Are you looking at EV?
NIPPING AT THE HEELS of sister ﬁrm Hyundai’s impressive new Kona Electric, Kia’s take on the everyman electric SUV has many of the same virtues and a few more of its own, but also a bigger price ticket.
The e-Niro still gets the claimed driving range of 300-plus miles, but with a larger cabin and boot.
Kia’s oﬀering only the larger of the two battery packs available on the Hyundai, and a single, well-appointed trim called 3: heated seats and steering wheel, wireless smartphone charging, touchscreen-based multimedia with eight speakers.
It drives well enough, with a centre of gravity that beneﬁts from the batteries being low. Its ride could be softer, but overall comfort is good, helped by the absence of engine noise and the easily adjusted front seats.
Its 7.5sec 0-62mph time does scant justice to the manner in which the e-Niro accelerates. Given a sharp prod of the throttle it squats over its rear wheels and dashes forwards in a pleasingly dramatic style.
The paddle-adjustable brake-regen function’s very useful in a queue. Pull the left for more resistance, while the right increases coasting distance. You’re able to drive for the most part on just one pedal if you have the e-Niro set to maximum regen. Smoothly imperceptible driver-assistance comes as standard, taking much of the stress out of heavy traﬃc.
None of the tech is new, but it works together excellently. And while the list price is £6k more than an entry-level Kona Electric, it’s half the price of the fancier but less practical Jaguar i-Pace.
> Price £32,995 (after £3.5k government grant) > Engine 64kWh electric motor, 201bhp @ 3800rpm, 291lb ft @ 0rpm > Transmission Drive-by-wire auto, front-wheel drive > Performance 7.5sec 0-62mph, 104mph, 301-mile range, 149Wh/km efficiency > Weight 1812kg > On sale April 2019
Quiet, quick and cleverly contemporary