Kia Niro EV: interior, dashboard & infotainment
The Niro’s interior looks rather futuristic and while top models are expensive, the new Horizon model represents good value-for-money
It’s not just the styling where Kia has moved the game on with the second-generation electric Niro. All models feature two screens housed under a single curved panel – a setup swiped from the flagship EV6 – along with some clever touches and a few flourishes that make the cabin feel more premium than its rivals like the MG4 EV or VW ID.3.
Kia Niro EV dashboard
While the Niro’s dashboard is dominated by the aforementioned pair of screens, the cabin also features ambient lighting buried in the dashboard, soft touch materials and marble-effect panels on the doors. Kia’s handy switchable panel for the climate control and media shortcut buttons also makes an appearance.
The main touch points all feel high-quality, and everything seems well screwed together. We’re just not huge fans of the gloss-black plastic used on the centre console, as it acts as a magnet to scratches, dust and fingerprints. There are also some cheaper-feeling plastics lower down but, all-in-all, the cabin design up front is very nice.
Equipment, options & accessories
The Niro is available in four trim levels, called 2, Horizon, 3 and 4. Even the entry-level model gets plenty of standard kit, including twin 10.25-inch screens with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, plus 17-inch alloy wheels.
The next step up is the Horizon model which, in our humble opinion, represents the most value across the entire Niro EV line-up. Despite only costing around £600 more than the base car, this gets a lot of extra kit including LED headlights, power-folding mirrors, leatherette upholstery, electric front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, front parking sensors and tinted rear windows. The only stipulation is that this Kia Niro EV Horizon is only available in navy, black or grey, although this is unlikely to put most buyers off given all three are amongst the most popular new car colours here in the UK anyway.
Funnily enough, the mid-spec 3 actually gets less kit than the Horizon, despite costing more. Over and above the base 2, this only gets front parking sensors, rear privacy glass, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, plus keyless entry and start, and vehicle-to-load capability. We’d avoid this if we were you, unless you’re desperately after a brightly-coloured Niro.
The range-topping 4 adds lots of luxuries, such as a head-up display, sunroof, faux-leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a powered tailgate, a Harman Kardon sound system and the option (for £150) to have contrastingly coloured C-pillar ‘blades’. For around £900 extra, you can add a heat pump to more efficiently warm the cabin – something we think is especially helpful in winter months here in the UK and a bit cheeky to ask extra for, given how expensive the top-spec Niro is in the first place.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
At launch, entry-level cars only got an eight-inch touchscreen. However, Kia now fits twin 10.25-inch displays to all Niro EV models with one acting as a digital instrument cluster, and the other a central touchscreen interface for your media, sat nav and other car controls.
While certainly not a patch on the Google-based system found in the Renault Megane, Kia’s infotainment setup is more than serviceable, with sharp graphics and a somewhat responsive processor. Kia has addressed the issue of important air-conditioning and audio controls being buried in touchscreen menus but including a handy control bar under the main screen. This can be flipped to either show a bank of heating and ventilation controls or buttons for the stereo and it makes the Niro EV a lot more user-friendly. It’s a shame you can’t display sat nav maps in the dials but this means there’s fewer drawbacks to instead making use of the standard-fit wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – something we suspect most buyers will do.
In This Review
- 1VerdictWhile it may not dominate in any area bar one, the Kia Niro EV is nevertheless a desirable and well-rounded electric family car with an unbeatable seven-year warranty
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe Niro EV should offer enough range for most, but the majority of rivals offer much faster charging
- 3Running costs & insuranceKia’s standard seven-year/100,000-mile warranty is sure to provide drivers with peace of mind
- 4Performance, motor & driveIt may be quite nippy in a straight line, but the Niro EV offers little in terms of driver engagement
- 5Interior, dashboard & infotainment - currently readingThe Niro’s interior looks rather futuristic and while top models are expensive, the new Horizon model represents good value-for-money
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityA spacious cabin and plenty of boot space position the Niro EV as an ideal electric family car
- 7Reliability & safety ratingKia’s performance in the latest Driver Power owner survey and seven-year warranty should put owners’ minds at ease