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What Car? Electric Car Awards in association with myenergi

Electric Car Awards 2020: Electric small SUV

With electric cars now coming in all shapes and sizes – and available to suit every budget – we’ve named the best models in every class. Here we look at the best electric small SUV...

Electric Car Awards - Kia e-Niro

WINNER: Electric small SUV

Kia e-Niro

Best buy 64kWh 3 List price £36,850 (£33,850 inc £3000 gov’t grant) Target Price £36,850 Target PCP £474 per month 0-62mph 7.5sec Top speed 104mph Official range 282 miles CO2 emissions 0g/km

When the Kia e-Niro won our overall Car of the Year title in 2019, it showed that uncompromised electric car ownership was no longer reserved for the privileged few. With an impressive real-world range of 253 miles, it not only proved capable of covering the same distance between charges as the much more expensive Jaguar I-Pace but also went farther than any Tesla we’ve tested.

Two years on, the e-Niro is still something of a people’s champion. Although it costs more to buy than the budget-priced but much shorter-range MG ZS EV and welcome newcomers such as the stylish Peugeot e-2008, it’s cheaper in our recommended 3 trim than the equivalent 64kWh version of its stablemate, the Hyundai Kona Electric, not to mention the recently revamped Kia Soul EV. And it’s more well rounded than any of them.

Kia e-Niro rear cornering

That I-Pace-matching range means it can go farther between top-ups than any rival we’ve tested, apart from the Kona Electric, which beats it by six miles. At the same time, its 201bhp electric motor – shared with its siblings, as is its big battery – gives it hot hatch-rivalling performance. Unlike some small electric cars that are nippy around town but start to feel out of their depth at higher speeds, the e-Niro feels perfectly at home on the motorway; in fact, because it’s so refined and can go so far between top-ups, it makes a fine long-distance cruiser.

It has more composed handling and a more comfortable ride than the Kona and Soul, too, while there’s more space inside for occupants, although the Soul’s boot is slightly bigger.

Kia e-Niro 150kW First Edition - interior

The e-Niro’s interior isn’t as visually alluring as the e-2008’s, but it feels plusher inside than the Kona’s. And in mid-range 3 trim, it benefits from a long list of standard equipment, including adaptive cruise control, leather seats, a heated steering wheel and an impressive infotainment system with a 10.3in touchscreen.

Although this category is getting increasingly competitive, the e-Niro has proved that it has real staying power. With an unparalleled blend of space, affordability and usability, it’s going to be hard to beat

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