New Kia e-Niro vs Hyundai Kona Electric

Two months ago, we named Hyundai’s Kona Electric as the best car of its kind. But has fellow Korean brand Kia made better use of the very same battery and motor with its e-Niro?...

Hyundai Kona Electric inside
Hyundai Kona Electric inside

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Unlike the Nissan Leaf’s steering wheel, which moves only up and down, the Kona’s and e-Niro’s have both reach and rake adjustment to suit a wider range of drivers. Even so, it’s the e-Niro that has the better seating position, allowing you to sit back comfortably with your arms and legs outstretched, whereas in the Kona you’re perched over the pedals and sitting far more upright.  

While the e-Niro gets heated front seats and full electric seat adjustment as standard, you’ll need to jump up to Premium SE trim to get these things in the Kona. Electric lumbar adjustment is standard on both cars to help stave off lower back pain on longer journeys.

Kia e-Niro interior

The e-Niro’s interior looks the more sober of the two, but it has a better mix of squishy plastics and generally feels higher in quality. That’s not to say the Kona’s is bad; it may be a sea of hard plastic, but it’s well constructed, with precise-feeling switches and controls.

Forward visibility is good in both cars, although slightly bigger side and rear windows mean it’s easier to see out of the e-Niro over your shoulder. Parking shouldn’t be a worry, either, because front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera are standard on both cars.