Kia Niro EV review

The new Niro EV picks up right where the e-Niro left off, adding sharper styling and intuitive infotainment to the brand’s popular electric family-car package

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Attractive new styling
  • Still supremely efficient
  • Technology improvements

Cons

  • Range and performance unchanged
  • Slow charging technology
  • Road noise
Car typeRangeWallbox charging timeRapid charge time
Electric285 miles10hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)45mins (10-80%, 77kW)

The Kia e-Niro has been one of the UK’s most popular electric cars since it arrived in 2018, offering refinement, range and practicality at an affordable price for a zero-emissions family car. But the e-Niro is no more: it has been replaced by this new, sharper-looking second-generation model: the Niro EV.

Kia is on a bit of a roll styling-wise, and has adapted some of the best elements from its latest Sportage and flagship EV6 for its baby electric SUV. Overall, the Niro EV makes more of an impression than the previous model, with its rather sophisticated looks.

It’s the same story inside, with the Niro EV getting a very similar dual-screen setup to the EV6. All models have a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display, which is paired with an eight-inch touchscreen for infotainment in cheaper versions, increasing to a 10.25-inch unit in higher-spec trims. This is a big improvement over the previous Niro, with Kia’s familiar user interface one of the better systems on the market. It has relatively intuitive menus and crisp graphics. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, too.

Kia’s handy switchable panel for the climate control and media shortcut buttons also makes an appearance and thanks to the latest Niro being slightly larger overall than its predecessor, you get a little more boot space – 475 instead of 451 litres – while folding the rear seats down gives you a total of 1,392 litres. There’s even 20 litres of additional storage under the bonnet, which is ideal for the charging cables. 

The Niro EV’s 64.8kWh battery and 201bhp electric motor are carried over from the old e-Niro, but that’s hardly a bad thing. Accelerating from 0-62mph takes a respectable 7.8 seconds, which is peppy enough for everyday driving. Meanwhile, range barely jumps from 282 to 285 miles. That’s a relatively healthy figure and slightly more than rivals like the MG ZS EV and Smart #1 can offer, but we still wish the Niro EV could crack the 300-mile mark.

Maximum charging speed has been increased, but not by much, going from 77kW in the old car to 80kW here. That’s some way off the 100 or 150kW speeds that are becoming commonplace on EVs these days, but still sufficient for a 10-80% top-up in around 40 minutes. If you programme the sat nav to take you to a charger, the car will pre-warm the battery as you approach to ensure the best possible charging speed. Fully replenishing the 64.8kWh battery from a 7.4kW home charger will take around ten-and-a-half hours.

On the road, the Niro EV feels like a subtle evolution of the e-Niro. It’s smooth and quiet around town, as you’d expect, helped by the addition of one-pedal driving capability if you use the regenerative braking’s strongest setting. Ride quality is on the firm side of comfortable, which can make the car feel a little unsettled or skittish on particularly rough roads. Despite that, the Niro EV is another example of sensible electric motoring that’ll be easy to live with.

It’s worth noting that not only does the Niro EV start at just over £36,000 – more than its Renault Megane E-TECH Electric rival – but the top-spec version costs nearly £42,000. That’s more than entry-level versions of the larger, more advanced Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Skoda Enyaq iV cost, so the range-topping Niro EV doesn’t represent the best value for money at that price point.

Pricing aside, the Niro EV picks up exactly where the much-loved e-Niro left off. Its distinctive looks certainly help set it apart from rivals, as do its class-leading on-board technology, practicality, efficiency and range. It may not be the most exhilarating electric car to drive, and is behind the curve when it comes to charging speeds, but it looks like Kia’s faithful electric family car will continue to be a popular choice for years to come. For a more detailed look at the Niro EV, read on for the rest of our in-depth review…

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