Kia e-Niro First Edition review.
For – understated high quality, elegant, terrific range, competitive price.
Against – fast charging is too slow.
Competition – Hyundai Kona electric, Hyundai Ioniq, Nissan Leaf, Audi e-Tron, Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model 3
The all-electric Kia e-Niro SUV has modest, understated looks and reeks of quality both inside and out. It has a claimed range of 282 miles, and during my time with the car, that seemed an honest appraisal. This First Edition is equipped with every known extra you could possibly want and the longer I lived with the car, the more I kept thinking it was an Audi.
In fact, the (all-electric) Audi e-Tron does have a better performance than Kia e-Niro, but the battery range is very similar. The Kia performs very strongly though with 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds, and on the highway it is formidable, cruising strongly and quietly. And while I’ve got Audi on my mind because of its interior and exterior quality, e-Tron prices start at more than twice the top-of-the-range Kia e-Niro.
If you are going to buy an electric car, you absolutely must invest in a home charger, and journeys that stretch away from the daily commute will be a challenge for years to come because of the less-than-adequate charging network. But the e-Niro’s range, plus the inclusion of supercharging ability, means long-distances might be less of a gamble. Kia says you can recharge the e-Niro to 80% in “as little” as 54 minutes. But that’s almost an hour, and when an internal combustion engine would replenish 100% in maybe 5 minutes, that’s not going to make long journeys easy, which will take meticulous planning.
All round quality
When you climb aboard the e-Niro, at least this top of the range version, you will find beautiful leather seats and an all round quality finish. There’s plenty of room in the back for this relatively small car. The boot passes the golf-bag test. You turn on the systems with a traditional looking start button, twist the little gear-changing wheel to D for drive, and off you go. When you finish driving, simply press P for park and all is secure.
At slow speeds driving though my village, the car emitted a kind of metallic sound to warn pedestrians and animals that an electric car is approaching. During my 7 days with the car, I didn’t hit any pedestrians or squash any of my cats, so it clearly works well. On the highway, the e-Niro is a joy, silently eating up the miles at just over legal speeds, while always responding instantly to any need for quick acceleration. Even at highway speeds, the available miles indicator kept pace with actual miles travelled. The computerised safety system was irritating, relentlessly tugging me back from crossing white lines, but if you remember to indicate, the computer calms down.
The e-Niro is Kia’s second electric vehicle after the Soul EV. There is Niro Hybrid (petrol and electric with small battery only range, like the Toyota Prius) and PHEV for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The latter has battery only range of about 30 miles, and you can charge it from a wall socket.
Locate nearby charging points
The 8.0-inch touch screen in the centre of the dashboard offers a series of electric vehicle specific features. You can locate nearby charging points and monitor remaining charge and range. Regenerative braking allows the e-Niro to harvest kinetic energy and recharge the battery pack while coasting or braking. The car features a pair of paddles behind the steering wheel so that you choose between three levels of energy recuperation.
The e-Niro is equipped, as standard, with Kia Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) for maximum control under braking and cornering. If VSM detects a loss of traction, it uses the car’s Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system and the electric motor-driven power steering to help the driver retain control. There are plenty of other high technology safety systems with impressive acronyms.
With this ‘First Edition’, Kia offers a range of premium features like Halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, and privacy glass for the rear windows. The 17-inch alloy wheels have been especially designed to shout pure-electric Niro. The ‘First Edition’ also includes leather upholstery, and an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat. There’s only two-wheel drive though.
What to buy?
My first impression when I climbed aboard the e-Niro was high quality, and how it seemed to offer just as much as more expensive competitors like the Audi e-Tron and Jaguar I-Pace. Sure it doesn’t have explosive acceleration, but surely electric car buyers are too mature to worry about this. And the e-Niro certainly has more than adequate performance. It achieved as much range as the competition, and costs half as much as the Germans. Looks like a great choice to me.
Kia e-Niro First Edition
Kia e-Niro First Edition
Engine: 00 hp electric motor @3,800 – 8,000 rpm)
64 kWh lithium polymer 356 volts
395 Nm @ 0-3,600
one speed automatic
Acceleration: 0-60 mph 7.5 seconds
Top Speed: 104 mph
claimed city 382 miles-combined 282 miles
Claimed charging times: supercharger – 100 kW 54 minutes-80%.
domestic plug – 29 hours.
CO2: 0 at tailpipe
Length: 4,375 mm
7 year/100,000 miles
Competition: Hyundai Kona electric, Hyundai Ioniq, Nissan Leaf, Audi e-Tron, Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model 3
Price: £32,995 after £3,500 government grant
For: understated high quality, elegant, terrific range, competitive price
Against: fast charging is too slow