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Kia E-Niro

Date: 05 February 2019   |   Author: Simon Harris

With impressive range on a full charge, performance, practicality and high equipment levels, Kia is hoping the E-Niro is the EV you've all been waiting for.
Standard equipment:
17in alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, leather upholstery, heated front seats and steering wheel, automatic air conditioning, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and start, JBL premium audio system, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, wireless mobile phone charging, satellite navigation, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, seven airbags
Engines:
64kWh electric, 204hp
Equipment grades:
First Edition
Transmissions:
Single-speed automatic

The pace of electric vehicle (EV) introduction will increase rapidly in the next year, and while some vehicle manufacturers are still preparing to launch their first plug-in car, Kia is about to introduce its fourth.

The E-Niro is the third member of the Kia Niro family - following the plug-in hybrid version launched in 2018 - and joins the Soul EV and Optima PHEV in the ultra-low emission line-up.

The Niro was launched as a petrol-electric hybrid in 2017, and the range now offers a completely electrified SUV-like alternative to the strong-selling Sportage.

Hitting the sweet spot

Over the next few years, sales of conventional petrol and diesel-engined cars are predicted to decline, as are those of traditional hatchbacks and saloons.

Kia E -Niro 040

Kia believes the Niro hits the sweet spot for future growth, as its electrified powertrains are increasing in popularity, as is its SUV shape.

Other markets will have two versions of the E-Niro: an entry-level 39.2kWh battery pack version, with 138hp and a maximum range of 179 miles on the WLTP combined cycle, and a 64kWh variant with 204hp and 282 miles of range.

Kia UK has decided only to take the 64kWh version, priced at just under £36,500 on the road, although, for now, customers will still be able to get £3,500 off the asking price with the plug-in car grant, making it a touch under £33,000.

It can be charged from empty in around an hour using a 100kW charger, although with a typical 7.2kW home wallbox it would still need to be plugged in overnight.

With its size and performance advantage over more established medium-sized electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen E-Golf, its price premium is probably well calculated by Kia, and with anecdotal evidence reaching us of long waiting times for the Hyundai Kona EV - produced by Kia's sister company and using the same technology - Kia appears to have understood the perceived value of the E-Niro very well.

The only equipment grade on sale at launch is the highly specified First Edition, which should leave company car drivers wanting for little in terms of kit.

Kia E -Niro 047

The E-Niro provides excellent comfort and decent space inside, aided a little by its crossover profile. The 2,700mm wheelbase almost puts it on a par with upper-medium sector cars such as the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia in terms of cabin length, and is also good for ride comfort.

One of the benefits of choosing the E-Niro over the hybrid and PHEV versions is that without a secondary powertrain, the electric variant offers rather more boot space than its siblings, with 451 litres up to the height of the luggage cover.

This compares with 382 litres for the hybrid and 324 litres for the PHEV. Maximum volume measured to roof height with the rear seat folded is a useful 1,405 litres.

Does it really need 204hp?

Travelling in near silence is normal in an EV, but unless you are used to it, it really feels unusual to hold conversations in hushed tones on the motorway. No internal combustion engine cars can currently recreate this experience.

And the low centre of gravity created by the battery pack mounted under the cabin floor also means the E-Niro feels well balanced and responsive when cornering.

Kia E -Niro 066

Does it really need 204hp? Of course it doesn't, and with 291lb-ft of torque available instantaneously, it is not surprising the E-Niro reached 60mph from rest in 7.5 seconds.

For fleets where electric cars have a clear role, a 138hp E-Niro with 179 miles of range would meet most drivers' needs more than adequately.

But the 64kWh version, with all of its performance and space, is a differentiator among medium electric cars - and with 282 miles of range, it also bridges the gap between the mainstream and premium brands.

Kia E-Niro 64kWh First Edition
P11D: £36,440
On sale: April 2019
Residual value: 30%
Depreciation: £25,635
Fuel: £2,340 Service, maintenance and repair £1,446
Cost per mile: 48.59p
Range: 282 miles
CO2 (BIK band): 0g/km (13%)
BIK 20/40% a month: £79/£158
Boot space: 451 litres
Engine size/power: Electric/204hp


Verdict


8/10
  • Strong performance
  • More boot space than PHEV and hybrid
  • Equipment
  • Premium pricing
  • Possible long lead time

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