Kia brings the 2020 Kia e-Niro a compact SUV with plenty of everyday benefits and plenty of range. There is still room for improvement when it comes to charging and telematics.
Let’s not talk about Tesla and Model 3. Not even about electric cars from Jaguar, Audi or Mercedes. They are either not (yet) in appreciable quantities or too expensive. Or everything together. It’s time to talk more about the 2020 Kia e-Niro. About his smaller sister model Hyundai Kona electric we spoke already.
Kia, like Hyundai, builds two versions of each electric crossover. One with a small battery and little power, a larger battery, and a little more power. The 2020 Kia e-Niro with a 100 kW electric motor (136 hp) has 180 battery cells with a capacity of 39.2 kWh in the underbody, the large engine produces 150 kW (204 hp) and accommodates 294 cells with 64 kWh between the axles.
are not so exciting. In the electric competition we are talking about at least 80 kWh batteries (Tesla Model 3, Mercedes EQC ) in the Jaguar I-Pace it is 90 kWh, the Audi E-Tron even draws its power from a 95 kWh battery. No car has less than 300 kW (408 hp).
But not even Tesla is so far able to deliver the announced favorable model for around 35,000 euros. The market launch with 80.5 kWh battery and 335 kW (456 hp) for February has just been announced. Then the Model 3 costs at least 57,900 euros, the economy version with 50 kWh should come in the second half of 2019. Kia will be there then. On the 6th of April is the market launch for the 2020 Kia e-Niro, he can already be ordered. The small version costs 34,290 euros.
How it’s Drive?
For the driving event, the Koreans have only the large version for 38,090 euros in the luggage. With that, we roll from the parking lot. The instrument display shows 430 kilometers of range, the battery is 97 percent full. If we did not use the air conditioning – with an outdoor temperature of around 18 degrees – it would be an option – it would be 441 kilometers.
Below 25 km/h, the E-Niro hums futuristic, so inattentive pedestrians are warned. You hardly hear anything about the electric motor. Well insulated and apparently acoustically decoupled, the engine does its job inconspicuously.
Even in Eco mode, there’s never a lack of power to swim swiftly through the traffic. In normal mode, it’s still a bit funnier. Sport seems overambitious. The performance is so sharp that the front tires are immediately overwhelmed. The ESP slows her down. You can also feel significant drive influences in the steering wheel.
Interior & Equipment
Does not matter. The 2020 Kia e-Niro does not need to be sporty. Although he comes quite fast around the curves thanks to the relatively low center of gravity. The heavy batteries are finally in the subsoil and are not that difficult. The big package weighs 453 kilos, the small one only 315 kg. Overall, the SUV weighs depending on the equipment and battery size between 1,667 and 1,866 kilos. It feels easier.
We want to save, not to heat. But you have to drive actively. The most efficient way to drive the electric SUV is to not only operate the driving and brake pedals, but also the paddles on the steering wheel. As usual, they sort the recuperation strength. A train on the left and the E-Niro slows down more to feed more energy back into the battery. A turn on the right reduces recuperation. There are four levels. At level 0, the Kia rolls free, at level 3, the brakes pretty neat, if you go from the gas.
The maximum recuperation is achieved by holding the left rocker. This is the only way to stop the E-Niro without brake pedal. He then delays with 0.23 g. That, says Kia, is the most efficient way to get the 2020 Kia e-Niro from A to B. Who needs to stop the brake pedal, wastes some electricity. However, the differences should be in the low percentage range.
Sounds complicated, and it actually requires some familiarization. But you do not have to constantly switch between the recuperation levels. An auto mode that is activated by holding the right wheel paddle for a long time selects the level depending on the selected drive mode. In normal mode, it is usually recuperated or sailed at level 1, Eco recuperation is standard at level 2, Eco + at level 3. In Eco +, the air conditioning is also switched off and the maximum speed is limited to 90 km / h.
We were traveling mostly in Eco. As can be largely driven with a pedal. The E-Niro incorporates traffic into its recuperation strategy. In traffic ahead is recuperated more than if the train is free. On slopes also a little less than on a slope. The route including curves, intersections or roundabouts and speed limits, the electric SUV calculated but not one. Too bad.
Even otherwise, the 2020 Kia e-Niro currently lacks, above all, the latest telematics. An app that allows the car to be externally monitored and programmed comes late in the coming year. The route planning including loading stops also comes with new infotainment hardware.
But luckily you do not have to load too often. The E-Niro may lug a relatively small battery, but at the range, he is tall. The 455-kilometer range in the WLTP cycle is no empty promise. After the first 45 kilometers, we reached the finish with a remaining distance of 402 kilometers.
2020 Kia e-Niro Range
The next round trip we started with 85 percent battery charge and 354 kilometers of displayed range. After 47.2 kilometers primarily on country roads and a bit on the French motorway (maximum 110 km / h) were 309 kilometers range in the display. In predominantly economical driving style, but without Selbstkasteiung. The battery had fallen to 75 percent, the consumption of the onboard computer showed 14.3 kWh per 100 kilometers.
Sure, more is always possible. A short distance (8.8 km) in sports mode and quite sporty driving hit with more than 25 kWh into the office. But it is also less. The same distance in Eco + we managed with 12.2 kWh average consumption.
Let’s put it this way: From Stuttgart to Ingolstadt we would trust each other in the 2020 Kia e-Niro. Are only about 230 kilometers. Since you can in the E-Niro without fear also give a little more stuff and still retains something in the battery to drive extensively through the city.
2020 Kia e-Niro Change and Battery Capacity
But it’s not all gold in the E-Niro. The Kia hangs something behind the store. Fast charging columns can shovel energy into the battery with a maximum of 100 kW. From 20 percent to 80 percent charging, it takes about 40 minutes. After all, that should be enough for around 270 kilometers. Incidentally, the small 39.2 kWh battery charges much more slowly. Here goes about the same time between 20 and 80 percent according to Kia. The cells used are different.
Especially the 2020 Kia e-Niro does not feel very special. The choice of materials is okay, the workmanship is solid, but the car does not look noble. The competition from the ownership group, the Hyundai Kona Elektro, beats the Kia E-Niro above all with the space offer. At 4.38 meters, it is significantly longer than the Hyundai mini-SUV (4.18 meters). With 451-1.405 liters, he can pack much more in the trunk (Kona Electric: 322-1.114 l). And: it costs less. Hyundai requires 34,600 euros for the Kona with a small battery, the large costs from 39,000 euros.
We were bothered by the very soft brake feeling and the little grabbing reaction of the stoppers. In addition, the operation is unnecessarily complicated if you want to be as efficient as possible. More efficient recuperation via the brake pedal instead of the steering wheel paddles would be more intuitive. And the lack of route planning with charge stop calculation is not trivial given the locally still thin network of charging and especially fast charging stations. Here Kia should refill quickly.
Nevertheless, who really is serious about electric mobility, can not ignore the 2020 Kia e-Niro. Or at the Hyundai Kona. Sure, both costs close to 40,000 euros much for their vehicle class. But you do not get more coverage for the money anywhere. Only Tesla could change that with the small Model 3 in the coming year. The German competition is far from far.
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