Carzone drives one of the most anticipated new electric cars of 2019
Pros: Competitive 450-kilometre range, spacious cabin, relaxing drive
Cons: Lack of supply on Irish market, steering wheel adjustment
Kia’s e-Niro is one of the most anticipated electric cars to launch to the Irish market this year, with an impressive 455-kilometre range and prices starting from €33,495 including government grants. Such is the demand for the e-Niro that it has already sold out for the 192-registration period, and it is quickly becoming one of the most-searched new electric cars on Carzone alongside the Hyundai Kona Electric, Nissan LEAF and Volkswagen e-Golf. We recently spent a week with the e-Niro on Irish roads, to see what it’s like to live with and how it compares to other electric cars in the class.
Blue detailing on the front bumper and a charging flap on the front grille distinguishes the e-Niro from the Niro hybrid models
The e-Niro is a small family SUV and it is more reserved than the Kia e-Soul in terms of styling, which also recently launched to the Irish marketplace. The e-Niro is larger in stature than the Hyundai Kona Electric, even though both cars share similar platforms and technology. From the outside, it has a closed front grille and distinctive LED daytime running lights, while blue detailing on the front and rear bumpers, an electric charging flap and electric badges hint at its electric genes. The e-Niro is offered with just one trim line in Ireland at present and it’s equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels and roof rails for a crossover-inspired look.
The e-Niro is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels and roof rails as standard, while there are six different colour choices
The e-Niro trumps its rivals on interior space and practicality with enough room for four tall adults inside. The e-Niro boasts a 451 litre boot, which is larger than the best-selling Hyundai Kona Electric (324 litres), while there is also more rear leg room than the Kona Electric. The e-Niro also features lots of storage areas throughout the cabin, including a sizeable storage bin with coffee cup holders and bottle holders in the doors. The rear seats fold down and offer 1,405 litres of space for lugging large items.
The e-Niro's touch screen infotainment system is easy to use and it features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and a wireless smartphone charger
The cabin is well constructed with sturdy materials while the driver’s area is airy with leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-inch touchscreen system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. A wireless smartphone charger and reversing camera is also included. The infotainment system is easy to use, with a digital driver’s display for accessing battery information. The driving position is comfortable with a commanding view of the road, although the centre console is difficult to reach and we would have liked a wider range of steering wheel adjustment. Fit and finish throughout the cabin is good and it should cope well with the rigours of daily use.
Rear seat leg room in the e-Niro is better than the Hyundai Kona Electric, while there is two ISOFIX points for child seats and a folding centre armrest
Out on the road, the e-Niro is relaxing to drive, with prompt power delivery and a choice of four driving modes; Eco, Normal and Sport. We spent the majority of our time driving in Eco, which preserves battery life and is best-suited to a relaxed driving style. We achieved 13.5kWh/100 kilometres in economy while annual motor tax is listed at just €120. The e-Niro is refined around town, and it's suprisingly fast off the line with 0-100km/h taking 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 167km/h. Different levels of regenerative braking are available to recharge the battery via paddle controls behind the steering wheel. The e-Niro handles well with light steering, though it isn’t as engaging to drive on twisty roads as the Hyundai Kona Electric or Nissan Leaf. That said it is comfortable, refined and exceptionally quiet on the move.
Different driving modes can be selected including Eco, Normal and Sport. The e-Niro also benefits from heated seats, auto hold and parking sensors as standard
Range and Charging:
The e-Niro’s 64kWh battery offers up to 455 kilometres of range when fully charged which is on par with the Hyundai Kona Electric, and we easily achieved over 400 kilometres while driving the e-Niro on varied roads. The battery takes 42 minutes to charge to 80 percent capacity on a fast charger, while the regenerative braking system tops up the battery during braking and coasting.
The e-Niro offers a competitive range of 455 kilometres when driven sensibly with battery information available through the touch screen infotainment system
Prices and features:
Prices for the new Kia e-Niro start from €33,496 including the government VRT rebate and SEAI grant. At present, one ‘EV’ specification is offered and it is very well equipped, with 17-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, wireless smartphone charging, a seven-inch navigation system and Android Auto and Apple Car Play smartphone connectivity. There is also a suite of standard safety features including Smart Cruise Control, Forward Collision Avoidance and Lane Follow Assist. The e-Niro also benefits from Kia's popular seven year warranty which is limited to 150,000 kilometres.
Three levels of regenerative braking are available using steering wheel paddles
Carzone verdict: 4.5/5
The e-Niro is the best everyday family electric car at this price point, with a competitive real-world range of 450 kilometres, a roomier cabin than its rivals and lots of impressive equipment. It’s very enjoyable to drive and surprisingly fast on the move. Although it isn’t as stylish as certain rival models, and there isn’t a strong range of optional extras, the e-Niro does everything better than most of its rivals. Unfortunately, it’s so popular that it is already sold out and you’ll have to wait until 2020 to get your hands on one!
The e-Niro is an excellent everyday electric family car though it is in high demand and it has already sold out for the 192 registration period
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Kia e-Niro
Prices from: €33,495
Annual Motor Tax: €120
Engine: Single electric motor and 64kWh battery
0-100km/h: 7.8 seconds
Body style: SUV
Boot Space: 451 litres
The e-Niro's 451 litre boot is roomier than rivals with underfloor storage for the charging cable
Hyundai Kona Electric
The e-Niro's 64 kWh battery takes 42 minutes to charge to 80 percent capacity