What's the used Kia e Niro estate like?
The Kia e-Niro might not look like a revolution, but it was one of the first pure electric cars offered at a reasonable price that came with a terrific on-paper range.
It emerged from the Kia Niro, an otherwise humdrum-looking SUV that sparkled by offering three choices of power: a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and this purely electric car. Like the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq and the Hyundai Kona, the Niro looks totally conventional. As a result, it’ll appeal to buyers who want to drive an electric car but don’t want something that looks too different.
This fully electric version shares all the good features of the regular Niro, in that it's handily sized outside and roomy inside, but it comes with a range that will embarrass many more expensive electric cars. In our Real Range test, it achieved 253 miles in real-world use – a great figure for a family-sized electric car and one rivalled only by its slightly smaller cousin, the Hyundai Kona Electric.
There's a choice of three trim levels on the e-Niro, and all are relatively well equipped. Entry-level '2' has single-zone climate control, privacy glass, part-leather seats, automatic lights and wipers, adaptive cruise control, 16in alloy wheels, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and keyless entry, but it’s available only with the lower-capacity 39kWh battery.
Meanwhile, '3' trim has the 64kWh battery which is quicker, has a much longer range, is better to drive and gets an upgraded infotainment system and a powered driver's seat, but that's not all. It also adds full leather seat trim, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. '4+' trim is even more lavish, with ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a sunroof included.
Go for entry-level '2' trim and as mentioned your Kia e-Niro will have a 134bhp electric motor coupled with a 39kWh battery pack. It's the same motor and battery combo that's used in the entry-level Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and it delivers respectable performance in the e-Niro. Opt for '3' or '4+' trim and you'll get the much larger 64kWh battery with a 201bhp electric motor that we clocked going from 0-60mph in 6.5sec. Okay, that’s still not Tesla Model 3 quick but rapid nonetheless.
On the road, it doesn't handle in a particularly exciting way, but body lean is well controlled and steering is reasonably crisp and responsive. And while the ride is a little stiff around town – you’ll want to avoid versions with bigger wheels, which exacerbate the problem – it smooths out nicely on the motorway to deliver plenty of long-distance comfort. If anything, the all-electric e-Niro actually handles more confidently and rides better than its hybrid siblings, due to its weight being concentrated further down.
Inside, you’ll find there’s loads of space in both the front and rear seats. This version has to make do with a shallower boot, because space below the floor is taken up with the battery, but this at least gives it a load lip that’s flush with the boot floor, making it very easy to load heavy boxes.
While the dashboard isn’t exactly the most stylish in the world, it all feels reasonably classy, with slick, easy-to-use controls and one of the most intuitive touchscreen infotainment systems out there.
In 2019 the Niro range received a facelift, with a new front and rear design including daytime LED running lights, tweaked bumpers and updated wheel trims. The interior is updated, too, with a new dashboard design and larger infotainment screens.
Also new on this revised Niro is Kia’s UVO Connect Services. Mimicking many premium manufacturers’ take on ‘live’ connected services, the Niro can now provide real-time information on the traffic and the weather. There’s a downloadable smartphone app, too.
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