Kia e-Niro (2021) in the long-term test: Part 3

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After three months and almost 6,000 electric kilometers, saying goodbye is difficult …

Kia e-Niro (2021) in the long-term test: Part 3-part

On the long haul on vacation to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the Kia e-Niro was able to do part 1 our endurance test already convince. Also in everyday life and in part 2 the electric compact SUV made a good impression.

Now – three months and 6,000 km after receiving the vehicle – it is time for a conclusion. Our long-term test part 3 explains why we will miss the Kia e-Niro and which points still have room for improvement.

The design

This chapter is of course quite subjective. A matter of taste and such. If the normal Niro but like, like the e-model too. This is the case with us. The distinguishing features are limited.

Only the closed radiator grille with the flap integrated in the left side and the charging connection behind it makes the big difference. Otherwise, the e-Niro could also be mistaken for the variants with hybrid or plug-in hybrid drive.

Due to the relationship to vehicles with classic drive, the e-Niro is not designed too futuristic or avant-garde. However, the design still looks fresh five years after it was first launched. With the new models from the group (an EV6 or an Ioniq5) but you are more likely to notice. With the e-Niro, however, you are still driving quite incognito electrically. Despite the E-license.

The interior

You can find the detailed dimensions at the bottom of this article. With a length of just under 4.38 meters, however, the e-Niro ranks between the VW T-Roc, for example and the VW Tiguan. When looking at the exterior and assessing the size, one might think of a T-Roc.

After getting in, the interior looks more like Tiguan. This is where Kia uses the space between the wheels looks really good. And not just in the front row. Passengers in the rear were not only always surprised to find heated seats – the good leg and headroom were also often an issue.

We also liked the fact that the workmanship and the quality of the materials used are of a good level. A little more color would do the interior good, but we'd rather be satisfied with a little more black tones than too much lifestyle. The operation works without any problems even after a short period of getting used to it. Be it the infotainment, the air conditioning or something completely analogous like folding down the two-part rear seat. Top.

Infotainment & connectivity & convenience

Two comfort features – which we thought we would never miss a few years ago – were missing: an electric trunk lid and a head-up display. Unusual. Otherwise, the e-Niro has pretty much everything you need. As a rule, we used Apple CarPlay as the "operating system" for infotainment.

The built-in system also does its job well. The displays behind the steering wheel are still a peculiar mixture of analog and digital with little scope for personal configuration. Easy to read, but a bit boring.

We were particularly impressed by the seat cooling on hot days, which means you don't have to worry about a bladder infection. Unlike many other models, it cools very comfortably and almost without draft. We also liked the "Driver Only" setting for the air conditioning. This saves a few kilometers of range on hot days and without additional passengers on board – without breaking a sweat.

In the case of the assistance systems, there was actually only one system that made a negative impression. But more on that in the section with potential for improvement. The ability to adjust the recuperation using rockers on the steering wheel is also nice. Whereby level 1 and level 2 feel the most natural and best imitate the drag torque of a combustion vehicle when the accelerator is released.

The drive

Speaking of the drive: 150 kW or 204 PS with 395 Newton meters from a standing start are a cool thing. Especially in such an inconspicuous compact SUV. Quickly fill in a gap a little further ahead in the flowing traffic or the Golf GTI show where the frog's curls are at the end of a construction site? No problem! The road should only be dry, because the pure front-wheel drive is quickly overwhelmed even with dead straight acceleration maneuvers and the ESP has to intervene awkwardly.

This deficit became visible even more quickly in fast bends and on wet roads and the e-Niro quickly pushes its vehicle weight towards the outer edge of the bend. Interestingly, this shortcoming gets better when the large trunk is loaded and there are passengers in the rear. So the rear wheels can play a little more.

The modes (Eco, Normal, Sport) mainly regulate the drive power. The response behavior is simply adjusted more directly. We've been in eco most of the time (95 percent at least). That's enough. There is also Eco +. However, this mode switches off almost all electrical consumers in the vehicle. This is really only something for electric long-distance record drives for hardcore purists.

The range

455 km was determined by Kia in the WLTP cycle. Who needs an Eco + mode? Of course, this value cannot really be achieved with the 64 kWh battery, but even if we didn't make any effort to optimize the range, at least 350 km were always possible.

You can get from Frankfurt to Munich with just a 20-minute charging stop. And if you consistently stay at the recommended speed on German autobahns, you can – with a little courage – even make it without stopping.

So we always moved within ranges between 350 and 420 kilometers. Our average consumption on the entire 6,000 km test route was 16.5 kWh / 100 km. Based on this, we were also able to achieve values ​​between 12 and 14 kWh. That's pretty impressive. Above all from the point of view that the e-Niro was based on a classic combustion model and was therefore not necessarily trimmed for perfect aerodynamics.

The loading speed

Yes … it could be a little faster on the fast charger. A maximum of 75 kW would be possible, but you will only see this value very rarely and then only for a very short time. The battery should feel good and should be perfectly tempered.

But you don't have to be completely disappointed, because here, too, it is worth doing a small model calculation. After all, only around 16 kWh have to be recharged per 100 km of range, and on average we did this in around 12 to 15 minutes.

The potential for improvement

Let's get to the points to look out for – there aren't many. We were bothered by the sitting position that was a bit too high. The all-round view in the vehicle is so very good, but with a seat just a few centimeters lower you would feel better integrated into the car.

Also annoying: the welcome sound when the e-Niro is activated / started. It could be a little shorter and less fancy. The lane departure warning system was also rather grossly annoying than assisting in a targeted manner. Every time you set off, it became a ritual to deactivate it immediately.

In addition, the windshield wipers did not provide good cleaning performance and after using the windscreen washer system there was always unsightly water residue on the windshield.

Last (objective) point of criticism: The infotainment system sometimes takes a long time to start for some inexplicable reason. And … purely subjective … we find the synthetic driving noise a tad too spaceship-like. A little more naturalness would do the sound good. The rest? We will miss!

The pricing

42,790 euros are in the room. And you don't have to add much more, because the e-Niro is actually almost fully equipped with it. After deducting all funding, you will end up with an amount in the mid-30,000 euro range. And for what the Kia e-Niro offers, that's really fair. If it is still too much for you, you could also look for a used car.

More electric mobility from the group:

Kia e-Niro (2021) in the long-term test: Part 3-e-niro First test: This is how it sits in the new Kia EV6 (2021)

Kia e-Niro (2021) in the long-term test: Part 3-e-Niro 2021 long-term test Part Hyundai Kona Elektro (39.2 kWh) in the test: less is more?

Our test car had exactly 22,900 kilometers on the clock when it was returned. No signs of wear and tear were noticeable despite the mileage. Not even in the heavily used areas. And – as you can already find out in the range section above – the battery did not give the impression that you would have to reckon with any losses.

Conclusion: we would like to keep it …

Everything should be said with this. If you then think about where Kia comes from and which models were sold here two decades ago, you just have to take off your hat. Kia (but also its sister company Hyundai) are currently building some of the best electric cars.

And although the e-Niro came onto the market at a time when VW, for example, was still over a year from the introduction of the ID.3 away, the three-year-old model can still keep up with the brand new competition.

Photo gallery: Kia e-Niro (2021) in the long-term test: Part 3

Kia e-Niro (64 kWh)

engine Electric motor, permanent magnet synchronous machine

power 150 kW (204 PS)

Max. Torque 395 Nm

Gear type Reduction gear

drive Front wheel drive

Acceleration 0-100 km / h 7.8 s

Top speed 167 km / h (180 km / h according to the speedometer)

consumption 15.9 kWh / 100km (combined, WLTP) // test consumption: 16.5 kWh

Electric range 455 km (WLTP) // Practical range: 360 – 400 km

battery Lithium-ion polymer, 64 kWh, 453 kg weight

Charging port Type 2 and CCS

Charging time 5:50 h (7.2 kW)

length 4,375 mm

broad 1,805 mm

height 1,570 mm (with roof rails)

Trunk volume 451 – 1,405 l

Empty weight 1,866 kg

Payload 418 kg

Base price 42,790 euros

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