- Comfortable interior
- Good levels of practicality
- High quality materials
It completes the Niro line-up which started with petrol models and then progressed to petrol-hybrids before adding the pure electric model, the Niro EV, this autumn and the latest models are slightly longer, wider, and taller with a stretched footprint.
It is the second-biggest selling Kia UK model series and comes in three trim levels.
Powertrains and Performance
With Kia's experience of this growing technology, the Niro driving experience is simple, sophisticated, and satisfying.
Pickup is very brisk, extremely smooth, and eerily quiet. Overtaking is usually straightforward and quick.
Motorway cruising is near silent but, like all EVs, the Niro really rewards the user on main and minor roads when it’s not constantly emptying its battery but recharging up and down hills or when braking.
Matching the powertrain is a really nicely balanced steering with no vibration, good feel and a reasonably compact turning circle for urban use. It also had precision when pressing on through countryside.
The brakes are well up to their task, but set the regeneration to high, and it really becomes a single-pedal drive, as lifting off the throttle dramatically drags down the speed, and it will even stop without the need to use the brake.
Wind and other noise are very low too, so that only serves to exaggerate the road and suspension rumbles and bumps.
The switch on and go takes just a few seconds, and you have a choice of modes using the recuperative system to maximise economy or performance, or just settle for something between.
Thanks to the low positioned weight of the battery pack, the roadholding is very good, the car responds faithfully to steering inputs and was not put off-line by mid-corner bumps. Handling was fairly neutral as well but press hard mid-way through a bend and the nose could run wide.
A choice of charging cables mean it plugs into a domestic supply, dedicated quick charger at home or public shared spaces and the boost comes fairly quickly on the fastest superchargers. It can be fully charged on domestic point in about seven hours.
I found it charged to about 80 percent in under an hour, but you can shorten the cycle if needed and the higher power is there to be taken.
Design and Practicality
It's not cheap, but it's very well-made and highly practical, with a sensible range for frequent commuting or longer journeys taken at a stretch.
Inside, the fit and finish is of a very high quality and the car certainly looks a lot more luxurious than you might expect at this price.
The seat adjustment is good in the front, and they are nicely padded and supportive for bad roads and quick cornering, while those behind have to compromise a little on legroom but not headroom.
Access to the cabin and boot with a small lip under the fifth door are both unrestricted and the space inside the car and the luggage area is fairly reasonable, and the back seats easily fold down to more than double the volume.
Equipment and Technology
The Niro EV has fairly simple and expected secondary controls apart from the powertrain settings, and they are all close to the driver around the wheel and over the fascia. The lights are also bright and the wipe/wash system is effective too.
Instrumentation can be subtly altered yet remains very clear despite sparse marking of the dials.
Heating and ventilation controls are straightforward and quickly warmed the interior, but you can see its effect on the remaining power, so it needs careful use in colder weather, or presumably the cooling air conditioning on warmer days.
Oddments provision is good for a family car, albeit the compartments are small but plentiful. Power and USB points are fitted, and the infotainment system is comprehensive and the readout very clear.
With the '2' trim, you'll benefit from:
- 17-inch Alloy Wheels
- 10.25-inch Supervision Cluster
- Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- Cloth Upholstery
- Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (Car/Ped/Cyc/Junction) (FCA)
- Rear Parking Sensors
- 11kW On Board Charging
- Smart Cruise Control w/ Stop & Go
- Towing Pack
With the comfort and convenience of the Niro EV, you have a very good car for the modern family, and it comes with a long warranty to let you make the most of it.
In my eyes, it is a tall hatchback and not really a sporting model, but it does a good job and offers a great experience to both driver and passengers.