Having a chance to take a Kia eNiro Electric out for a test drive on the 1st August, it was something I had planned after I decided to buy a new Green car. As Kia are owned by Hyundai, I was expecting a Kona with another badge. The Kia team have been splashing the cash, even using Robert De Niro for its Niro TV adverts. This meant that they highly rated their chances of impressing potential customers and I was wanting to be wowed.
Arriving at the Fish Brothers Kia, Swindon dealership, they had everything Kia. Going into the showroom, there was a brand new Niro parked up and it looked stunning in blue. Gavin, the sales person was ready for me when I arrived, keys and paper work were all sorted. He and Amjad had happily sorted an hour test drive for me, so that I could do this review and consider whether I was going to buy one.
I notice that behind one of the sales desks, I saw a Kia Niro banner depicting all the ‘green’ options. The full electric with a 64kWh motor was showing 282 miles on a single charge. For me that would be a couple weeks worth of use and a huge reduction in fuel costs.
eNiro Test Drive
Gavin took me through all that was needed before being taken outside to see the demonstrator. The eNiro electric was sat out on the forecourt, even though it had the dealership name down the side the car still looked good. I was given a quick tour and then left to my own devices. I had a quick look around and the first impression was that the demonstrators dash looked a little dated but it was still something I wanted to try.
Being that this is an all electric car, all the controls looked simple enough, everything was the same as a normal car. The pedals, steering and dash looked the same, apart from the gear selector. Instead of a stick poking out of the centre consule, there was a dial, which selected, Drive, Neutral, Reverse and Park. This was a fully automatic car without any fuss. There was also a button on the consule that allowed me to change the mode of the car from Eco to Normal and into Sports. I had already been told that the best way to get the most out of an electric car was to leave it in Eco, but for this test drive, I needed to try all the functions.
Wanting to make sure that the rear seats were usable (one of my three demands for my new green car) I had invited two friends to come out and test the rear passenger space for me. We all hoped in, with four adults in an all electric Kia eNiro, this was going to be one of my everyday use tests. Selecting the D on the centre dial consule and raising my right foot off the brake the car silently rolled forward, all apart from the low hum coming from the front of the car (a legal requirement). It felt smooth and comfortable up front.
Rolling out onto the road it handled just like any other car. It did not feel heavy and everything felt great. Getting to the Great Western Way, the first thing I wanted to try was the sports mode. Pushing the button, the dash changed to Sports mode, it was ready within seconds. Going around a roundabout the car felt more responsive and as soon as the road straightened out I hit the throttle. The car leapt forward and the speed was piling on. It got to 50 MPH within seconds and would have been happy to do more.
I wanted to try out the car and see what it would be like on a decent run so I headed to A419. Getting through town, the car was effortless. It took corners, managed roundabouts and glided over junctions with ease. This was a really comfortable drive.
Pulling onto the A419, the sport button was pushed again and the foot buried into the floor, the car picked up and the sound it made was like a jet engine winding up, it put a smile on all our faces.
Driving down the A419, the Kia eNiro had its cruise control switched on, as I watched the battery discharge. It did not appear to be moving but the Kilowatt Hour (KWH, equivalent to MPG) was registering quite a high mileage. When I needed power, it was there instantly, the Kia eNiro just ate up the miles.
Inside the eNiro
Driving down the A419, the Infotainment centre was adjusted, changed and the tested. Everything on it was easy to use and responsive, we did comment again about it looking slightly dated and it was a bit of a shame. Pulling off the A419 and on to the Spine road, I drove into the Muddy Duck cafe car park, to check out the rest of the car.
Pulling up to the cafe I saw the electric vehicle charging point, a great sign that owning an electric car can be easily managed, grab a coffee whilst the eNiro gets some juice. Parking up, we checked around and found the spring round cup holders in the centre consule (check the YouTube video as they were pretty cool).
Here I was able to check out how much room there was in the back. Moving seats, laying down the back seats and going through the boot. It was clear that there would be plenty of room for anything I would need to put in the back. My only concern was when it was put back together. I was able to sit on the back seat but at 6’1″ I am not sure the footwell is deep enough. The backs of my legs did not rest on the seat. They were a few inches off the bench seat, although there was plenty of room I am not sure how comfortable I would be after a few hours sat in the back.
I also had to check out what was under the e-Niro bonnet, so managed to take a quick look. It looked just like a conventional unit in there, apart from bright coloured wires instead of pipes. There was little anyone needed to do, apart from top up the windscreen washer bottle, I liked the idea of not having to check the oil.
The Kia eNiro had everything I needed, it was spacious inside, a great drive and clearly the places that I like to visit are putting in the infrastructure to suite the modern electric car driver. My concerns were about the shallow footwell and the dash, but the later was about to be resolved. I drove back to the dealership, the drive was still comfortable and did everything that I asked it to do. The Kia e-Niro really is a great car.
Updated e-Niro Interior
Back at the Kia dealership, Gavin was waiting. We chatted about the dated interior and he explained that the demonstrator was owned by Kia and the dealership were awaiting an upgrade to the latest model. He took me to the showroom model and opened it up. Getting in, I saw the vastly improved dashboard and interior. It was such a shame that the demonstrator was dated, the interior cabin of the new model could not be compared to the old e-Niro. The Infotainment unit was blended into the dash and everything felt more modern and even had a better quality feel about it.
The e-Niro Deal
Chatting to Gavin, we discussed the options on the car and the pricing. There are three models available from the Kia eNiro 2 at £29.5k, then the Kia eNiro 3 at £33.8k then the top spec eNiro 4+ at £36k.
Gavin explained that there is a huge demand for the Kia eNiro. When launched, there was an 18 month waiting list, which Kia now has it down to around 6 months (and it is still dropping). With an impressive order book, I could understand why people we willing to wait.
The move to owners wanting an electric motor, is accelerating. More people want to own a green car. It is clear to see and understand why. To have a battery powered car that does not pollute the environment. It charges at home overnight, ready the very next morning. It is like any regular car, having this level of comfort and is half the price of the well known green Tesla models people would be a fool to dismiss the Kia eNiro.