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  • P11D Value: £32,995
  • BIK band 2018/19: 16%
  • 5 door compact SUV
  • 201bhp/395Nm, permanent magnet AC synchronous type 64 kWh Electric Motor
  • Performance: 7.5secs/104mph
  • Range/CO2: 289 miles/0g/km

What is it?

The Kia e-Niro: it’s all electric and with it comes range anxiety – that’s what puts people off buying or leasing an electric car.

But what if the range is nearly 300 miles?

That’s a bit of a game changer – so hopes Kia with its new e-Niro (and sister company Hyundai with its Kona Electric). So eager was Kia to show us its new electric toy the company jetted us all the way to South Korea to try it.

Apart from the range, the two other headline numbers are price and company car tax. When it goes on sale next April the e-Niro will cost £32,995 after deduction of the plug-in car grant. In terms of benefit in kind, the e-Niro is as low as you can go: 16% in 2019/20 before dropping to just 2% the following year.

Why would you want to drive an e-Niro?

  • The Niro is already an established model, previously available in hybrid and PHEV format with more than 11,000 sales in the UK
  • It’s electric and with a range of 289 miles which will certainly see you through the daily commute, but it will also allow you to visit business clients without the necessity to stop for a few hours en route to charge up.
  • For other markets there is a lower output motor with a shorter range (and cheaper price) but Kia in the UK does not see the benefit of bringing this model in, preferring to market the long range capability
  • There is a one off price and “feature rich” specification at £32,995 and that is after the government grant has been removed. What we will have is the high capacity 64kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack paired with a 201hp (150kw).
  • With an electric motor, of course, comes instant torque and the e-Niro will happy outdrag pretty much anything from the traffic lights if you are so inclined and won’t make a sound doing it. The 0-60mph time is just 7.5 seconds.
  • Company car tax appeal: from £12 a month in 2020/21
Kia e-Niro cockpit

From the driving seat. Select drive or reverse via the turnwheel; it’s that simple!

What might put you off an e-Niro?

  • Well a nine hour charge time to fully load the battery means that if you are taking really long journeys you need to plan ahead. However a fast charge takes just under one hour and will give you 80% of battery life.
  • Price. EVs are still expensive and the compact SUV segment is brimming with other attractive models at lower prices if you feel you’re not yet ready for a move into electrification.
  • Where to charge it? The infrastructure is still not great and not always reliable. At home or the office it comes down to what space you have available. Grants are available for home and business chargers
Kia e-Niro charging

Charging up. Kia e-Niro takes nine hours for a full charge; but 80% of battery capacity can be delivered in less than an hour

Verdict on the Kia e-Niro

If you are seriously looking for an EV then this is a serious option. While prices are high generally for electric cars, the e-Niro actually stacks up well against the Nissan Leaf (£32,890 OTR) or the Renault Zoe (£31,520 OTR) and has a greater range than either of those.

What the Kia offers against those two is a lot more practical space thanks to its SUV styling. We’ve yet to fully test the range, and whether it shapes up in the middle of winter with lights on, wipers thrashing and heating at full tilt. Hopefully this will come later, but the theory is compelling.

EVs still have a long way to go in terms of acceptance but this is certainly a move in the right direction.

Kia e-Niro underfloor tray for charging cable

Plenty of practicality in this compact SUV, including this under floor storage tray for the charging cable

What else should you know about the Kia e-Niro?

1 Kia’s family ‘tiger-nose’ grille exists but who needs a grille on an EV? This has been filled in and colour coded while also featuring an integrated charging port. Redesigned air intakes and new arrowhead-shaped LED daytime running lights combine with blue trim highlights.

2 The e-Niro will be in Kia dealers from April 1 next year in a single, “feature-rich” specification.

3 Despite its impressive torque, surprisingly car companies tend not to certificate EVs for towing.

4 The e-Niro comes armed with a few tricks to help improve range and battery efficiency such as regenerative braking and an Eco Driving Assistant system which will alert the driver as to the best time to lift off the accelerator and coast towards a junction.

5 While there is no transmission, there are paddles behind the steering wheel allowing the driver to choose between three levels of energy recuperation through the brakes.

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