38: Kia Niro – go for the plug-in hybrid over full-electric

Top cars for 2020: Don’t take our word for it, listen to Robert De Niro


Kia’s Niro small crossover got a major publicity boost this year when it launched with an all-electric version, which included an ad campaign fronted by none other than Robert DeNiro himself.

It’s quite an impressive car, although one that’s been a little shunted aside in our favour by the all-electric e-Soul.

The e-Niro and the e-Soul share a common platform and battery, and a 204hp electric motor, so they’re basically the same car, but the Niro’s quieter styling could well have more appeal to more buyers.

It’s not the most exciting car to drive, but not too shabby for all that. Impressive though the electric version is, our preferred Niro is the plugin-hybrid version, which retains a frugal 1.6-litre petrol engine.

It’s impressive largely because (in contrast to many plugin-hybrid rivals) it remains hugely economical even if you forget to charge it up - 60mpg with the engine on is easily achieved; you could manage 100mpg or better if you keep the battery topped up for as much as 65km of electric-only driving.

Best model: Niro PHEV for €32,495.

Price range: €32,495 to €37,495. Finance from €436 per month.

Co2 emissions: 0 to 29g/km.

Sum up: Plugin better than electric? Yep, it just might be for now.