Kia e-Niro

Are you look­ing at EV?

CAR (UK) - - Contents -

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. GARETH EVANS

Roomy and comfy like all Niros, but this one’s elec­tric

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