Here is The Test Report of the 2019 KIA e-Niro. After the hybrid and the plug-in hybrid, Kia introduces the third version of the Niro SUV, which inherits a dual electric version, with two different batteries of 39.4 and 64 kWh. We took the wheel of the e-Niro with the biggest batteries.
Decidedly, when Koreans start making cars with alternative engines (hybrid or electric), they do not pretend. Hyundai has released a whole range with the Ionic, available in three engines, and today is Kia pursuing this strategy with a Niro electric full of promise.
This 2019 KIA e-Niro arrives right at the right time for Kia. At a key period in the life of electric cars, where the batteries are still around 40 kWh at general manufacturers, Koreans out of their hat a vehicle with 64 kWh and a “reasonable” tariff, given the performance and efficiency. ‘autonomy.
So far, at the generic brands, there is only Hyundai (Kona Electric) and Kia who are able to offer such a ratio kWh / price. The e-Niro is also marketed in two versions: 34.9 kWh and 64 kWh. But, because there is a big “but”: the difference between the two is that (everything is relative, obviously) of 4 000 €. An additional cost ultimately small given the huge rise in autonomy. Suddenly, the small-battery version is of little interest from the start, and it’s a safe bet that this has been judiciously chosen by Kia to encourage customers to go directly to the big battery, commercial strategy requires.
2019 KIA e-Niro Power: 64 kWh
The battery pack still weighs 457 kg, but Kia announces a mass of e-Niro at 1794 kg. A weight that is finally quite enough for an electric vehicle with such autonomy: 455 km announced according to the WLTP cycle. The big question is: can we reach this distance on a charge in real life, in real conditions?
We drove 180 km at the wheel of the2019 KIA e-Niro 64 kWh on a perfectly mixed course: motorway at 110/130 km / h, departmental, downtown and even pass road over Nice for an interesting result: 14.7 kWh / 100 km average (Kia announces 15.9 kWh / 100 in mixed). A figure that has, we must say, surprised, and this is not the first time that we are below the manufacturer’s official data (it was already the case with the Smart EQ ).
This is a very reasonable consumption for an SUV, which is not a typical vehicle for aerodynamics (high, and rather short, unlike a sedan or a station wagon, which will always be more efficient). We drove all day with the air conditioning turned on, and we alternated driving modes (eco / normal / sport) to see what this e-Niro had in the belly. Suffice to say that we did not ride the economy, especially on the last part of the test with strong incessant accelerations at 70 km / h average on small laces.
In the end, by doing a simple cross product, it would be theoretically possible to make 435 km according to our average consumption. An excellent score that also shows that the WLTP cycle is close to the reality of official data, especially for electric vehicles.
Of course, these batteries will need to be recharged. In alternating current, the 2019 KIA e-Niro can’t go beyond the 7.4 kW of recharging power, which will limit it on terminals of 22 kW. On the other hand, it accepts DC power up to 100 kW. In this case, the recharge of 20 to 80% will take 42 minutes, against … 29 hours on domestic socket 10A and 9:35 on 7.4 kW wall box.
The paddles behind the steering wheel are used to adjust the engine brake, as often on electric. There is however a remark to make about them: they are reversed! Indeed, the right paddle, which is usually used to move to a higher gear on a thermal auto (and thus to “win” a speed), serves here to reduce the engine brake. It’s a curious choice from Kia who is still catching up with an interesting trick.
If you pull the left paddle for several seconds, it acts like a big engine brake that slows down the car to the point of (almost) replacing the foot brake. Very useful, especially in the city or in traffic jams, since we do without the traditional brake. And inevitably, the savings of wear of pads and disks will certainly be far from negligible.
In total, the 2019 KIA e-Niro offers three levels of engine braking, and a fourth mode “Auto” (which activates by pulling several seconds on the right palette), allows to let the computer. The radars at the front analyze the traffic and adapt the engine brake according to the speed and the distance. A rather successful model that we used a good part of our trip.
Kia did a great job of depreciation on this e-Niro that never falls into caricature. Neither too firm nor too flexible, the e-Niro benefits from the installation of batteries on the floor to offer a neutral but very precise behavior. Never uncomfortable, this e-Niro offers surprising course handling for an SUV.
Unfortunately, the 204 hp and 398 Nm are sometimes too much for the simple front gear worn by Michelin Primacy on our test model. In case of hard acceleration, and even on the perfectly dry ground, the front wheels are overwhelmed by the avalanche of torque and fail to transmit power to the ground, despite the traction control engaged. Beware, therefore, too ambitious accelerations curve on the wet ground: the surprise of a pronounced understeer could be cruel.
2019 KIA e-Niro Interior
Kia has made a great leap forward in recent years with materials and especially quality assemblies. There is little to complain about the seriousness of the furniture construction of this e-Niro, but we must still recognize that the implementation of batteries has reduced the space on board, especially for the rear passengers. Two adults will fit easily in the back, but other models in the category are still much more welcoming … especially without batteries.
The trunk volume of 451 liters is him, in the mean, which is rather a nice surprise since we must still remember that the 2019 KIA e-Niro is one of the shortest in the category: 2 cm less than a Nissan Qashqai and especially 7 cm less than a Peugeot 3008!
Overall, the cockpit is well thought out and the ergonomics excellent, Kia has also not yielded to any touch, which allows easy control of simple things like air conditioning or driving modes without having to handle a screen.