Donna Kelly has over 14 years of experience in the motoring industry, writing, test driving and tweeting about cars. Her weekends are spent trackside, covering racing events.
As the first EV to win the What Car's Car of the Year award, this practical, comfortable, and economical family SUV makes for a popular lease choice with drivers looking for an electric car with a long-range – without breaking the bank.
Rivals to the Kia e-Niro include the Citroen e-C4, MG ZS EV, Peugeot e-2008, Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Soul EV.
Our Kia e-Niro review covers:
Despite being based on the Niro small SUV, it's easy to distinguish the e-Niro from its hybrid and PHEV siblings out on the road. Thanks to some design tweaks, including a filled-in front grille, which houses the charging port, flashes of blue trim near the daytime running lights, and unique alloy wheels, the e-Niro not only looks futuristic, but its striking exterior design also aids aerodynamics and efficiency.
The e-Niro's clever design continues inside with plenty of leg, head and shoulder room for driver and passengers and more cabin space than the Renault Zoe, DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, Hyundai Kona Electric, and Peugeot e-2008.
There's plenty of storage space, including a generous-sized glovebox, two cupholders between the front seats and a tray in front of the gear selector for your mobile phone and keys.
At the rear, the e-Niro's respectable 451-litre boot is spacious enough to carry the weekly family shop or up to five carry-on suitcases, offering similar space to MG ZS EV, Peugeot e-2008 and Volkswagen ID.3.
The boot is a usefully square shape, with practically no load lip for easy loaded and enough under-floor storage to house the charging cables. The e-Niro's rear seats also split and fold in 60/40 ratio, increasing boot space up to 1,405 litres when folded, which is enough to load a bike.
Inside, the e-Niro's interior is similar to the standard Niro. While it's not as plush as the BMW i3, MX-30 and MINI Electric, its well-built, functional and boasts some nice touches, including leather, soft-touch plastics, and piano black trims.
Entry-level models get an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, while higher-spec models get a 10.25-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, European mapping, DAB radio and Bluetooth.
There are three trim levels to choose from, including 2, 3 and 4+ models.
Entry-level '2' cars come with privacy glass, LED daytime driving lights, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, a rear-view camera and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The mid-spec '3' version adds a larger 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging, leather upholstery, heated front seats and an eight-way electrical adjustment for the driver's seat.
The range-topping '4+' trim includes heated rear seats, an upgraded JBL stereo and ambient interior lighting.
In terms of power, the e-Niro comes with a choice of two battery sizes, two power outputs and two range capabilities.
The entry-level 39kWh battery boasts a 134bhp electric motor for respectable performance figures and a decent range of 180 miles.
The 64kWh battery, however, is the pick of the bunch with its 201bhp electric motor and official range of 282 miles.
Charging times vary from zero to 80% in 75 minutes with a 50kW fast charger for the 64kWh model. Charging from empty at home will take around 10 hours, but it will only cost you around £9, making it around £20 cheaper than fuelling a petrol car to cover the same distance.
Out on the road, the e-Niro offers a quiet and comfortable ride. Around town, its quick acceleration and precise steering make it a breeze to nip in and out of busy city traffic. While it doesn't corner as sweetly as petrol and diesel counterparts, its body remains more upright through tighter turns than the e-2008.
Prices for the new Kia e-Niro start from £36,045.00 OTR* or to lease from £347.75 per month.
Thinking of going electric for 2021? Nationwide Vehicle Contracts has some fantastic lease deals on the Kia e-Niro, which could be cheaper than buying outright with a bank loan or dealer finance. All our lease deals include road tax, breakdown cover, the full manufacturer's warranty and free mainland GB delivery.
*'On the road' price is correct at time of publication and includes one year's road fund license, DVLA first registration fee and number plate fee. Prices are subject to change. Always check with your nearest retailer.