Kia e-Niro long-term test review

What's the first-ever electric winner of our Car of the Year title like to live with? We find out...

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Jim Holder
14 May 2019

Kia e-Niro in London traffic
  • The car Kia e-Niro First Edition
  • Run by Jim Holder, editorial director
  • Why it’s here To find out just how good the first fully electric What Car? Car of the Year really is
  • Needs to Do everything a conventional SUV can do, without compromises

Price £32,995 (after grant) Price as tested £33,560 Miles covered 5028 Official range 282 miles Test economy 267 miles Options Premium paint (£565)

24 April – Is the Kia e-Niro a good car?

Shock, surprise and awe: the Kia e-Niro is a car.

It has four wheels, five seats, a steering wheel and a boot. It accelerates, brakes and goes round corners.

Forgive my flippancy, but it’s easy to be distracted by the e-Niro’s party tricks, namely it’s extraordinary range and competitive price.

They are, I concede, head turners - the very pillars on which it’s What Car? Car of the Year title was won - and facets which I’ve laboured over in my first two reports which you can read on subsequent pages.

But now, with more than 5000 miles on the clock, making it - we think - one of, if not the highest mileage UK-registered e-Niro in the country - it’s time to consider its wider abilities. After all, why should electric motoring come with compromises?

Kia e-Niro in central London with red bus

It helps that this First Edition model - the only one available for at least the car’s first 12 months on sale - comes loaded with kit, from a heated steering wheel to a fancy-pants leather interior. There is no question that it’s a nice car to be in, with an added bonus of being notches above what a mass market mindset might expect from Kia.

There are bigger family SUVs - the Skoda Karoq and Seat Ateca spring to mind, although at this budget you could stretch to lower-end versions of the larger Kodiaq and Tarraco - and potentially ones that offer more in terms of space, comfort and practicality, but the margins are small.

Perhaps the biggest compromise is on the move: the firmness of the ride, no doubt as a consequence of the weight of the battery pack, makes sure you feel lumps in the road. Still, it’s noticeable rather than irritating - and still fractions better than several rivals, including the Hyundai Kona.

Anyone wanting to take advantage of the boy racer acceleration - a stamp on the accelerator from a standstill in the wet or on a dusty road will soon get the wheels spinning - might be disappointed that it doesn’t offer the last word dynamic excellence when it comes to turning corners. That said, you might question is the aforementioned boy racers have bought the right car in the first place...

All in, then, the e-Niro - like the more conventional Niro - is a very decent all-rounder - and as a result a very decent car.

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