The e-Niro’s electric motor certainly isn’t silent when working hard – although it’s quieter than an internal combustion engine would be when asked to perform in the same way. It makes a high-pitched electronic whine under load, layered against a gentle turbine whizz as the rotor gathers speed, that’s not loud or bothersome, and isn’t without intriguing audible character.
It’s interesting that, just as its partner brand Hyundai did with the Kona Electric, Kia has engineered a very slight but perceptible instant of hesitation into the e-Niro’s throttle response – albeit one that only seems to apply when the car’s accelerating away from standing.
Dip deep into the right-hand pedal and the e-Niro accelerates with real purpose, right from the moment its driven axle begins to turn – but there’s a split second of delay between the movement of your right foot and the animation of that axle. It’s something that some EVs don’t have, and it’s plainly there to help ‘normalise’ the electric driving experience for those who’ve spent decades driving combustion-engined cars and won’t be used to such a rapier connection between pedal input and system output.