We gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
KIA’s e-Niro has been tempting customers for a few years now & with some recent minor upgrades, we spent a week in the a range topping ‘4+’ model out Where Nissan’s Leaf has steadily improved it’s range to 170 miles on a single charge, the Niro EV offers a claimed range of 282 miles. It’s also a proper five-door family car that doesn’t look out of the ordinary & isn’t expensive. So what’s not to like ?
How does it look ?
The e-Niro looks similar to the Niro hybrid & plug-in hybrid. KIA have added 17″ alloys, a flat front grille, a sleeker front bumper & a smoother more aerodynamic rear end to make it stand out. The interior features the regular KIA infotainment system & dashboard. Only the gear lever or lack of, is different, replaced by a rotary dial which also frees up some centre cubby space.
Choose from e-Niro ‘2’ the cheapest way in at £32,845 & fitted with the smaller 39kWh battery. Or three long range 64kWh battery versions. The e-Niro ‘2’ 64, e-Niro ‘3’ or e-Niro ‘4+’.
We were driving the’4+’ which comes loaded with gear. 17″ alloys, privacy glass (rear windows & tailgate),black leather upholstery, driver power memory seat & memory mirror function, Ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, Function Adaptive Smart Cruise Control Function (SCC) with Stop & Go,8-speaker JBL® Premium Sound System,USB Port in centre console (Fast Charge)Bluetooth with Music Streaming, Apple CarPlay & Android AutoTM with Voice Control, a very intuitive 10.25″ touchscreen, SatNav, wireless phone charging, a reversing camera, LED headlights & Stop-Start with Smart Entry System.
Some of the trim in the cabin is very nice – the gloss black finish on the doors & around the gear area – but lower down, it’s a little cheaper looking. The touchscreen’s great to use & the buttons & switches easy to reach from the drivers seat. Separate heating controls make altering the cabin temperature straightforward as well.
From a practical perspective, there’s plenty of room for odds & ends with the front door pockets especially useful. The boot offers a useful 451 litres, with space underneath for the two charging cables.
Power comes from a 201bhp motor that drives the front wheels & like the 64kWh battery pack, both shared with the Hyundai Kona EV. It’s actually good fun to drive, offering a sprightly 0-60 mph time of 7.5 seconds, in Sport Mode, with a maximum torque of 395Nm’s helping pull the car along. To aid economy, it features a pair of paddles behind the steering wheel to control the strength of brake regeneration. The three levels available allow you to make the most of the car’s charge.
Charging & battery range
What we all really want to know is how far you can go in a e-Niro before recharging ? On the tougher WLTP combined test procedure, the KIA say that it will be able to cover 282 miles on a single charge. As a real-world guide we spent a week in one, covering over 200 miles in the process & we did charge it once at the start & once before handing it back.
It was delivered 80% charged so I plugged it into our Rolec home charger for 2.5 hours to charge it to to full. Ours is not a 100kW fast charger, which where available, will after 55 minutes of charging, top up the batteries from zero to 80%. That’s enough for at least 150 miles the way I drive, or 200 miles if you’re more careful & don’t turn on too much stuff, such as the air-con. With a full charge, driving in ECO or Eco+ Mode & utilising the highest brake regeneration -three-, 250 miles is infinitely possible, even with me behind the wheel.
It’s not an exciting car to drive & the battery weight, as in the hybrid Niro, makes the car feel heavy, especially around bends. It’s also a little bland to look at, especially when the new KIA EV6 will be turning heads from late 2021. On the motorway though it’s a quiet, comfortable companion & the cabin is a relaxing as well as a pleasurable place to be.
What’s really great about the e-Niro though, is the price; £32,845 for the entry level e-Niro ‘2’ mid range model & £34,945 for the e-Niro ‘2’ 64 model , putting both under the magic £35,000 that the government have set to enable buyers to benefit from the PICG. And of course it’s cheaper to run than a petrol or plug-in hybrid, especially if you can charge overnight & get a decent tariff from your home electricity supplier. With KIA’s 7-year/100,00 miles warranty, you get peace of mind as well.
It’s real-world range of 250+ miles makes it an attractive retail offering. However, in our opinion, it makes most sense as a company car, with it’s 1% BIK offering cheap motoring. Add in the fact that it costs around 75% less to charge your e-Niro to full, than to fill it with petrol & it’s an absolute no brainer as a family-sized company car.
• Model: Kia e-Niro ‘4+’ 64kWh
• Price: £39,395
• Engine: Single electric motor
• Power/torque: 201bhp/395Nm
• Transmission: Single-speed auto, FWD
• 0-60mph: 7.5 seconds
• Top speed: 104mph
• Range: 282 miles (WLTP)
• CO2: 0g/km