Kia e-Niro review (2017-2022)
"The Kia e-Niro is one of the best electric cars around thanks to its impressive driving range"
- Long battery range
- Well equipped
- Bland styling
- Unimaginative interior
- Entry-level version is expensive
The Kia e-Niro is a small SUV based on the normal Kia Niro (which comes as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid) but the e in the name represents the reason that it’s the more impressive car: it’s electric-only. It’s one of our favourite electric cars, offering plenty of range at a good price.
Even though there are far more rivals to the e-Niro now than several years ago, such as the Peugeot e-2008, Skoda Enyaq iV and even hatchbacks such as the Citroen e-C4 and Volkswagen ID.3, we still think the e-Niro is one of the best electric cars on the market. Its range is still impressive, practicality is good and its low running costs should appeal to cost-conscious buyers, regardless of whether you’re buying for yourself or for business use.
The car has an official range of 282 miles, which is impressive when you consider how relatively affordable the car is. The slightly cheaper Nissan Leaf offers less range but the much more expensive Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace have a similar amount.
There’s also a version with a smaller, 39kWh battery that sits below the 282-mile 64kWh model, and this version is even more affordable. It offers around 180 miles of range, so is perfectly adequate if you do most of your driving in town or if you don’t regularly undertake long motorway journeys.
The e-Niro is easy to spot because it doesn’t have a grille like the hybrid versions, which need the airflow to cool their combustion engines. While the hybrid models are middling when it comes to fuel economy, the e-Niro is extremely efficient, which helps it get very close to its claimed range.
Inside, the e-Niro is a lot like other versions of the Niro, which is a mixed blessing. It’s well built and the technology is nice and easy to use but it doesn’t have the interesting design of cars such as the Citroen C3 Aircross or Peugeot 3008. It’s a very plain-looking interior with a focus on ease-of-use. Peeking inside the new Kia EV6 or Sportage will give you an idea of Kia’s next-generation interior technology, which the current e-Niro misses out on because it’s a few years older.
There’s plenty of space inside, including a respectable 451-litre boot and enough room for adults in the back seats. It’s also likely to be great to own; in 2021, owners ranked Kia second for the ownership experience in the Driver Power manufacturer survey.
Alternatives to the e-Niro, such as the Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Nissan Leaf, can’t match the e-Niro for all-round appeal. It’s a practical car that’s easy to live with day-to-day, has fashionable SUV styling and is comfortable to drive, yet it’s also able to offer plenty of electric range and does so at a reasonable price. It’s no longer a cutting-edge electric car but it’s still one of the best.
You can now order the brand-new Kia Niro and Niro EV models, which get a more striking exterior design and the aforementioned technology boost. The Niro EV also gets a storage area under the bonnet for the first time, yet won’t compromise on range.
See how this car scored on our sister site DrivingElectric