Perception Shift: Kia e-Niro

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As a petrolhead who has spent my life around motorsport my views of electric vehicles are blurred buy caustic fumes and I’ve yet to have a good EV experience. 

But that all changed in May of last year, when Kia sent me and e-Niro.

I am glad they did, too, as until this point the future was looking somewhat bleak when looking through my soot splattered camera lens.

Comfort, convenience, technology, handling, but most importantly for me, good honest range from this Korean five-door has changed my perception of the future, for the better.

Priced from £32,895 it isn’t what I would call anyway affordable, however what new vehicle is? 

It was hoped that the price of electric vehicles would drop, bringing them closer to their petrol and diesel siblings, but instead the internal combustion engine vehicles have risen in price considerably, bridging the gap to EV, but also placing almost all new cars out of the reach of purchasing.

With this in mind and the fact that most people are more than happy with a monthly tariff for their means of transportation, Kia’s e-Niro base model, with a £3,000 deposit over a three-year term, allowing 12,000 per year will set you back just over £565 per month.

For company and fleet drivers, contract hire deals start from just over £313, with a company car tax rate (BIK) from 1%.

The entry-level “e-Niro 2” features an 8-inch touch screen display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, 17-inch alloy wheels, reversing camera system, rear parking sensors, smart cruise with stop and go, keyless entry with push button start, 7-inch TFT colour instrument cluster, and forward collision avoidance assist.

A claimed range of 180 miles on this model won’t be suitable for everyone’s needs, especially those who spend their life on the road. Kia understand this and so the next three trims in their e-Niro line-up feature a 64kwh battery offering a claimed 282 mile range.

Starting from £34,995 the “e-Niro 2 64kwh” offers everything of the previous model except with added range.

Upgrading to the “e-Niro 3” which is priced from £37,400 you will get, on top of the previous specification, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, black leather upholstery, heated front seats, wireless phone charging, and then electrically adjustable driver’s seat.

An “e-Niro 4+” starts from £39,445 and adds LED headlights with bi-function projection, 8-speaker JBL premium sound system, 11kW charger (3-phase), front and rear parking sensors, heated front and rear outer seats, ventilated seats, and blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert.

The model tested in pictured, a Kia e-Niro 3 proved to be absolutely fantastic. In my role as a press photographer I could be dispatched anywhere across the province at the drop of a hat and this is the first electric vehicle I have had the confidence to use during that role thanks to its honest real-world return of around 240 miles.

Providing you have access to a suitable means to charge the vehicle via a home wall box, which let’s face it, you wouldn’t even be considering an electric vehicle without such means, you should almost certainly never need to use, or rely on any public charging infrastructure with the e-Niro.

A decent sized boot offers plenty of room for your charging lead as well as a gym bag and a week’s groceries. A generous amount of room is available at within the cabin, a cabin which features plenty of analogue push buttons rather than everything being controlled via the perfectly sized touchscreen.

The model tested features three driving modes; ECO, Comfort, and Sport; the latter of which we’ll see a traffic light dash to 62mph in a mere 7.5 seconds. Top speed of 99 mph is achievable, but if sitting on long motorway drives at say 80 mph expect your range to drop close to 200 miles.

In ECO mode and with mostly town driving, there is no reason why you couldn’t get closer to the 280 mile claimed maximum range. The e-Niro ride is firm, as per every electric vehicle I have ever driven, but it provides enough comfort and does its job without any fuss, drama, or excitement.

Kia offer a 7-year, 100,000 mile warranty, which also covers the battery for total failure.

The Kia Niro is also available as a self-charging hybrid as well as plug-in hybrid.

Fact File for model tested

Make : Kia
Model : e-Niro
Trim : 3
Engine : 64kwh electric motor (204hp)
Gearbox : Automatic
Cost : £37,400


About Author

Graham is a photojournalist and motoring writer with over 20 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and motoring events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers and Ulster Motor Writers Association.

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