Kia e-Niro (Niro EV) 2021 review | Kona Electric rival tested in depth | Chasing Cars
This isnt the facelifted nero that were expecting to arrive in six to eight months, but you can tell its a 2022 model because its got this rather snazzy. Modern new kia badging and you can tell its the electric model because its got this plug in port at the front blanked off grille and the extra blue bits, because of course, kia does sell this vehicle in several other permutations, including hybrid series, parallel and also plug. In hybrid, but the car we have here is the range topping flagship nero. The electric model in sport trim slightly more expensive than the s trim and actually on that topic, it costs 79.90, and that puts this kia e nero right at the top of australias kia range, its only out priced by the kia sorrento plug in hybrid that we Recently reviewed here at chasing cars and at 71, 000 or 10 less its also more expensive than something like a kia, stinger 3.3 gt. So is it good enough, well thats what were going to find out in this review, because its got to be pretty good with new competitors on the block? Now, before we dive into the review proper of the kia nero ev, i want to let you guys know that next friday were going to have a video dropping of a full walk around of kias next ev, the ev6. So if youre not already make sure you hit subscribe for that, that brings me to the high points and the low points of this car, starting with the low points number one its price at 79.
90 on the road here in new south wales. Its got to compete with fresh competitors like the polstar, 2 and, of course, the long running tesla model 3, which both offer slightly more range in this vehicle for pretty much the same price. And for me, it doesnt look striking enough to really make inroads as an ev. It certainly doesnt look like kias ev6, its the sort of genesis of evs for the kia and hyundai brands. Much like the hyundai ioniq, and also it doesnt, really have a particular party piece sure its a very competent vehicle, but theres, nothing about it. That shouts. Oh, my god, look at me im a kia e nero, but now on to the good points. One of those is the 450 kilometer wltp range, which is pretty competitive and its also very true and accurate on the trip meter, certainly from our testing. We found it to be pretty accurate. It also has a surprisingly good chassis and pretty punchy dynamics out on the road, which is something you might not expect from a small suv and finally, its actually a really well packaged car sitting on a really long, 2700. Millimeter wheelbase makes it in the small suv category a very good option if youre looking at a rideshare vehicle now were going to jump into the review starting talking about the design and, of course, if you have any comments on this car, let me know in the Comment section down below while youre down there wed, also love it if you could hit subscribe, so, yes, the design its definitely not one of the high points of the e nero.
Unfortunately, it is kind of a bit like the kia rondo 7. Dare i say it, the proportions are a bit funky, but as well get to in a minute that actually really pays off in some areas. Youve also got these 17 inch alloy wheels here with a bit of an electric design. Youve got your blue flares at the front and overall, its pretty anonymous, inoffensive and isnt going to grab headlines, but i dont think anyones going to really hate how this car looks either. But you can, let me know in the comment section what you think. If youve spent much time in one of kias small cars, then i reckon youll feel pretty at home inside the nero. It certainly feels an extra half a generation older than kias latest products like the new sportage and sorrento, both of which are presented immaculately. It just feels like the previous generation of kia interior dying, because it is, it may be a new car to australia, but the neros been on sale in europe and in other markets since about 2017, and that pervades plenty of aspects of this interior. Again, not to say its bad, its simple and easy to understand and youve got some pretty nice tech, including this 10.25 inch touchscreen, which runs kias, really straightforward, android operating system um. Of course, ongoing dispute with smartphone manufacturers means no wireless apple, carplay and android auto. But you do get wired apple, carplay and android auto, and you get a pretty decent.
Eight speaker, jbl stereo in this range topping sport, which is a nice little touch and does a pretty good job of rendering the music and the shape of this car does lend itself quite well to being a good little theater. So all pretty good there below that weve got nice and easy to use shortcut buttons, uh volume, control, tuning knob and then again, although the climate is accessible through the touchscreen, we have physical controls down here, keeping it straight forward easy to use and simple below that. Weve got a little storage tray, really good for your phone usb ports, connection for the apple carplay and your 12 volt socket as well. Then youve got this juicy big old space for carrying something like a handbag or you know a notebook. So you dont forget what youre going to talk about very nice and then little roller door below here, two cupholders good size for a little takeaway coffee cup and theyre also rubberized. So they can fit something like a bottle in there, nice and well, without rattling around and being too annoying central armrest, decent storage. Nice little flock lining down. The bottom. Youve got another usb port there and it is sort of appointed in leather. It does feel pretty snazzy, although i must say its not the highest quality leather, its quite sticky. When you sit down on it, you cant really rotate in your trousers, so its not the most high quality in the world, but they dont have heating or cooling in these seats, which, in an electric car in australia, means that youre going to be using a lot Of energy to power that ac on a hot day, at least the driver does get electric adjustment, including lumbar support its in and out not up and down where the passenger seat does just get manual adjustment, but at least theres height adjust.
So its not like youre sitting right up in the ceiling, so not too bad on the comfort front, a couple of other things to note this cool little rotary dial, which i think is pulled off rather well here in the e nero youve, got this kind of Spaceship looking star trek, enterprise, deck thing, drive mode, selector, blank button, weird and then your parking brake and all that sort of thing, and now we come to the materials in this car, because this is one of the bug bears of kia. Generally speaking, you do have nice sort of squidgy soft mould dash here, but straight away down from this piano black panel, which picks up fingerprints super easily, you get scratchy plastic and that scratchy plastic goes all the way down, and i just think it starts a little Bit higher than it ought to on a 70 000 car at least youve got soft mold door tops here and a soft arm rest decent cup holder in the door as well its not super small. You can pretty easily fit a one liter bottle and a little bit of odds and end storage there as well. Finally, a little pointed steering wheel. Then i got a snazzy looking 4.2 inch, semi digitized cluster in front of me, so thats pretty much. The kia e neros front seat does it feel 71 000 without a sunroof im, not entirely convinced. To be honest, there are other cars out there, including the tesla model 3 and the polstar 2, with better and more snazzy tech integration than this e nero.
But it is at least easy to use and feels fairly well put together, but now we have pretty much the pistol resistance of the kia e nero and why i believe it really should be on your list if youre looking for a car that will work for Rideshare or taller young children in the back, but want an electric vehicle and thats because its packaged fantastically being only five millimeters shorter than the celtos small suv. It has a seven centimeter, longer wheelbase, so 2 700 millimeters and that really pays off back here. Look at the knee room. Ive got im six foot, two, its super comfortable back here heaps of space. The tow room is a little bit tight, but because ive got enough knee room its not too bad in the end and then headroom. My head is just brushing the ceiling, but the inclination of the backrest of this seat and the actual bench itself provides pretty decent under thigh support. Although again never going to be perfect for someone like me, but as far as pack seats go its not too bad. Youve also got a couple of niceties, including a fold down armrest with two little cup holders. Youve got your map pocket behind the passenger seat, none behind the driver – and i should mention the back of the drivers seat – is scratchy plastic, as is the door top. You do at least have this padded little armrest with a nice sort of storage cover.
You can put your phone or something in and a fairly reasonable bottle holder that can take a one liter bottle and yeah decent view out over the front seat. Pretty grand grandstandy sort of seating position so overall, i think it does a pretty good job of being a really quite pleasant place to sit in the back of and, of course, almost forgot to mention. But weve got air events back here as well, which is great for a hot country like australia. If the neros party piece is its packaging, then it does a pretty good job of boot. Space as well, offering 451 litres under this manually, operated tailgate and at 70 thousand dollars manually, operated tailgate on a small suv, does feel a little nickel dimey, but anyway pop this load cover back, which is sort of plastic, and you can see that the three chasing Cart suitcases fit in here really nice and easily youve got a bit of a load lip here, but because the car is actually quite a low vehicle, it means that its not such a big deal to load suitcases and then finally, we have a little bit more Storage under the floor for things like the charging, cable and things to change a tire and a little inflation kit, but no space, saver or full size spare tyre on the cv, but i guess thats pretty fit for purpose, given its 455k range. So lets close that boot and well talk about running costs.
Now this is the area wherein an electric vehicle has some real benefits, so, for example, in new south wales at least, there are still some areas where you can juice your car up, free of charge, taking advantage of places like shopping, centers, fast charging, ports and that Sort of thing this car can fast charge up to 100 kilowatts maximum capacity, and that means you can get from naught to 80 in about 54 minutes according to kia, while energy consumption is officially rated at 15.9 kilowatt hours per 100 kilometers, and that should get you About 455 kilometers of range now driving this car weve actually averaged slightly better than that its sitting about 14.2 kilowatt hours per 100ks on the trip computer, but that doesnt take into account natural battery degradation, while the car is turned off so thats still pretty good. Of course, youre not going to have access to the charging network, you would do in a tesla model 3 and thats one of the big considerations when buying an ev in australia. So you can, let me know in the comments section down below, if thats a turn off for you or whether youre not worried because were going to get more infrastructure on the way. Very soon. Now lets talk about warranty and servicing because, like every car sold in australia, its got a seven year, unlimited kilometer warranty on the body and the physical components. However, the battery electrics, the high voltage stuff, is capped at seven years and 150 000 ks.
Now, just servicing kia quote seven years of cap price servicing for the series parallel and plug in hybrid variants of this vehicle, but they dont quote a price for the ev on the website for the plug in hybrid and the series. Parallel, though, its going to cost you 3510 for seven years, ownership, which is actually pretty expensive, so the real question in my head is: does this kia nero drive like a 71 000 car out on the road and in some ways yeah but overarchingly? I think theres still some improvement to be made when this car gets facelift in another six to eight months time. So i guess the good thing is. We have a lot to look forward to because the electric tech actually feels pretty slick in this car. So under the bonnet um, because this isnt a dedicated ev platform, its shared with the hyundai ioniq sedan on the ionic 5, but the ionic sedan, and it also gets a plug in hybrid version and a series parallel hybrid, and that means its a fairly conventional setup. Having the 150 kilowatt and ‘5 newton meter, electric motor under the bonnet and thats hooked up to the front wheels only in this car, so no oil drive grip like youd, get in something like a more expensive version of the tesla model 3, and that does wreak Havoc a little bit in the wet um, it was raining earlier this morning and driving this thing.
Traction control does cut in quite a lot trying to uh curtail the wheel spin, but the good thing is that the traction control actually works quite well. The system is pretty slick, it simply limits power and because of the electric power, it means that it limits grunt quite well um and it can be a little bit more accurate than when youve got a petrol engine from your drive car and even when the wheels Are spinning youre not getting horrible axle like you would do in a cheaper front? Wheel drive car, so it certainly feels slicker than a petrol car or a combustion car in general. In terms of the way the power is delivered as well. Obviously, youve got all of the torque all the time, so you can just stomp on the throttle and off we go its got a real kick to it, and it means that you can sort of thread through traffic really nicely. Despite this cars weight um the power of an i 20 n hatchback, i should mention – means that yeah, you could make pretty decent progress in this thing up to about 80 90 ks an hour much above that, and it starts to run out of puff a little Bit like on the freeway, but still where youre going to be using this car, mostly in urban environments. Its really nippy fast and pretty simple. To use and now lets talk about how the neros electric regeneration system works, because, like quite a lot of slightly previous gen evs weve, got two paddles on the steering wheel to adjust regen braking, but its not a full one pedal system, doesnt bring you all the Way to a stop, even on regen level, three, it slows down nicely, but it doesnt slow you down below 10ks an hour, so you still do need to use the brake pedal, and i think probably the facelift of this car might address that um, because its really Nice to be able to drive an ev with one pedal and know that youre always regening power, like i quite like that, but um yeah level, one weve got it on now – is quite natural for a combustion car level.
Two is the third. You change down the gear, pretty straightforward and easy to use and yeah i mean thats really what this nero is its a straightforward and easy ev to get used to you. Dont have any crazy tech in here, theres no touchscreen to get used to youve got all these controls here. So in terms of a first foot in the door of ev ownership, sure its definitely got its benefits um, but in terms of you know, being a tech masterpiece, its not that kind of car, but it does at least have a really nice chassis underpinning it. Its quite an adjustable car and a lot of that as well, comes down to how low the battery sits in this car. You can see it actually underneath from the profile you can see where the sort of silver battery pack comes to and uh yeah. It feels like that when you drive it feels like its got. A low center of gravity now, im not saying its a hot hatch at all. These 215 55 series, michelin primacy eco, tires, are definitely on the um lower grip end of the spectrum, but they do at least give good feedback and nice consistent feel. So when youre on a country road like we are now the euro actually doesnt feel out class youve got plenty of adjustment for the driver to play with mid corner the uh engine. Braking or rather i should say engine regen, helps that too it helps it.
Sort of point around on the nose, so even when this cars out of its comfort zone its actually pretty fun and uh yeah, quite an enjoyable car to thread down a country road at uh, reasonable speed, which is which is nice to see. I know its not the real intention of this car but its nice to know that its safe and and can do that for a small suv and then being a contemporary vehicle. There are obviously a suite of drive modes to choose from youve, got a pretty interesting eco plus mode, which um defaults, the aircon to driver only and limits you to 90k as an hour, which i guess is really good if youre running low on juice. Although this car doesnt tend to do that, because its actually got pretty decent 455 kilometer range, which is very accurate, as is here on the trip, computer and youve also got normal, which were in now regular eco and then youve got sport as well, which really sharpens Up the throttle response and makes this car a little bit of a ragged sort of micro, warm hatch, its quite interesting um, but i think my preference overall is driving just in normal now. Although a lot of the handling characteristics in this vehicle are down to the low center of gravity, there is also a fairly firm suspension setup for this sort of car that does grate a little bit, especially at lower speeds, theres, a constant jiggliness to it and um Thats largely down to the fact that this nero never actually received a full, comprehensive australian suspension tune.
Instead, it picks up the european suspension tune because it is pretty much a european car, its made for european markets. It does definitely ride a little bit more firmly than kias australian products, but of course, trade off. You know country road handling, thats great, but i reckon with the impending facelift, if theyre really going to try and sell nero hard in australia, an australian suspension tune is something thats going to need to happen. And finally, we come on to safety, which is pretty decent in this nero, but again it doesnt get all of the stuff that you expect it doesnt get reverse or junction aeb, which gets frontal a b with pedestrian and cyclist detection. You get blind spot monitoring, lane trace, assist, lane, keep assist and also adaptive cruise control. To make this thing a pretty cruisy thing to drive down the highway in. So what do we think of the kia e nero? Well put it this way if the combustion car is like the cassette tape and the ev6 and the tesla model 3 are like the cd rom, then the kia e nero just feels a little bit like the mini disc, something that is good novel and quite an Interesting approach, but one thats probably going to be forgotten in the sands of time, thats, not to say its a bad vehicle at all, because it has some really good high points. Surprisingly, good handling and punchy acceleration, owing to the electric motor, of course, and also it would be a really interesting car to buy if you were looking to do ride, sharing owing to the low cost of energy consumption and also its fantastic practicalities.
But you can. Let me know in the comments section down below whether you spend over seventy thousand dollars on a kia ev or whether youd look somewhere else and while youre down there, leaving a comment.