In-depth reviews

Kia e-Niro review - Engines, performance and drive

The e-Niro is good to drive and surprisingly fast for a car of this type

The Kia e-Niro is a great car to drive: comfortable and refined but with warm-hatch levels of performance and neat – if not terribly exciting – handling. The car is nicely set up, its suspension working well despite the increased weight of the batteries over the hybrid versions. Bumps are ably soaked up, while body control is really good for a heavy SUV.

There’s lots of grip through corners, but it’s easy to overcome the car’s traction when accelerating from low speeds with the electric motor’s dump of low-down torque spinning the wheels before the traction control realises what’s happening. Driving with smooth pedal inputs helps avoid this (and will prolong the life of the front tyres).

Drivers are likely to be most taken aback by the e-Niro’s remarkable performance – there’s loads of punch even at motorway speeds, with the hefty 395Nm of torque instantly available with a prod of the throttle at any speed. It’s easy to keep pace with traffic, join motorways safely and perform swift overtakes.

There are three driving modes on offer: Eco, Comfort and Sport. The latter tightens up throttle response and adds some weight to the steering. With this mode selected, it’s feasible to have fun on a B-road, where the e-Niro’s acceleration out of corners never gets old.

Perhaps more helpful in and around town is the decent level of brake regeneration. The driver is able to adjust the settings via steering wheel-mounted paddles - moving between level 0 which delivers free-wheel coasting, up to level 4's strong levels of deceleration allowing for one-pedal driving.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The Kia e-Niro is powered by a single electric motor with either 134bhp or 201bhp; both are quick off the mark with 0-62mph taking 9.5 s and 7.5 s, respectively.

Kia offers either a 39kWh or 64kWh battery for the e-Niro, which is the same powertrain set-up as the Kona Electric; both are market-leading, offering a better balance between range and performance than the BMW i3 or Nissan Leaf.  

Top speed is not entirely relevant in an electric car – the e-Niro 64kWh model has a 104mph maximum, but running this speed on a derestricted autobahn would see the battery drain very quickly. 

Most Popular

New Vauxhall Crossland Griffin arrives to boost SUV’s appeal
Vauxhall Crossland Griffin
Vauxhall Crossland

New Vauxhall Crossland Griffin arrives to boost SUV’s appeal

The new Vauxhall Crossland Griffin undercuts the SE on price, but adds more equipment
26 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021
New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900
Audi RS 3 Sportback - front
Audi RS3

New 2021 Audi RS 3: 395bhp mega hatch priced from £50,900

Full exterior and interior reveal for Audi RS 3, with aggressive styling and racy cabin to match strong performance
19 Jul 2021