BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Car Review

Kia Niro EV review

£34,940 - £40,440
Published: 04 Mar 2024
A stellar EV that’s simple to use and nails the basics. Also no longer mind-numbingly boring to look at. Result

Good stuff

Confident exterior redesign, strong range and efficiency, refinement

Bad stuff

Numb to drive, glossy centre console fingerprint and glare prone, uninspired cabin


What is it?

You wouldn’t know it at first glance, but this striking-looking thing is actually Kia’s second-generation Niro in its all-electric form. Quite the glow-up for what was previously a worthy but impossibly dull crossover, isn’t it?

Kia says this new gen was created using the ‘Opposites United’ design ethos that was first introduced on the EV6, and there’s clear similarities to 2019’s HabaNiro concept that debuted at the New York Auto Show too. We’re big fans of the new look, including that Audi R8-style contrast blade behind the rear doors.

Advertisement - Page continues below

You’ll have noticed we avoided the whole e-Niro thing, though. That’s because this second iteration is called the Niro EV rather than e-Niro. Nope, we’ve no idea why either. Sometimes it's best not to ask.

Does it matter, though?

Well the name change might not, but the car most certainly does. Kia sold over 26,000 examples of the e-Niro after its launch in 2019 and it’s been in the top 10 best-selling EVs in the UK every year since, finishing in seventh place overall in 2023. 

That’s not bad going, considering the sector it sits in and the rivals it’s up against, including the likes of the Hyundai Kona Electric, Jeep Avenger, MG4, Peugeot e-2008, Renault Megane E-Tech, Smart #1, BYD Atto, DS 3 E-Tense, and Volvo EX30.

Can I only have an electric Niro?

Nope, you can still buy the normal-but-also-new-looking Niro in both hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) forms. We’ll focus on the EV here though – it’s the most popular iteration in the UK with around half of all Niros sold now fully electric. Good news, because the pure EV is also the best.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Ooh, so tell me more… 

Well, it’s all very simple. You’ve got just one powertrain option, with a single electric motor powering the front wheels with 201bhp and 188lb ft of instantaneous torque. Then you’ve just got to pick from four different trim levels known as 2, Horizon, 3 and 4, with the latter the best equipped. There’s five seats, plenty of screen action inside, a practically sized boot out back and an extra 20-litre space in the nose. This new generation can even tow, although it’ll only pull a 750kg trailer.

You’ll be able to spot the EV by its two-tone closed off grille and the extra crossover-spec black plastic side cladding that’s down the sides. 

How far will it go on a single charge?

At the time of writing there’s only one battery option for the Niro EV. Whereas the e-Niro could previously be specced with either a 39kWh or 64kWh unit, the new Niro gets a one-size-fits-all 64.8kWh lithium-ion battery for 285 miles of WLTP range. Plenty.

How much does it cost?

Great question. Prices start at £37,325 in the UK and there’s much more info over on the Buying tab of this review, so head there to see what your hard-earned cash gets you…

Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

The all-electric iteration remains the Niro to have, and there aren’t many rivals who can match its combo of range and price

The updates to the Niro EV look fairly radical both inside and out, and there’s no doubt that this is a much more interesting crossover because of the new look.

Thankfully though, Kia hasn’t played with the fundamentals too much – the old e-Niro was an efficient and impressive electric car, so this new one just needed to build on that. It’s just as quick, slightly more comfortable and extremely easy to get on with.

As a result, the all-electric iteration remains the Niro to have, and there aren’t many rivals who can match its combo of range and price.

The Rivals

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine