Since the Soul EV was a combustion-engined adaptation, the e-Niro can be thought of as Kia’s first purpose-built electric car; although, since hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Niro are also available, that may seem a slightly troubling notion to contemplate.
It may therefore be more helpful to explain that both the Niro and e-Niro are built on a platform designed from a clean sheet to accept electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid powertrain options. It’s the e-Niro that offers the most power and the best claimed performance statistics of the three, being priced at the sort of 20% premium over and above the PHEV version that you would expect of a performance-tuned hot hatchback compared with a mid-range model.
The e-Niro has a 64kWh drive battery with two and a half times as much storage capacity as the Soul EV had five years ago; which, for the moment, is significantly more than the majority of similarly priced EVs offer. Because it’s a purpose-built EV, it carries that battery between the axles and under the cabin floor, where it doesn’t adversely affect the car’s storage space or weight distribution. The liquid-cooled, lithium ion battery weighs 457kg all on its own, and makes for a car with an unladen weight claimed at a whisker over 1.8 tonnes – and which we measured at a whisker under that threshold.