Living with it: Kia e-Niro First Edition

The Kia e-Niro is a milestone electric car for its range and affordability, but how does it fare as a high-mileage family car?

Report 1: Introducing our e-Niro

The Kia e-Niro feels like one of those cars that we’ll be talking about forever more – destined to have its own blurb on timelines about the evolution of the car from here on in. 

But there are some questions we still want answered about the e-Niro; namely, what’s it like to live with? Because it’s all very well that it’s won every award going, including DrivingElectric’s own Car of the Year 2019, but what if it then turns out that a toddler can deconstruct the interior in six months, or that the DAB signal makes 6Music sound like Morse code, or that the windscreen takes an age to demist.

Any of that niggling stuff that can mount up to ruin the day-to-day experience of living with a car that, on a test drive, feels like the best thing for modern motoring convenience since power steering. That’s what we’re here to find out.

Mind you, in the few weeks that we’ve had our Kia e-Niro First Edition, it hasn’t put a foot wrong. My only slight area of consternation is that the maximum range is currently showing as some 230-240 miles, which is less than I’d expected given that the pre-production test car we did a lot of miles in last year was managing more like 250-260 even in cold weather.

However, I'm optimistic that our long-termer might improve on this front, as I’ve done mostly fast motorway journeys since the car arrived and nothing ruins an electric car’s range prediction like draining the battery repeatedly on the motorway. 

I’m back to normal now, which means mostly shorter local journeys, a few weekly trips into London proper (feeling smug about whirring past those Congestion Charge zone signs for free), and fairly regular weekend round trips of 150-200 miles to see family in Dorset. Given that I’m still likely to average some 800 miles or more per month, it’s still heavy usage for the average electric car in today’s climate. 

I’m keen to see how this fairly typical lifestyle stacks up in terms of the car’s range, and I also want to find out how a sensible approach to battery charging might impact the range. 

I have a 7kW Chargemaster wallbox at my house, where the vast majority of the charging will happen, and we know that keeping the 64kWh battery between 20-80% is best practice for the longevity and performance of the lithium-ion cells. I’ll be keeping a close eye on how a period of rapid charging compared to a lot of slow charging might affect the car’s range.

 

Not only that, but I have a two-year-old daughter and a big dog to ferry about (the husband gets a lift sometimes, too, if he’s lucky), so we’ll be putting the Kia’s abilities as a family car, as well as an electric car, through a thorough test over the next six months. This, in particular, is where the spacious e-Niro seems to stand apart from the Hyundai Kona 64kWh – a sister car to the Kia, which we’re also running.

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Kia e-Niro stats

Model: Kia e-Niro First Edition
Run by: Vicky Parrott
On fleet since: March 2019
Price new:  £33,560 (incl. gov. grant)
Engine: Electric motor with 64kWh battery, 201bhp
CO2/tax: 0g/km/£0
Official WLTP range: 282 miles
Cost of a full charge at home: £8.96 (at 14p per kWh)
Average cost of a 100-mile public rapid-charger top-up: £12
Options: Graphite metallic paint (£565)
Annual company car BIK cost at 20/40%: £1166 / £2332
Insurance*: Group: 28, Quote: £800
Any problems? None so far

*Insurance quote for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points