Electric cars coming soon

Electric vehicles still account for a tiny proportion of car sales, but that could soon change, because these upcoming models push the boundaries of performance, range and desirability...

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What Car? team
09 October 2016

Electric cars coming soon

Kia e-Niro

Kia e-Niro front

On sale February 2019 Price from £30,000 (est)

While the number of electric cars on sale in the UK is growing fast, there are still few that have a range nudging what you would expect from petrol and diesel models. The official 301 miles that the Kia e-Niro can do between charges is therefore one of the most impressive figures yet – one that only the Hyundai Kona Electric (with which the Niro EV shares several key components) and much more expensive, premium-badged models can match.

The fact that the e-Niro uses the same 201bhp electric motor as the Kona Electric also makes it a very quick car – almost shockingly so. The first time you put your foot down, you’re taken aback by just how urgent and rapid it feels, delivering its power more like a sports car than a Niro hybrid.

It’s almost at odds with the car’s eco-friendly brief but brings with it impressive driveability, allowing you to progress through traffic with confidence once you’ve learnt how light you need to be with your right foot to avoid spinning the front wheels.

Kia e-Niro dashboard

The steering has a nice weight and consistency to it, too, but don’t expect a cushy ride; the e-Niro tends to thump over bumps instead of isolating its occupants from them.

It takes 54 minutes to get the battery to 80% if you use a fast charger and just over nine and a half hours on a standard charge. However, otherwise there’s little discernible difference between the e-Niro and its hybrid sister models, so inside you get a solid, if somewhat unspectacular, dashboard, plenty of space for five adults and a good-sized boot.

Pricing will obviously be crucial to just how big a success the e-Niro can be, but Kia is aiming for less than £30,000, undercutting the top-spec Kona Electric. True, the Nissan Leaf can be had for £21,500 at the moment through What Car? New Car Buying, but you sacrifice a huge proportion of driving range with that car.

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