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Kia Niro SUV interior, tech and comfort

2016 - 2022 (change model)
Comfort rating: 4 out of 54.0

Written by Anthony ffrench-Constant Published: 11 July 2022 Updated: 28 September 2023

  • Touchscreen multimedia systems
  • E-Niro is very highly equipped
  • Quality feel to leather-bound steering wheel

The Niro’s interior varies depending on which version you’ve gone for, as the E-Niro is a far newer car and also only available in the one, particularly high, First Edition specification.

Kia E-Niro

When you’re sat behind the wheel of the E-Niro it’s easy to forget that Kia used to build far cheaper-feeling, budget-friendly cars that lacked a little interest.

Instead you’re greeted with a big 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia system and a digital instrument cluster to show a range of driving information.

While most materials feel of a decent quality, dig a little lower down and you’ll find the odd scratchy, hard plastic surface still. But in the main the E-Niro feels like a £33k car.

Kia Niro: what's it like inside?

We’ve yet to sample the multimedia system since the cars we were driving in Korea had European mapping so didn’t work. However, the interface looked clear and simple, with large graphics making it obvious where you need to press on the screen.

We liked the leather-bound steering wheel in the E-Niro in particular. It’s a classy feeling affair that features buttons on it for controlling the multimedia.

Kia Niro hybrid

No surprises here: it’s the standard Kia dashboard design. Well built, with soft-touch materials everywhere your fingers are likely to wander, and robust plastics elsewhere designed to outlive the seven-year warranty.

It’s good-looking, but not altogether homogenous in execution. In fact the Niro is starting to feel as if the next generation of interior design might be hurried along a little to raise the bar if premium competition is an aspiration.

You’ve got a choice of 7.0- or 8.0-inch multimedia systems with sat-nav – which works very well – an option on all but high-specification trim levels.

A system power meter replaces the rev-counter in a clear, easy-to-read instrument binnacle.

  • Hard ride despite tall stance
  • Good adjustment in driving positon
  • Extremely quiet on the move
Kia Niro: will it be comfortable?

We thought the Niro had a good driving position with reach and rake steering adjustment and comfortable front seats. There’s also great all-round visibility, which should appeal to younger passengers.

However, we noticed during our first drive of the E-Niro that the car we were driving didn’t have a reach-adjustable steering wheel, which seemed odd given it was a feature listed on the spec sheet.

As with most pure-electric cars, the E-Niro is extremely quiet on the move. In fact, Kia has engineered in some noise simply to keep pedestrians aware of the car – this is a spaceage whine you soon get used to.

For the hybrid, Kia has gone to inordinate trouble to make the powertrain as quiet as possible, especially under urban driving conditions when the petrol engine stops and starts frequently. This has been managed very successfully, with the engine bay ruthlessly well-insulated from the cabin. You can barely hear the engine start.

However, ride quality is more of an issue. In response to public criticism of other hybrid vehicle driving dynamics in general, the suspension has been tuned to ensure the Niro handles well enough.

The downside is that the ride feels a little tough on the higher-spec models’ 18-inch wheels to us. It’s not unbearable but noticeably less comfortable on UK roads. It’ll be interesting to see if the E-Niro is any better when it reaches these shores, because it still felt pretty spikey on our first test drive in Korea.

Despite this, there’s good high-speed stability on motorways, and practically no noise from under the bonnet unless you really floor it. Normal cruising speeds are accompanied only by wind noise from door mirrors and modest tyre roar.

We haven’t sampled the plug-in hybrid Niro yet.