Niro worship | 

Second gen Kia Niro EV's impressive range leaves competitors in dust

New look Niro is even better than the original and its impressive range puts it ahead of competitors

The new Kia Niro has a bigger, stronger look which gives a unique identity

We are big fans of the Niro's inside too

Kia Niro EV

Daragh KeanySunday World

Kia Niro

When I was at the European launch of the Niro in Frankfurt in August, I was given my choice of powertrains to take around the picturesque German mountains. I opted for the plug-in hybrid that day and discovered the 2nd-generation version was as exciting as the Korean manufacturers had been claiming.

Its new look gives it more of a unique identity whereas Mk1 could easily have been mistaken for the super-popular Sportage.

But there is no denying the new look Niro is much better that the original. I thought it in August when I had it for a few hours and I think it even more now having had the full-EV version in my driveway for a week.

I worked it hard over the seven-day journey of school runs, urban commutes and a few decent-sized motor way trips, and honestly, it is hard to find any flaws.

The looks may polarise opinion in some quarters, but it is far from as ‘out there’ as a lot of new models these days. Personally, I appreciate what the designers have done here, creating a bigger and stronger look with brave panelling at the back behind the C pillar. These can be personalised to match your tastes.

We are big fans of the Niro's inside too

This panel coupled with the bolder front view (I can’t say grille because the EV doesn’t have one) as well as the brilliant looking headlights, which were robbed from the Sportage, make this a good looking car. It certainly grew in confidence since the last version, which tended to blend into the traffic even though it was a cracking car.

Inside gets even more exciting as it takes design inspo from the 2022 Irish Car of the Year, the all-conquering EV6. Big screens beside a rotary gear selector under the giant centralised touchscreen with a lovely digital instrument display for little old me.

Onboard ‘tech’ is becoming an ever-growing bugbear of mine with some of the bigger German brands ballsing up the seemingly simple art of making a logically laid out infotainment system easy to learn, use and navigate.

Kia is one such company that does this brilliantly. The Korean company has clearly put an emphasis on functionality as opposed to trying to create a wow factor level of tech, which usually comes to the detriment of the simple stuff.

The rear camera is also very good. Another simple thing, that some companies get wrong, done right.

The battery pack for the Niro EV is under the floor which helps with the car’s overall weight distribution and can also be charged more rapidly than the previously-monikered e-Niro.

Kia Niro EV

The boot measures 475 litres, making it much bigger than the other electric cars in its segment. Plus there is a 20-litre trunk under the bonnet to store the charge cables too!

The space inside is equally as impressive. Head room and leg room is plentiful in the front and the back, and there are loads of storage cubby compartments throughout.

There’s a 204hp electric motor that drives the front wheels fed by a 64.8kWh lithium-ion battery. Officially, it has a 460km range, but realistically you should aim for 400-420km.

Even still, that puts it above the competitors again (although the Hyundai Kona claims 22km more).

It can be a fast car too if you want it to be with impressive torque, and the ride quality is definitely more composed than the hybrid and PHEV versions. The heavy battery also helps to keep the car glued to the road which is a good thing because the steering can be a bit light at times.

The full electric version starts at €43,550 when you factor in the government grant and VRT rebate but expect to pay a few quid more for a more enjoyable spec.

It is isn’t the cheapest EV on the road but you get a lot of bang for your buck. You just have to look at the amount of taxi drivers driving them to know they are reliable and fun.

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