Are So Low
The second reason that CR opted to keep the Niro off of this list is the incredibly small sample size the organization had to draw from. Although the list contains vehicles that sell in literally the single hundreds per month in America (the Miata for example), the Niro's sales are even more limited. Kia has only sold about 1,200 total in the U.S. (and coincidentally CR owns one of them!) Although CR did have owners who bought a Niro EV and did respond to the survey, in this case, the group felt that it was not really a mainstream model that should be on this list.
We don't disagree with either reason for keeping the Niro off the list. We love the Niro EV, but feel that Kia and other automakers should not make EVs in such small numbers. It is not helping the industry or the environment in any way to do so. Fish or cut bait, Kia. We hope to see the Niro on dealer lots nationally at some future point, but for now, it is as rare as a unicorn.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career and dedicated himself to chasing his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin.