The Kia Niro EV goes on sale today in South Korea following over 5,000 pre-orders in its domestic market since order books opened in February.

A close cousin of the Hyundai Kona EV that was unveiled in February, the Niro EV sits alongside the existing Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid variants of the B-segment crossover, of which more than 200,000 units have been sold globally since 2016. Of the total, 65,000 units were sold in Europe, where the Niro EV will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show in October, ahead of a year-end market launch.

Kia’s second global electric car after the Soul EV is powered by a 204 PS/395 Nm motor, juiced by a 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack. It’s capable of a 450 km range on a single charge, and recharging to 80% via a 100 kW fast charger takes 54 minutes. A less powerful, more affordable version uses a 39.2 kWh lithium-polymer battery for a 300 km range – it will be available later.

The Niro EV does the 0-100 km/h sprint in 7.8 seconds, and Kia says that it’s a stable and enjoyable drive, thanks to a low centre of gravity. The battery pack is located low down in the body, beneath the boot floor. Boot space is a decent 451 litres.

On the outside, the EV is differentiated from its hybrid and plug-in hybrid sisters through a blanked-out grille incorporating the charging port flap, as well as redesigned air intakes with light blue highlights and arrowhead-shaped LED daytime running lights. The blue highlights extend to the reprofiled rear bumpers, while sportier side skirts and new 17-inch alloy wheels complete the look.

Inside, the Niro EV’s features the same blue accents as the exterior, while the design of the centre console has been simplified to accommodate the car’s shift-by-wire dial-style shift knob. On the safety front, the EV retains all of the features of other Niro models, including frontal collision avoidance assist (FCA), lane keeping assist (LKA), smart cruise control (SCC), driver attention warning (DAW) and back collision warning (BCW).

GALLERY: Kia Niro Hybrid