Going Electric: Our Review of The New Kia e-Niro

Date posted: 12 February 2020

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Designed to merge crossover-inspired design with zero tailpipe emissions and enjoyable performance, it’s no wonder the New Kia e-Niro is WhatCars?’s Car of the Year.

Made with both urban and long-distance driving in mind, the car drives on battery power alone meaning it’s not only stylish and packed full of technology, but kind to the environment too.

And, with the buzz around electric vehicles continuing to grow this year, we wanted to see just how easy it is to #GoElectric by putting it to the test for ourselves.

How Accurate is the Mile Range? 

With an extensive 64 kWh battery designed for long-range journeys of up to 282-miles on a single charge, the New Kia e-Niro has an impressive range when compared to other electric cars on the market.

Heading out for the day with 226-miles, we confidently completed over 130 miles to various destinations across the Lake District and South West Scotland and by the end of the day there was still over 100-miles of charge left. Now, you might be thinking those miles don’t quite add up, and you’re right!

Thanks to the Smart Regenerative Braking system, which helps to save and recover energy through kinetic energy to recharge the battery, we managed to add a few miles to our range. And, that was even with the heated seats and steering wheel turned up to maximum for the majority of the journey!

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Lets Talk About the Driving Experience...

With this being the first time either of us had sat in an electric car, never mind driven one, it surprisingly didn’t take long to become accustomed to the New e-Niro. We tested out all 4 of the New e-Niro’s driving modes throughout the day; Sport, Normal Driving, Eco and Eco+ and the New e-Niro felt perfectly at home both in the city and on rural roads.

The biggest driving style change when comparing the New e-Niro to a conventional combustion engine car is the Smart Regenerative Braking System which opened up the world of one-pedal driving. This technology allows the car to save energy and recharge the battery by lightly applying the brakes automatically when you take your foot off the accelerator.

The strength of the Regenerative Braking can be set using paddles on the steering wheel and when the car is set into its Eco+ driving mode, the system automatically sits at its highest-level. This means the braking is considerably stronger when you coast and helps to generate more kinetic energy to recharge the battery.

We tested this driving mode out on a single-track rural road in the Lake District, which included a lot of tight corners and plenty of braking opportunities. To our surprise, on this 2.8 mile stretch of road we managed to add a further 2.6 miles onto the range as a result of the Smart Regenerative Braking System.

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One thing we do need to focus on is: Sport mode. With 201 horsepower, the New e-Niro benefits from powerful acceleration and smooth handling in all of the driving modes meaning you don’t have to compromise on the driving experience to save battery. However, the torque in sport mode really will take your breath away and adds a lot of fun to driving an electric car. It is worth noting that driving in sport mode can affect the mile range but the New e-Niro takes this into account as soon as sport mode is activated, changing to a more accurate mile range with the consideration of driving style - which is great news for drivers.   

Packed Full of Technology

Without question, when it comes to technology the New e-Niro truly does have it all.

From Wireless Phone Charging to an Electronic Parking Brake and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist which provides warning signals and automatically brakes if you don’t react, the e-Niro has a generous technology and safety equipment list as standard.

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One stand-out feature has to be the Advanced Smart Cruise Control. This really does make driving a dream. Although cruise control comes as standard on many models, Kia’s Advanced Smart Cruise Control makes driving much simpler. The New e-Niro uses radars to detect the vehicle in front and will adjust its speed accordingly, even coming to a complete stop, without you having to do a single thing. You can even set a specific distance too and what’s better, this feature comes as standard.  

The first time using the feature truly is a different experience. It’s a bizarre feeling essentially putting your trust into your car slowing down and stopping for you, however the New e-Niro is exceptionally reactive. Within seconds of testing out the feature and setting the speed and distance, the car in front indicated to turn into a junction. The feature kicked in immediately and started adjusting its speed and once the car had turned, began accelerating back up to its original setting. The best way to describe it is that it’s like driving in autopilot and all you have to do is steer.

How Easy is it to Charge Up Whilst Out and About?

Whilst the New e-Niro had more than enough charge, like many potential drivers we wanted to know just how easy it would be to charge up when out and about.

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For a start, the New e-Niro’s navigation system comes with a charging point locator that makes finding your nearest charging point easy. Couple it with Zap Maps’ handy real-time charging report which checks charging point availability and compatibility and you have all you need to keep going.

The New e-Niro itself uses a Type 2 charger which can be found in abundance across Cumbria and South West Scotland and the process of plugging in and charging up really is as simple as that. Even more impressive is the charge time. When using a 100kW fast charge the New e-Niro can be recharged from 20% to 80% in just 42 minutes meaning you won’t be off the road for long should you need to top up on a long-distance trip.

One thing to note, is that whilst some charging points accept contactless payments, many require dedicated charging cards or apps – all of which were easy enough to access on the day.

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Our Thoughts...

All in all, we were pleasantly surprised by the New Kia e-Niro! From the general nippiness of the car to just how smooth the drive was. Like the majority of people, we had our own reservations about going electric. We truly believed we would be making multiple stops to charge the car so our route was planned in accordance to charging points around the Lake District and South West Scotland but we needn’t have worried as we had plenty of charge for our trip.  Although, it did make us aware that charging points in these areas are much more accessible than originally thought!
The New e-Niro is very fun and comfortable for both passengers and the driver which makes it the perfect choice for a family car. As expected from an electric car, noise is practically non-existent inside the cabin and with all the comfort features such as the heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, and leather upholstery, it makes for a very relaxing drive.

To truly appreciate the New e-Niro, you need to test drive it for yourself. Click HERE to book your test drive and see if 2020 is the year you #GoElectric.

To explore our latest Kia e-Niro offers, click HERE.  

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