Kia e-Niro review
The Kia e-Niro might just be the most complete electric family car yet produced
- Long battery range
- Well equipped
- Bland styling
- Unimaginative interior
- Entry-level version is expensive
It might look like another small SUV, but the Kia e-Niro was arguably one of the most significant launches in recent years. That's because, unlike the Kia Niro hybrid, the e-Niro is fully electric.
Kia also ruffled some feathers when it announced the e-Niro would have a range of around 282 miles - one of the best of any mainstream models. That figure puts the Nissan Leaf in the shade and even comes close to matching upmarket models like the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace, which are far more expensive. Drive especially carefully, and it could be possible to get even further than 282 miles between charging.
A midlife facelift for the e-Niro in early 2020 saw updates to the interior and infotainment, along with the introduction of an entry-level model with a smaller 39kWh battery that sits below the 64kWh model. This is only available in the ‘2’ trim level, and is capable of up to 180 miles of range.
While the economy figures and driving experience of the Kia Niro hybrid meant it was a fairly average offering in its class, the e-Niro means the small SUV can be viewed in a new light. From the outside, there's little to distinguish the EV, but look closely and you'll spot its quirky blanked-off grille that helps reduce drag. The bumper is new as well, along with unique 17-inch alloy wheels and blue accent highlights dotted around the bodywork.
There's a strong family resemblance inside too, with the same dashboard, but there are new dials for the electric motor and a rotary gear selector in place of a gear lever. It's not as funky as European rivals like the Peugeot 3008 or Citroen C3 Aircross, but it's simply laid out and feels tough enough to withstand family life. It also feels rather conventional, doing without some of the design tropes found in early electric cars. To help people move away from petrol and diesel models to electric, that's a good thing.
With a tall roofline, the e-Niro has the same spacious interior as the hybrid but with an even bigger 451-litre boot. That's particularly impressive for an EV, which often has a battery pack that impinges on cargo space. The e-Niro scores just as highly as the hybrid when it comes to safety, too, and Kia's reputation as a car maker is very strong – the Niro finished in fourth place out of 75 cars in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, with Kia finishing second out of 30 brands.
The e-Niro costs a little more than such EV favourites as the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq Electric, but joins the Hyundai Kona Electric in undercutting any model that can claim a superior battery range. So, while the hybrid Niro doesn't establish any benchmarks of note, its electric e-Niro sister proves an almost unbeatable all-round electric car package. We can think of no EV better suited to everyday family life.
See how this car scored on our sister site DrivingElectric