The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
You sit a fair bit higher than you do in most hatchbacks, but the Kia e-Niro isn't a particularly high-rise SUV. Go for entry-level '2' trim and you'll get a manually adjustable driver's seat; an eight-way electrically adjustable seat (including lumbar adjustment) comes as standard from '3' trim, and 4+ trim adds memory recall settings. The steering wheel, meanwhile, is manually adjusted for height and reach on all trims, with a generous range of movement.
Overall, the e-Niro has a better driving position than the Hyundai Kona Electric, and, particularly, the Nissan Leaf, which lacks reach adjustment for its steering wheel. The dashboard layout is also conventional, which is wonderful because it means you get plenty of easy-to-find, physical buttons and switches to operate features such as the climate controls. Cars with touch-sensitive buttons, like the Volkswagen ID.3, are much more of a faff to use while you're driving.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
There’s no great issue with forwards visibility in the e-Niro, plus you get a decent over-the-shoulder view – it's certainly much easier to see out of than the Peugeot e-2008 or DS 3 Crossback E-Tense.
As a result parking it shouldn’t be too taxing, and to make it even easier, '2' trim gets front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, while '4+' trim adds brighter LED headlights.
Sat nav and infotainment
Go for entry-level '2' trim and you'll get an 8.0in touchscreen that operates a DAB radio, Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring. Stepping up to '3' trim adds a larger 10.3in touchscreen, built-in sat-nav and wireless phone charging.
Both versions have responsive software that's as simple to use as the Renault Zoe's, although the bigger screen has sharper graphics and larger icons, which are a little easier to find while you're driving. The e-Niro’s infotainment system isn’t quite up there with the best in class – those of the BMW i3 and Mini Electric – but it’s better than the system you get in the MG ZS EV, Leaf or e-2008.
Most versions come with a six-speaker stereo, but the range-topping '4+' trim gets an impressively punchy, eight-speaker JBL sound system.
The cars that have the plushest interiors in the small electric car class include the BMW i3 and Mini Electric, and following closely behind would be the smart-looking layout of the Peugeot e-208 and e-2008.
The e-Niro’s interior feels more functional than fancy next to those. It has more harsher plastics on its lower surfaces, but, in the main, it's still well screwed together and there's a decent mix of squishy plastics higher up and some glossy trims that push the e-Niro beyond the bargain-basement feel of the Leaf.
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