Kia Niro EV

01 Kia Niro EV RT 2022 Hero corner
Second generation of Kia’s electric smash hit finds itself with tougher competition

When the Kia e-Niro was launched in 2019, it made the Volkswagen Group’s grand electric plans look slightly silly. While the German group was still working on its dedicated electric platform, here was a crossover that was relatively affordable, had more range than virtually all other EVs short of a Tesla, offered a lot of interior space and didn’t look too weird.It wasn’t a looker, either, but it was a smash hit for Kia. It arrived more than a year before the Volkswagen ID 3 and Citroën ë-C4 and ahead of the Peugeot e-2008. Modern, usable, long-range responses from Renault, Nissan, Vauxhall and Honda are in the development pipeline, but still not quite here yet. Meanwhile, the electric Niro is ready for a second generation.Given how well the e-Niro was still selling, it could be argued Kia didn’t really need to replace it. But it has. The latest Kia Niro looks very different from the old one, following Kia’s new design direction first seen on the EV6. It remains available as a full hybrid and a plug-in hybrid, but as the electric Niro is the biggest seller in the UK, that’s the one we’re testing.The electric Niro also has a new name. It’s now called the Kia Niro EV. Reportedly, ‘e-Niro’ didn’t work well in Google, a very 21st-century issue that anyone who has tried to find the website for Genesis cars and ended up on the homepage of the band with the same name will be able to attest is absolutely real. The new name also brings it in line with the full-hybrid Kia Niro HEV and plug-in hybrid Kia Niro PHEV.We almost awarded the e-Niro the full five stars when we road-tested it in 2019, but it had to settle for four and a half because of a lacklustre cabin and uninspiring driving dynamics. Can its successor claim that final half star? Kia has certainly made huge strides in the areas where the e-Niro faltered. On the other hand, the Niro EV has many more rivals to beat than the original did.Range at a glanceThe new Niro, like the outgoing model, is only available with electrified powertrains. The hybrid and plug-in hybrid use the same 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The EV drops the smaller-battery option that was available on the old e-Niro. All Niros share the same simple trim level structure of 2, 3 and 4.ModelPowerKia Niro HEV139bhpKia Niro PHEV180bhpKia Niro EV*201bhp*Version tested
Source: Autocar

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