Hybrids & Electrics

The Worst ‘Cheap’ 2020 Electric Car You Should Never Buy

Tesla’s “secret master plan” was simple – create a luxury EV that will give Tesla the money to make a more affordable EV. As the Tesla Model 3 showed, Tesla’s plan to make affordable EVs is happening. But other automakers have also been able to make similar affordable EVs too. Here’s the worst affordable EV that you should avoid at all costs – the Kia Niro.

The Kia Niro EV

According to Carfax, at the price of about $38,500, the Kia Niro EV is the fifth-cheapest EV on the market in America. Unlike many EVs though, the Niro EV is an SUV rather than a sedan, so it’s larger, roomier, and sportier than EVs like the Model 3 or the Nissan Leaf. That said, despite those advantages, the Niro EV is just not that great of a car to begin with.

The Niro EV is actually the EV trim of the Niro, which is a hybrid car as standard. This hybrid version of the Niro was the trim that Consumer Reports test-drove. Although some aspects of the hybrid Niro aren’t true for the Niro EV, many things stayed the same between the two trims. 

For example, for the almost $40,000 price tag, Consumer Reports says that the interior quality of the Niro leaves a lot to be desired. It’s simply not styled as a luxury SUV despite its cost. 

Why the Kia Niro EV isn’t great

KIA Niro hybrid subcompact crossover on display at Brussels Expo
The Kia Niro – Kia’s primary electric vehicle | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

The Niro’s poor interior quality is especially true when it comes to its seats, according to Consumer Reports. The front seats look fancy, but they’re actually very uncomfortable. That said, Consumer Reports does mention that the seats can be made more comfortable if you choose to add one of the options to the Niro. That will only add more cost to its already hefty price tag, though.

On top of that, the Niro’s suspension system also isn’t that great. Consumer Reports says that it feels bumpy when it’s on the road. Furthermore, the Niro EV is a small SUV, so it won’t have as much cargo room as larger SUVs will. That’s not a big deal if you’re buying the standard hybrid version of the Niro, but since the Niro EV costs almost $40,000, you won’t be getting much cargo room for what you’re paying.

Additionally, despite being an SUV and an EV, the Niro EV doesn’t have all-wheel drive available. This makes it less sporty than it can be, especially compared to similar SUVs in its class that aren’t EVs. For these reasons and more, Consumer Reports only gave the Niro an overall score of 63 out of 100. 

Other affordable EVs to consider

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As Carfax mentioned, there are four other electric vehicles that are more affordable than the Niro EV is, and they’re generally better cars, too. The Hyundai Kona Electric is a similar electric SUV that’s about $1,500 cheaper than the Niro EV is. The other three EVs that are more affordable than the Niro EV are all sedans, but they’re all still great cars, regardless.

The Chevy Bolt EV is slightly more affordable than even the Kona Electric is, and the Tesla Model 3 is slightly more affordable than the Bolt is. In first place, however, is the Nissan Leaf, which, at a price tag of about $31,600, is almost $7,000 less than what the Niro EV starts at. All three of these sedans are generally considered to be great, affordable EVs to own and drive.

Regardless of which affordable EV you choose, they all prove the same point. The Kia Niro EV just costs too much for what it offers, despite being a relatively affordable EV.