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The Top Gear car review: Kia e-Niro
For:Plentiful range, handy performance and proper family space
Against:Not exactly a looker. Overcrowded dash
What is it?
In both its ‘self-charging’ hybrid and plug-in hybrid forms, the Kia Niro is an acceptable (if rather plain) family-sized crossover. The e-Niro is a different kettle of fish, though. Are you still an early adopter if you ditch internal combustion altogether? Probably not, but you’ll still get the opportunity to pull an “I’m doing my bit, are you” smug face whenever someone asks what you drive.
And whilst the visual changes over the standard Niro may not seem drastic, they do at least give the e-Niro its own character. The closed-off grille and blue accents are both stylish touches and look particularly good with the Midnight Black paint option.
The e-Niro’s closest rival – the Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh – does look far more interesting with its Stormtrooper styling and more extensive paint palette, but the e-Niro scores crucial points on price, practicality (it’s a generously-sized car) and range.
Kia only offers a single spec for the e-Niro, meaning buyers all get a 64kWh lithium-ion battery and 282 miles of range (compared to the Kona’s 278 miles – hah). The only options are the aforementioned premium paint colours (£585) and three- or five-year service plans (£479 and £709 respectively), but standard equipment includes 17-inch wheels, radar cruise control and a whole host of active safety features.
It’s front-wheel drive only and features a single-speed automatic gearbox – as well as Kia’s first ever rotary gear selector for all you fact fans. Kia says there’s ample space for five adults inside too, and that the Niro was designed to sit between the Ceed hatch and the Sportage SUV in size.
The price? £34,995 after applying the Government’s £3,000 plug-in car grant. That’s only around £3,000 more than the top-spec plug-in hybrid Niro, and roughly £1,000 cheaper than a similarly equipped Kona. Hyundai does offer an entry-level 39kWh version of the Kona for under £30k though, although that only gets a range of around 180 miles.