2023 Kia Niro EV UK-spec SG2

2023 Kia Niro EV UK-spec SG2

Haste disposal. Slower it may be, but the latest Kia EV is better in every way than the old one.


Some of the new Kia Niro EV’s statistics catch the eye. For instance, the one about it being slightly bigger than the E-Niro it replaces, yet also slightly lighter. And the one about it having less torque. And a slower 0-62mph time. And a lower top speed. Normally, you’d think these reductions in output and performance were some terrible error. But in the case of the huge-selling Niro, it makes perfect sense, because these dialling-down changes make it truer to its essential self. Want to fly away from the lights? You’ve bought the wrong car. Instead, breeze around at sensible speeds and appreciate the longer range between charges, not to mention the increased tyre life that should also follow from putting less torque through the front wheels.


2023 Kia Niro EV UK-spec SG2

The electric Niro, as before, shares its platform with hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions (albeit a different platform this time), so it has a conventional layout and engine-friendly proportions, just no engine. The battery is under the floor, driving the front wheels through a single electric motor. The battery is new, with a slightly longer range (to be confirmed – our test car was a pre-production model) and slightly quicker charging times. There are three trim levels, all well equipped, but the bigger touchscreen and full suite of safety electronics are reserved for the top model.

The biggest, most welcome change is the leap into something resembling the current Kia family look. It’s a look that ties the Niro in with the dashing EV6, although that all-electric range-topper is much bigger and keener to embrace the Star Trek version of the future. By contrast, the new-look Niro interior is a nicely updated version of the old car’s, with an easy-to-use and easy-on-the-eye mix of digital instruments, central touchscreen and physical buttons. Kia has put all the thought in, so you don’t have to; just concentrate on driving.

Talking of which… the one area that really needed more change than it got is the ride quality. It’s oddly noisy and awkward at times, out of keeping with a car that’s generally calm, comfortable and unhurried. And the steering lacks feel and feedback, but that’s crazy high-performance talk.


2023 Kia Niro EV UK-spec SG2 - interior RHD


First verdict

A car that’s utterly at home in its own skin, with genius-level user-friendliness, albeit without an ounce of excitement ★★★★★

THE FIRST HOUR

  • 1 minuteNot sure about the contrasting C-pillars, but overall exterior look is vastly better than before
  • 2 minutesAnd the interior is better still
  • 4 minutesNothing complicated to master – just engage D and go
  • 40 minutesI’ve fiddled with ever possible permutation of settings, and ended up back with the defaults. Kia knows best
  • 59 minutesPark next to an old Niro. Night and day

Fractionally bigger than before; vastly better looking

TECHNICAL DATA 2023 KIA NIRO EV

  • PRICE From £34,995 (£40,495 as tested)
  • POWERTRAIN 60.4kWh battery, e-motor, single-speed transmission, front-wheel drive
  • MAX POWER 201bhp
  • MAX TORQUE 188lb ft
  • PERFORMANCE ACCELERATION 7.5sec 0-62mph
  • MAX SPEED 103mph
  • ON SALE Summer 2022
  • WEIGHT 1739kg
  • EFFICIENCY 4.0 miles per kWh (tested), 285-mile range (est), 0g/km CO2
  • PLUS Easy to use; efficient; no longer ugly
  • MINUS Ride quality still needs work; no fun to be had
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