The Look 

The Drive

On Board Computer

Camera & Parking

Seats & Rear Bench 

Cup Holders & Cubby Holes

Boot

Safety (Euro NCAP) 

An exciting electric for all the family

Starting price: £36,795

The Pros

Safety features

Large touchscreen

Plenty of USBs

Powered tailgate

Cons

Flimsy parcel shelf

Intro

We loved the Kia Sorento and Kia Sportage, they’re great family cars. So, we were excited to see what the all-new Kia Niro had to offer, and we are pleased to say, it did not disappoint. It’s a medium SUV with lots of exciting family features and we can see why it has won “Carbuyer Car of the Year 2023.” If you’re looking to switch to electric or wanting to upgrade to a new car, it’s definitely one to consider. The car comes in a choice of 3 power modes – electric (EV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or hybrid. Our review concentrates on the EV model of which there are 3 trims simply called 2, 3 and 4.

We drove the “4” which is the top trim. It is a stylish looking car and very easy to drive. The Niro has a keyless entry system as well as smart entry, meaning the car will unlock as you approach with the key. There’s a stop/start button and with a small steering wheel, it also has a fun and sporty feel. Being an SUV, you sit fairly high up on the road, though not as high as some cars we’ve driven. Switching between gears is incredibly easy with the use of a dial and being electric, the car is nice and quiet when driving, so the engine won’t disturb any sleeping babies.

The safety features in the Niro are fabulous and a huge plus when choosing Kia. Whilst stuck in traffic, the car will beep to alert you when traffic is moving on – handy if you find yourself distracted by World War 3 in the back. The steering wheel also vibrates to warn you the car in front is braking. There’s cruise control to make those longer journeys more comfortable and an SOS button for emergencies.

Let’s talk range and charge. The range is 285 miles, that’s better than the Skoda Enyaq which is 246 miles. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that realistically you’ll never quite get this due to the use of features such as the air con. The Niro EV has a regenerative braking system, which recovers energy that would otherwise be wasted when you apply the brakes and uses it to top up the battery.

Charge times of the battery if it has been fully depleted are as follows:

  1. With a 3-pin normal outdoor plug: 27hrs 30mins
  2. With a professionally mounted wall box at home: 9hrs 25mins
  3. An average street charge point (on a street light): 9hrs 25mins

A supermarket. In general, supermarkets use the same 7.2kW chargers as home wall boxes and street chargers, so 9hrs 25min. However, more and more supermarkets are getting 50kW DC chargers, which can charge the Niro EV in 1h 5m.

Interior

We really liked the interior of the Kia Niro, it has a sleek and stylish feel and the sunroof made it feel light and airy.  Your eye is immediately drawn to the large panoramic screen consisting of a digital cockpit, which sits close behind the steering wheel, and a 10.25 inch touchscreen. It sits nice and high on the dashboard. The infotainment system is easy to navigate around and with the addition of smartphone integration, you’ll be able to access your phone’s apps on the screen. The map app looks fab and we think a much better option than the car’s own navigation system. Kia’s audio options provide a “quiet zone” and this function allows you to turn off the speakers in the rear of the car. Helpful if there’s sleeping babies in the back. However, if you need to calm yourself (and the kids) down, Kia have also included some “sounds of nature” music. Listen to the tranquil sounds of a rainy day, forest birds or imagine yourself on a sailing ship!

For added safety and luxury, there’s a “heads up display” on the 4 trim. So, your speed and the speed limit of the road is visible in front of you on the windscreen.

The Niro’s dual air con can be controlled via the touchscreen or dials underneath the screen. We much prefer the second option as it feels much safer with little ones in the back. There are air vents in the back but sadly no temperature control.

Front and rear parking sensors and the addition of a rear camera on the 3 and 4 trims, make parking the car incredibly easy. The camera is also crystal clear on the touchscreen. Unfortunately, a 360° camera is not available on the Kia Niro (we do love these.) As you park the car, you’ll notice the electronic, retractable wing mirrors tilt so you can see the ground better too. If there’s anything in your blind spot, not only will the blind spot indicator light up in the wing mirror, but the steering wheel will vibrate to alert you – clever stuff!

Seats & Passenger Space

Vegan leather upholstery is the choice of fabric on the 4 trim. We’re not sure the kids will appreciate it, but as least you know any inevitable spillages are going to be wiped away with ease. There’s plenty of height and leg space in the front and with heated seats for the winter and ventilated seats for the summer months, you’re going to be comfortable, especially with the addition of a heated steering wheel!

As you turn the engine on, the seat remembers its previous position and automatically moves into it, giving you a comforting feel that your car really knows you! There’s the option to save 2 seat positions. As you exit the car, the seat also automatically moves back to give you more space to get out – how considerate!

Tall adults won’t struggle with the leg room in the back as long as the front seats are not too far back and the flat floor means a rear, central passenger won’t have to straddle their legs.

Ok, let’s talk kids. There are 2 ISOFIX points on the back seat and we managed to get 2 large high back boosters on the rear bench with our smallest booster in the middle. When we placed our rear facing baby seat on there, we were unable to squeeze in a third booster, so a third passenger will have to be old or tall enough to sit on the seat.

Sadly, there’s no option to add ISOFIX points to the front passenger seat. However, there is privacy glass in the rear, helping to keep out the sun’s glare and for anyone who doesn’t need a child seat, the rear bench can be heated. It’s also worth noting the rear doors open nice and wide, so you’ll have no difficulties manoeuvring a baby sit into the car.

Cups & Cubby

There are 2 central large cupholders in between the driver and passenger seats as well as a small amount of storage space for keys. You won’t be blown away by what’s on offer in the armrest but there is a good amount of space in the glove box. The Niro has a wireless phone charger below the dashboard, along with 1 USB port and 1 USB C port. Sadly, the door bins we would argue are a little pointless. You can fit very little in there and don’t even consider a water bottle!

The same can be said for the door bins in the rear, however there are storage pouches on the back on the front seats for books and iPads and a console holder behind each headrest. To keep those consoles charged, Kia have provided USB C ports on the side of each of the front seats too, so there’s no fear they’ll run out of battery.

Finally, there are also 2 large cupholders in central armrest.

Boot Space

The boot is a good size for a mid-range car; 475 litres. Not quite as much as the Skoda Enyaq, which is 585 litres. We managed to fit our large pram in there, leaving space around it for a few school bags and shopping. When we placed our stroller in the back, there was adequate space remaining. The boot floor is flush and there is the option of an additional heavy duty trunk liner to protect the boot from any mucky paws or football boots!

The Niro boot has a powered tailgate, so it makes opening and closing much easier when you’ve no hands free! Simply kick your foot under the car and the boot will magically open! It also beeps to alert anyone close by to get out of the way! Extra storage can be found in the bonnet of the car. About 20 litres, just enough for the charge cables. However, the cables can also be placed under the boot floor.

Our only quibble with the boot, is the flimsy parcel shelf. It got caught when we were placing our large pram in there. Not ideal if you’re trying to move quickly with little ones around. A retractable parcel shelf would be much better.

Summary

The Kia Niro EV is a great mid-range family car. If you’re considering going electric, we would say it’s definitely worth a look. To gain all the extra family features, you’ll need to skip the entry level and go for the 3 or 4 trim. The Kia Connect app is also worth a mention. It helps to make life simpler, by letting you how much charge is left, your nearest charge point and most importantly it will allow you to heat the car before the school run whilst in your house!

Remember you’ll also need to bear in mind how you’re going to charge the vehicle. Have you off street parking or are you going to rely on street charging? How close is your nearest charge point? It’s a good idea to check all this out prior to going electric. However, you can opt for the plug-in hybrid or hybrid option instead. Starting prices for these below:

EV – £36,795

Plug-in Hybrid – £34,075

Hybrid – £28,295

Car seats used in this review: 2 x Graco Tri Logic (width 40.8cm) 1 x Halfords Essentials Booster (width 39.5cm) 1 x Maxi Cosi Pebble (width 43cm)

Car Dimensions - Kate and Claire

Dimensions

4420mm (L) x 1825 (W) x 1570 (H)

Boot Capacity - Kate and Claire

Boot Capacity

475 litres

Backseat Size Kate and Claire Reviews

Backseat Dimensions

130 cm

Miles per Gallon - Kate and Claire

Miles per gallon

N/A

Range - Kate and Claire

Range

285 miles

Speedometer - Kate and Claire

Speed

0-60mph in 7.8 secs