Say hello to…
…the Niro EV, the second generation of Kia’s mid-size SUV that sits between the Soul and Sportage. Kia offers the Niro in three different powertrains; hybrid, plug-in hybrid and as the pure electric vehicle tested here.
In this sector of the market, a range of 285 miles is rare and impressive and Kia achieves this with a 204 hp electric motor ‘fuelled’ by a 64.8 kWh battery.
Maximum charge speed, however, is on the lower side at 72kW. Kia claims this won’t be an issue for drivers as the new Niro is able to reach and maintain that maximum faster and for longer resulting in shorter recharging times.
Fleets can choose from three trim levels of Niro EV:
All EV models come with alloy wheels, LED headlights, rear parking sensors, reversing camera, 8-inch infotainment screen, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, smart cruise control and a host of safety assistance features, an 11kW on-board charger and battery pre-heating. Grade ‘3’ adds 10.25-inch touchscreen with satnav, front parking sensors, faux leather upholstery, keyless entry, heated front seats, wireless phone charger and even more safety kit. Trim level ‘4’ further adds head-up display, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, powered tailgate, sunroof, memory driver’s seat, parking assist and a few more safety features.
Is The Kia Niro EV Suitable For My Fleet
The Niro EV is by far the most fleet-suitable of the Niro range for two reasons.
Firstly, there’s the obvious company car tax advantage. If you compare powertrains, and take each in ‘2’ trim, the EV will save a driver £2,340 in benefit-in-kind taxation over three years against the PHEV and an additional £5,436 over the hybrid.
Secondly, due to the way the Niro has been designed, the EV has a significantly bigger boot than the PHEV (which has the petrol tank under the boot floor). The boot in the EV is a whopping 475 litres, while for the PHEV it’s 348 litres.
According to Gensen Reports the Niro EV will cost around 5p a mile in electricity and has a true monthly cost of £564, based on a 3+33 profile and 10,000 miles a year.
Leasing A Kia Niro EV
The popularity of the first generation Niro means it’s well known in the used car market and has strong residual values. As a result on Intelligent Car Leasing you can lease a Niro EV for your SME fleet over three years and 8000 miles a year for £313 + VAT a month plus an initial nine month rental. Kia also performs better than many brands for keeping delivery times as low as possible. However, don’t expect to be able to get hold of one immediately.
Driving A Kia Niro EV
The previous generation Niro was good value, practical, and roomy, but the driving experience wasn’t up to the same high standard as the rest of the package. The new Niro is a hugely better to drive.
Overall, the driving experience is almost exactly what you want from a mid-size SUV. The ride is comfortable without being too soft or wallowing in the bends. Over larger bumps and potholes the suspension is quiet compared to its rivals and if you really want to the car is happy enough being driven a bit more quickly. However, the light steering offers minimal information about what’s going on at the wheels.
At motorway speeds you can hear wind noise, particularly around the A-pillar and door mirrors, but it is well within what’s perfectly acceptable for a car at this price point. The Niro EV also feels very settled on the motorway which would make long business journeys easy.
The higher SUV driving position helps this aspect too. While the raised driving position and light steering should make manoeuvering and parking easy, the solid rear pillar can block the over-the-shoulder view at times. To compensate, the Niro is equipped, as standard, with a reversing camera and at least three dedicated rear-looking safety systems on the higher specification cars.
If there’s a weak point to the Niro drives, it’s the brakes. While there’s no hint of transition between energy regeneration and actually braking, there’s also no hint of feel from the pedal. However, the full EV can be driven in a one-pedal mode where the regeneration force of simply lifting off the accelerator is high enough to bring the car to a stop. For those that like those systems, it works well. Kia also offers a regeneration mode that uses satnav and mapping information to control how much power is reclaimed. Other manufacturers offer similar systems and like them, it’s easier to live with a fixed rate of regen and use the one-pedal driving mode.
FleetandLeasing.com Verdict On The Kia Niro EV
A hard-to-fault pure-electric mid-size SUV with excellent range that’s well equipped and exceedingly roomy that should appeal to a wide business audience.
- Model: Kia Niro EV 4
- Power: 204hp
- Torque: 255Nm
- Max speed: 104mph
- 0-62mph: 7.8 s
- Official range: 285 miles
- Test range: 249 miles
- CO2 emissions: 0g/km
- BIK tax band 2022/23: 2%