More range, significantly faster charging and lower prices: The new Kia EV3 clearly outshines the e-Soul and Niro EV. Do the older models still have a right to exist? We compare the vehicles.

All three models are motorised in the same way in that they have a 150 kW drive and the front wheels are driven in all of them. The voltage level is also identical unlike the EV6 and EV9, our three small SUVs have a 400-volt system. However, the Kia EV3 charges quickly as it takes around 30 minutes for a quick charge from 10 to 80 per cent - which is probably the current state of the art for 400 volts.

Kia Niro EV (2024) in the US version

The Kia Niro EV is 12 cm longer than the EV3

Kia Niro EV (2024) in the US version

The 2nd generation was only introduced in summer 2022

However, the current generation of the Kia Niro EV , which was only launched in summer 2022, needs a quarter of an hour longer at the fast charger, namely around 45 minutes. In terms of range, the Niro EV can manage 486 miles with its 65 kWh battery. With the EV3, the range depends on the version.

Even the entry-level version with the 58 kWh LFP battery can already cover 255 miles, which is only 30 miles less than the Niro. And the version with the 81 kWh NMC battery manages a superior 373 miles, which is more than the VW ID.4, for example. Also worth noting is that Kia installs a significantly larger battery (with 16 kWh more) in the EV3 Long Range, although its wheelbase is even slightly smaller (2.68 metres for the EV3, 2.72 metres for the Niro).

In terms of body length, the EV3 is twelve centimetres shorter than the Niro EV at 4.30 metres. Accordingly, the boot is also smaller: 460 to 1,250 litres fit in the EV3, 475 to 1,392 litres in the Niro EV. So the older model is ahead here, albeit not by too much. 

Kia e-Soul (2023)

The e-Soul is 10 cm shorter but 4 cm higher than the EV3

Kia e-Soul (2023)

The current generation was launched in 2019

In terms of length, however, the  Kia e-Soul is closer to the EV3; at 4.20 metres, it is only ten centimetres shorter. Like the EV3 and the Niro, the current generation launched in 2019 is powered by a 150 kW front-mounted motor. At 64 kWh, the battery is almost the same size as in the Niro EV, and the range of 452 km is similar.

And when it comes to fast charging? Where the Niro charges very slowly at 45 minutes, the Soul lags far behind at 54 minutes (albeit for 0-80 per cent). As the charging strokes do not match, we also calculated the charging speed: 1.4 and 1.9 kWh/min for the EV3, 1.0 kWh/min for the Niro EV and 0.9 kWh/min for the e-Soul. For comparison: the VW ID.3 is 1.9 kWh/min. And due to its small dimensions, the Soul cannot keep up in terms of load volume (315-1,339 litres).

And the prices? They are not yet known for the EV3, but they are expected to start at around £30,000. The 373 mile version will certainly be significantly more expensive, but even if the surcharge were to be £5,000, the newcomer would still be positioned in the middle of the established models: Kia is asking no less than £32,875 for the e-Soul and at least £37,325 for the Niro EV. That leaves the equipment, but this has not yet been finalised for the EV3.

The bottom line

It is as we suspected: The Kia EV3 clearly outshines Kia's ancestral electric SUVs - especially when it comes to fast charging, where the e-Soul and Niro EV are long out of date. Nevertheless, Kia has said nothing about the EV3 replacing the older models. Why should people still buy the Soul and the Niro when there are better things out there? Perhaps they are intended to appeal to customers for whom a lot of equipment is more important than good electrical features, but we doubt that there are many of this type in this country. 

Gallery: Kia EV3 (2024) in the first seat test