Introduction to the Kia e-Niro
Kia’s 1st electric SUV was revolutionary when it first came out in 2018, thanks to its technology, performance and value – no wonder it won the 2019 What Car? Car of the Year Award! Even What Car? editor Steve Huntingford pointed out how the Kia e-Niro stood out due to being a more affordable electric vehicle: “It addresses the key issues of cost and range that have traditionally prevented many motorists from taking the plunge into EV ownership”.
While on the topic of range, it’s worth mentioning that the 64kWh battery in the e-Niro offers 260 real-life miles; this, of course, depends on weather conditions, terrain, and how the car is driven. Thanks to its rapid-charging ability, the battery that powers the Kia e-Niro can be replenished up to 80% in a little over an hour using a 50kW DC charger.
As mentioned earlier, the technology found in the e-Niro is innovative to say the least, with features from Highway Drive Assist to Remote Smart Parking Assist, so we’ve highlighted some of these below.
- Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA) – gives a visual and audible warning if it detects other vehicles in the driver’s blind spot and apply the brakes if needed to avoid a collision.
- Navigation-Based Smart Cruise Control (NSCC) – maintains a constant speed and distance from the vehicle in front, auto-decelerates based on the curvature of the road ahead.
- Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist Rear (PCA-R) – if there is an ongoing risk of collision with pedestrians or other vehicles, the car warns the driver and assist with braking if needed.
- Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) – using the smart key outside the car, the driver can manoeuvre it inside/outside of a parking space and the car brakes if the sensors detect an obstacle (this can be particularly helpful with parallel parking!).
Having a touchscreen display that you can connect your phone to is pretty standard in modern cars, and the Kia e-Niro is no different. The 10-inch screen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But this isn’t the only cool feature in the centre console! The charging pad is located in line with the “gearbox” and allows for wireless phone charging, while maintaining a tidy (and cable-free!) cabin.
The manufacturer has also implemented its technology outside of the car, with the development of the Kia Connect App. This allows you to access car settings from outside of the car and operate functions like setting your destination in advance, or scheduling charging sessions. Keep an eye on your e-Niro’s location and driving stats with the Find My Car function and Valet mode.
Other elements worth mentioning are the heated seats and steering wheel that certainly make driving in cold weather much more enjoyable. The Head-Up Display also contributes to an easy, modern driving experience by projecting driver-related information onto the windscreen. This feature lets you know if the car is drifting out of the lane and highlights vehicles ahead, without you having to take your eyes off the road.
What we think
The Kia e-Niro doesn’t feel like a tall, bulky SUV to drive thanks to its low centre of gravity (the car’s battery is stored under the floor, unlike the PHEV version). It’s fun and easy to drive, especially with the technology that assists the driver in ways like never before. The 452L boot provides more than enough storage for a family’s luggage, without sacrificing passenger space in the rear. Kia has not only nailed the performance of its first electric SUV, but also the safety and comfort of the passengers – what more could you ask for?