22.5.2022Kia e-Niro review
The Kia e-Niro was launched in 2019, but has received a refresh, boosting kit on what is already a class-leading electric family SUV. New grades, a few styling tweaks, and added charging options make the e-Niro line-up broader than ever.
Review by Chris Lilly
Performance comes from Kia’s 150 kW electric motor set-up, which provides a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds. It’s plenty nippy enough for a family-focused compact SUV, and the instant response from the electric motor means that, if anything, it feels quicker than the performance time suggests.
In fact, the e-Niro performs well everywhere, with more than enough power to cope with long motorway cruises at 70mph, as well as providing plenty of pep on a country road. Naturally, it’s most at home in urban areas, where it excels both with the nippy nature to the electric motor and the variable brake regeneration levels.
The Kia e-Niro’s handling is probably best described as tidy for a one-word summary. It’s not a machine that will offer a high level of driving dynamics for the driver to dial into, but then this is a practical SUV, so that shouldn’t be expected.
Instead, the suspension keeps body roll in check without being too stiff, which means it also deals with rough road surfaces well. It’s comfortable about town and on faster roads, and is a well judged set-up that offers a good balance between comfort and handling. Steering is accurate but without much feedback, so in keeping with the overall ride and handling experience really.
Kia’s current design language has progressed to become far more striking in the very short time since the e-Niro was revealed only a few years ago. It’s now pretty inconspicuous by the Korean firm’s current standards, but that’s not to say it’s not a decent looking SUV.
It’s a practical one too, though with a truncated rear that almost looks like it’s been cut off a little too short, the e-Niro could perhaps be more practical. Particularly since rivals have come along since launch for those needing loads of boot space. Still, the Kia is a decent choice for a family workhorse, with plenty of boot and occupant space for daily needs.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
One of the most noticeable areas of improvement for the revised e-Niro is the interior where all but the entry level model gets Kia’s latest 10.25-inch infotainment system. This not only looks good, but it works well, and includes connected car systems with the company’s Uvo Connect software.
That, and Kia’s new logo are the main areas of change, but since the cabin was pretty good already, that’s no issue. There remain plenty of physical controls which are much easier to use when driving than a touchscreen system, and don’t require heading into menus to sort the heating or fans for example. Materials used are of a very good quality, and Kia’s gradual move towards the top end of the mass-market ladder continues with models like the e-Niro.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Kia’s official range for the e-Niro is 282 miles on a charge, which is not only very good, but also a real sweet spot I’ve found for many EV drivers’ needs. Much more, and the battery takes a while to charge, but most want that range figure to be 300 miles or thereabout to be able to cover long distances when required. In reality, the e-Niro’s range holds up well to scrutiny. At a minimum almost, it will cover more than 250 miles on a charge, with an economy score of 4.0 miles per kWh easily achievable on all but the longest motorway trips. It’s quite possible to achieve more without much effort, and I was averaging 270 miles or so on a charge during my time with it.
Powered by a 64 kWh battery, the Kia e-NIro has a not-too-small-not-too-large pack for the UK market. It’s capable of being charged at up to 100 kW DC for a time of around 50 minutes to 80%. The 4+ model tested benefits from an 11 kW AC on-board charger for three-phase points, which can fully recharge the e-Niro in seven hours. Connected car systems through an app can help check charge, set timers, and precondition the Kia to save battery charge for driving, and Kia’s excellent brake energy recuperation system has various levels selectable using steering wheel mounted paddles to adjust braking strength, from 0 to 3, and then one-pedal driving capability. It works very well and can really boost range.
The e-Niro comes in 2, 3, or 4+ trim levels, with 2 the entry level model available only with a smaller battery. Fitted to all e-Niro 64 kWh models are 17-inch alloys, leather upholstery, electric driver’s seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, wireless phone charger, 10.25-inch touchscreen system with navigation and Uvo Connect, automatic lights and wipers, and keyless entry and start.
4+ trim tested adds an opening sunroof, LED headlights, heated outer rear seats and vented front seats, premium JBL audio system, 11 kW on-board charger, and front parking sensor.
The changes may have been subtle, but Kia has improved an excellent EV with the latest e-Niro offering. It’s practical, stylish, brimming with kit, and offers a great driving range.
Model tested: Kia e-Niro 64 kWh 4+
Body-style: Compact family SUV
Engine / CO2: 150 kW electric motor / 0 g/km
Trim grades: 2, 3, 4+
On-road price: £39,695
Warranty: Seven years / 100,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 5.0 Stars