Unsurprisingly, Kia hasn’t messed around too much with a winning formula for the all-new electric Niro. Its predecessor was something of a sales hit, mixing practicality and a decent price with a respectable range that wouldn’t break you into a sweat on longer journeys. Only some frumpy looks and somewhat skittish driving dynamics really let it down, so these are the areas that have seen the most work.
Now called the Niro EV (the old car was the e-Niro), the newcomer certainly looks distinctive, with its aggressively angled LED driving lights and optional color-coded C-pillar treatment. You’d be hard-pressed to call the pseudo SUV handsome, but it stands out where its predecessor blended in, so that probably gets the job done. Inside, there’s a little more room for people and luggage, while the dashboard is sleeker and there’s a larger and more intuitive touchscreen infotainment system with all the connectivity you’ll ever need.
Underneath is the same 64.8 kWh battery as before, giving an incrementally greater range of 485 miles. The 201-horsepower front-mounted engine has also been carried over, although the response has been tuned to be less aggressive, meaning much of the traction-control-testing scrabble of the previous machine has been eliminated. In all other respects, the Kia is calm and capable on the road, accurate and with a decent composure, but never close to engaging or entertaining. Still, the refinement is good and, aside from brisk low speeds, it’s a comfortable and easy way to get around.
There’s a lot here to appeal to if you want a roomy, roomy and sophisticated family EV, and buyers of the old car are likely to form an orderly queue at Kia dealerships. Keep in mind, though, that the top-tier 4 EV costs barely less than the brand’s faster, slimmer and longer EV6.
4. Peugeot e-2008