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 first-generation 2018-2022 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 electric version of the Hyundai Ioniq and the Hyundai Kona Electric, 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 outlandish.
Now replaced by the updated Kia Niro EV, 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 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 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.
Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Kia e Niro estate?
You get a reasonable number of active safety aids to help you avoid an accident in the first place, though, including automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance. If you want blind spot monitoring or rear cross-traffic alert (the latter warns you about approaching cars when you’re backing out onto a road), you’ll need to upgrade to '4+' trim.
As for security, you get an alarm, deadlocks and locking wheel nuts as standard.
What are the most common problems with a used Kia e Niro estate?
Is a used Kia e Niro estate reliable?
Just like all Kias, it comes with a class-leading and transferable seven-year warranty from new as standard (limited to 100,000 miles).
What used Kia e Niro estate will I get for my budget?
Herein lies a problem. So popular has the e-Niro been, and so limited the number of cars imported to the UK, that used car prices are still high. You will still need at least £26,000 to get behind the wheel of one of the earliest 2019 e-Niros, and, although this probably won't have a huge mileage on it, it'll probably not be much cheaper than one plucked from the new car forecourts. You can of course always try haggling on your used e-Niro, but it is still very much a seller's market. If you want a 2021 example, you're looking at upwards of £27,000, and £30,000 to £33,000 for the last 2022 models.
How much does it cost to run a Kia e Niro estate?
Officially, the 39kWh e-Niro can manage 180 miles, which translates to around 140 miles in the real world. The 64kWh is a different kettle of fish. Officially its range is 282 miles and our Real Range test showed that 253 miles of driving is easily possible on a single charge. That's hugely impressive because it matches the pricier Jaguar I-Pace and betters the Model 3 and Renault Zoe that we tested. Only the Hyundai Kona Electric went slightly farther.
You can charge the battery using a Type 2 cable (included as standard) from a regular 7kW home wall box. A 0-100% charge takes around 6hrs for the 39kWh and just over 10hrs for the 64kWh. From a 50kW public CCS charger – the kind you find at motorway service stations – a 10-80% charge takes about 1hr for both battery sizes. If you can find a 100kW charger, that time is cut to circa 45mins, but the e-Niro's maximum charging rate isn't as quick as that of some of its newer rivals – or a Model 3's, and Tesla's supercharging network is far superior to anything else out there.
Kia’s servicing costs are very reasonable, too, and you can save further with one of Kia’s service plans, which allow you pre-pay for a batch of annual services in one go, but at discounted prices.
No e-Niro will have cost more than £40,000 when it was new, so, at present, you won't have to pay any road tax costs. Find out more about road tax costs here.
If you live in London, you’ll also find the e-Niro qualifies for exemption from the Congestion Charge and current Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) fee.
Which used Kia e Niro estate should I buy?
We recommend '3' trim. Why? Well, we've already mentioned that the 64kWh battery 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, but it's as pricey as the Tesla Model 3.
Our favourite Kia e-Niro: e-Niro 64kWh 3
What alternatives should I consider to a used Kia e Niro estate?
The Hyundai Kona EV is another great electric car. While the rival Kia e-Niro is the better choice for families due to being more practical and providing greater ride comfort, the Kona is still a hugely impressive EV in its own right. What's more, it is less expensive to buy than the e-Niro and the Kona goes farther on a full charge, too.
The Nissan Leaf is a well-equipped car that’s also good to drive and easy to live with. You'll get good performance, it's easy to live with, there's loads of standard kit and it's cheaper to buy than the expensive e-Niro.