Hyundai Kona Electric vs Kia e-Niro main image

Kia e-Niro vs Hyundai Kona Electric: used car comparison

Which is better, the Kia e-Niro or Hyundai Kona Electric? Our comparison guide tells you everything you need to know.

Cazoo Editorial Team Byline Icon

By Cazoo editorial team

Published: 8 November 2022

The Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric are among the best compact electric SUVs:  practical enough for family life and with enough range to cover most journeys without you having to worry too much about the battery running out of charge.

There are, however, some significant differences between the two cars that could prove crucial to deciding which one could best meet your needs. You can find out everything you need to know in this guide, where we’ll compare the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric in the most important areas to help you decide which one is best for you.

Both the e-Niro and Kona Electric were first sold in 2018. A brand-new version of the e-Niro (renamed Niro EV) was introduced in summer 2022 but we’re focusing here on the original, sold from 2018 to 2022. The Kona Electric was updated in 2021 with a few design and specification changes, but it’s fundamentally the same car that it was in 2018.

Size and styling

It’s worth pointing out at this stage that the e-Niro and Kona Electric share many components including battery packs, electric motors and on-board technology. That’s because the Kia and Hyundai brands are owned by the same company – also called Hyundai. And yet the two cars look and feel very different.

The Kia’s styling is softer and rounder, most noticeably at the front which features quite large headlights. By contrast, the Hyundai looks more angular, perhaps sportier, and it has smaller, pointier headlights. The Kona’s styling was updated in 2021 with a new front bumper and lights.

There’s also a marked difference in size between the two cars. The Niro is 150mm longer than the Kona, a big enough difference that while the Kona is generally considered a small SUV, the Niro is called a mid-size SUV.

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Interior and tech

Both the Kia and Hyundai have pleasant interiors that are easy to live with but they look quite different. The Kia’s touchscreen infotainment system display is integrated into the centre of the dashboard; the Hyundai’s protrudes from the top of the dashboard. 

The Kia has a bit more of a premium feel, with more plastics that are soft to the touch. But the Hyundai hardly feels tinny – indeed, both cars feel like they’re built to last for many years. You’ll soon learn where the buttons and knobs are for the features that you use most often and you can connect your phone to both cars’ infotainment systems via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Both cars are available with a wide range of trim levels, all which are equipped with lots of useful features. Top-of-the-range models are actually the most popular and come with features such as heated leather seats, sunroof, sat nav, climate control, cruise control and front and rear parking sensors. Lower-spec models have fewer features included as standard but still come with useful stuff like air con and cruise control.

Boot space and practicality

We mentioned earlier that the Kia is a bigger car than the Hyundai and that’s most noticeable when considering their practicality. 

The Niro has good headroom and legroom for four tall adults (five would be a squeeze), so it has all the space a family with two children are likely to need. There are no concerns about space in the Kona’s front seats, but the back seats are much less accommodating. Younger children should be okay, but it always pays to think about how tall your children might become, rather than the height they are now, when buying a family car. Both cars have two sets of Isofix child seat mounts on the back seats.

It’s a similar story in the boots. The Niro’s is considerably bigger, with a capacity of 450 litres. That’s easily big enough for everything from a bulky pushchair to gear for a family camping trip. You’ll struggle to get a pushchair into the Kona’s 332-litre boot and holidays will require careful packing, but it’s fine for shopping trips and weekends away. Both cars have an extra storage compartment below the boot floor where you can keep the charging cables.

Which is best to drive?

Among the components that the e-Niro and Kona Electric share are their electric motors. In both cases there are two amounts of power available – 201bhp or 134bhp.

They can give surprisingly rapid acceleration with the more powerful of the two motors, especially from a standstill. But it’s easy to manage the power, so you can comfortably drive at whatever (legal) speed you wish. With the 134bhp motor, the cars are plenty quick enough around town, but can feel a bit sluggish on higher-speed roads.

From the driver’s seat, both cars feel light and nimble. They can even be quite good fun. Being a smaller car, the Kona is easier to park, though both have parking sensors and a reversing camera. However, the Kona’s size means it feels less stable than the Niro when going over bumps and holes in the road. Ultimately, though, both cars give a comfortable and quiet ride – the Niro is just a bit more relaxing to travel in.

Which has the best range and charging time?

The e-Niro and Kona Electric also use the same batteries. There are two to choose from, with 39kWh or 64kWh. The 64kWh battery gives the longest range – 282 miles in the Niro and 279 miles in the Kona, according to official figures. In both cases, that’s more range than you get from the vast majority of other electric SUVs of similar size. The smaller, 39kWh battery gives you an official range of 180 miles in both cars.

Using the same batteries also means recharging times are effectively the same for both cars. Fully recharging the 39kWh battery at home using a 7kW wallbox takes around six hours, while the 64kWh battery takes around 10 hours.

When it comes to using public chargers, Kia says a recharge from 10% to 80% capacity for both batteries takes around an hour, using a 50kW rapid charger, or 45 minutes using a 100kW charger. Hyundai specifies times for an 80% charge from zero using a 50kW rapid charger at 57 minutes for the 39kWh battery and 75 minutes for the 64kWh battery.

Safety and reliability

The e-Niro scores a full five-star safety rating from safety organisation Euro NCAP because it comes absolutely loaded with driver-safety features. These include automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control.

The Kona Electric was also awarded a five-star rating by Euro NCAP. Models at the top of the range have the same driver-safety features as the Niro; models lower down the range have fewer features, but there’s still more than enough to keep you and your family as safe as possible.

Dimensions

Kia e-Niro

Length: 4355mm

Width: 1805mm

Height: 1545mm

Boot space: 451 litres

Hyundai Kona Electric

Length: 4205mm

Width: 1800mm (including door mirrors)

Height: 1565mm

Boot space: 332 litres

Verdict

It’s clear at this point that the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric are, in many ways, basically the same car. They have the same batteries, the same electric motors, the same features. Both are great cars but we’re going to name the Kia e-Niro as the better buy.

The Kona’s smaller size and sportier styling undoubtedly have a strong appeal, and it’s more affordable. But the Niro’s comfier ride and significantly more practical interior make it the more family-friendly choice.


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