With electric vehicles taking the world by storm, the Kia e-Niro was named 2019 What Car? Car of the Year and with its phenomenal charge range, it hardly comes as a surprise that this SUV is the first ever electric car to win such an award.
While there are other more, affordable electric vehicles available such as the Nissan Leaf and the Hyundai Kona Electric – which the e-Niro shares the same electric powertrain with, Kia’s electric SUV is a compact crossover with a charge range of up to 282 miles and spacious interior with a price tag of around £36,500.
Compared with most similar-priced electric cars, the e-Niro is really quite nippy and builds speed rapidly, there’s no waiting for the revs to rises before maximum performance is delivered; simply hit the accelerator and the car responds immediately. The Kia e-Niro has a 201bhp motor, driving the front wheels with power supplied from the 64kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, allowing it to sprint from 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds and has a top speed of 104mph and a zero-carbon emissions figure. The 64kWh battery can be charged up to 80 per cent in as little as 54 minutes on a fast charger but more standard domestic outputs can take longer; a 7.2kW power source could take almost 10 hours to charge from 0-100 per cent, but even with a maximum driving range of 282 miles, this should make planning the journey ahead quite easy.
In terms of ride comfort, the e-Niro is pretty comfortable by electric car standards. While you are still made aware of bumps and potholes, you are jostled about much less, however if it’s ride comfort you’re after, we would recommend the Volkswagen e-Golf but bear in mind that it manages less than half as many miles between charges!
Although electric vehicles don’t usually handle as well as their petrol and diesel counterparts and while this remains true for the Kia e-Niro, it still, however, manages to change direction keenly enough. Drivers have the opportunity to select from Normal, Eco and Sport modes, altering the amount of effort it takes to steer the car as well as changing the character of the powertrain. Normal mode is most suitable for everyday motoring while Sport mode is great for twisting roads, as the steering becomes more weighted and the throttle more responsive, resulting in far more engaging handling capabilities.
The exterior remains similar to that of other Kia models and hybrids in the range and hardly makes this a stunning car looks-wise. However, the filled in front grille underlines the fact that there’s no internal combustion engine present and houses the changing point instead, making this one of the more distinctive features when it comes to identifying the e-Niro.
As for the interior, while it may fall short compared with other premium SUVs such as the Audi Q3 or Volvo XC40, the e-Niro has one of the nicest interiors you’ll find in any Kia. With black leather, soft-touch plastics and a piano black trim, Kia have certainly created a nice-to-touch and nice-to-look-at interior and with only one trim available, every e-Niro comes with plenty of kit as standard. The dash is fitted with an 8inch touchscreen that controls the infotainment features and also becomes the reversing camera screen, while the 7inch digital display behind the steering wheel has the usual speedo, it also displays the driving and battery charge information. In addition, the Kia e-Niro comes with standard features such as Smart Cruise Control (SCC), Smart Regenerative Braking, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) and Lane Following Assist (LFA).
Despite the standard-fit sunroof, the high roofline allows enough space for six-footers, and while not a particularly large car externally, the surprisingly broad interior means that passengers won’t be lacking in shoulder room either. The rear seats have been given space preference over the boot, but the e-Niro still has a generous load-space of up to 451Litres with a compartment under the floor to store the charging cables.
Should you buy one? If an electric car fits your lifestyle then the Kia e-Niro is one of the best electric cars currently available. In comparison with other premium EVs like the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model S, the e-Niro is a fraction of the price and has a much longer driving range; something that many other electric cars have so far failed to deliver. However, with the EV industry constantly developing, who knows long it will be before 282mile driving ranges become the norm for electric cars of the future.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
• Interior √
• Ride Comfort √
• Driving Range √
• Handling X
• Home Charging X
• Price: £36,495
• Max speed: 104mph
• 0-60 mph: 7.5 Seconds
• Range: 282 miles
• Engine layout: Single Electric Motor
• Max. power: 201bhp
• CO2: 0 g/km
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