Created at Kia's design centres in California, USA and Namyang, Korea, the e-Niro incorporates the practicality and appeal of a crossover in a sleek, aerodynamic body with subtly sculptured surfaces. The car demonstrates that, in seeking greater on-road efficiency, electric vehicle buyers need not sacrifice emotionally engaging design or crossover versatility.
The Kia e-Niro differentiates itself from the existing Niro Hybrid and Niro Plug-in Hybrid with a series of exclusive design features. Taking inspiration from the Niro EV Concept unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the exterior is based on a 'Clean and High-tech' design concept. Its futuristic and aerodynamic 'tiger-nose' grille features an integrated charging port, bearing a de-bossed Niro logo. Redesigned air intakes and new arrowhead-shaped LED daytime running lights combine with blue trim highlights to help it stand out further.
The closed 'tiger-nose' grille design is housed within a newly designed front bumper, giving the car a clear family identity, while aiding aerodynamic performance, and providing a sleek and purposeful character to the front of the vehicle.
In profile, the slim character line, tapered rear windows and sturdy sill line help to emphasise and elongate the car's sleek profile, while allowing greater room for the muscular wheel arches. The e-Niro rides on new 17-inch aluminium alloy wheels with a diamond-cut two-tone finish, housing Kia's regenerative braking system.
At the back, a redesigned rear bumper features similar blue trim highlights to those found at the front of the car. A bold LED rear light design gives the e-Niro the same distinct and recognisable rear light signature as its Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid siblings.
The Kia e-Niro is available in a selection of five contemporary paint colours – including Pluto Brown, a shade that is unique to the e-Niro.
Modern interior with dedicated electric powertrain technologies and crossover utility
Inside the Kia e-Niro, the cabin combines a modern design with generous space and technologies that complement its zero-emissions powertrain. The interior is differentiated from other Niro models with a range of new features and design elements.
The design of the centre console represents the biggest change for the e-Niro, with the all-electric powertrain not requiring a traditional gear lever and gear linkage. The physical transmission has therefore been replaced with a new 'shift-by-wire' rotator dial drive selector. The drive selector dial sits on its own highly-ergonomic panel which extends out from the base of the central armrest. In addition to the rotator dial, this new panel also houses buttons for the electronic parking brake, heated seats, heated steering wheel, drive mode selector, parking sensors, and the Niro's braking 'Auto Hold' function. The new panel requires no bulky transmission tunnel, enabling Kia's designers to create a larger storage area at the base of the centre console.
The dashboard features bright blue trim around the air vents, echoing the trim highlights found on the outside of the car. A new mood lighting system illuminates the centre console and shift dial with subtle lighting in one of six colours – white, grey, bronze, red, green, and blue. New high-gloss black and blue trim also lines the doors of the e-Niro, further enhancing the futuristic atmosphere of the cabin. The shelf at the base of the instrument panel features a wireless charger for Qi-equipped smartphones.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen HMI (human-machine interface) in the centre of the dashboard offers a series of features specific to Kia's new electric vehicle. It enables owners to locate nearby charging points and monitor the level of remaining charge and range. It also lets owners gauge their trip and lifetime CO2 reduction from driving the e-Niro, compared to a petrol car of a similar size. The HMI lets owners set an approximate departure time for their next journey, enabling the car to heat itself to a set temperature before the driver departs. The charge management function also intelligently manages the flow of electricity to the battery when charging, to help extend the life of the battery.
The 7.0-inch colour-LCD driver instrument cluster shows driving and battery charge information on-the-move. The display also gauges the driving style of whoever is sitting at the wheel, attributing a percentage to the amount of 'economical' driving they manage on each journey. For drivers preferring to enjoy the car's low centre of gravity and instant off-the-line acceleration, the display also shows what percentage of a journey has been completed with 'dynamic' driving.
A lamp is integrated into the top of the dashboard, with a light displaying whether the battery pack is recharging or fully charged when plugged in. This enables owners to quickly see the car's charging status at a glance when charging.
When the Niro was first launched in 2016, its new platform was engineered to accommodate a variety of advanced powertrains. The introduction of a battery-electric powertrain has had minimal impact on packaging and versatility, meaning the Kia e-Niro offers greater practicality and versatility by design than many other electric and hybrid cars. Its 2,700mm wheelbase ensures all occupants enjoy generous legroom, while space and a sense of roominess is boosted by its crossover design. Its body is 1,805mm wide and 1,570mm tall, ensuring maximum head- and shoulder-room throughout the cabin. At 4,375mm in length, it offers more cargo space – 451 litres (VDA) – than many other plug-in and electric vehicles. The boot features a dedicated storage area beneath its floor, providing space for owners to store the charging cable.
282-mile driving range from next-generation all-electric powertrain
The Kia e-Niro has been designed to merge crossover-inspired design with long-distance, zero-emissions driving and enjoyable performance. It achieves this with a next-generation electric powertrain, using new production technologies developed specifically for Kia electric vehicles.
The e-Niro offers buyers a convincing alternative to compact crossovers powered by traditional petrol or diesel internal combustion engines. It gives owners the opportunity to complete both long-distance drives and daily commutes with zero emissions and ultra-low running costs.
The e-Niro is equipped with a high-capacity 64 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. On the WLTP combined cycle, it provides a driving range of more than 282 miles on a single charge, producing zero on-road CO2 emissions. On the WLTP city cycle, the Kia e-Niro is capable of driving up to 382 miles. The long-distance 64 kWh battery pack is paired with a 201bhp (150kW) motor, producing 395Nm of torque, enabling the Kia e-Niro to accelerate from 0-to-60mph in just 7.5 seconds. Like the Niro Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid variants, the new electric model is front-wheel drive.
Energy-harvesting and predictive driving assistant technologies
The e-Niro provides owners with a range of technologies to enhance battery efficiency and improve the car's range.
Regenerative braking technology allows the Niro to harvest kinetic energy and recharge the battery pack while coasting or braking, while the Eco Driving Assistant System (Eco DAS) provides drivers with intelligent guidance on how to drive more efficiently. Eco DAS includes Coasting Guide Control (CGC) and Predictive Energy Control (PEC), enabling drivers to maximise vehicle range by suggesting when to coast or brake.
CGC alerts drivers as to the best time to lift off the accelerator and coast towards a junction, allowing the battery to regenerate under engine deceleration. Operating at certain speeds when a navigation destination is set, the system alerts drivers when to coast via a small icon in the instrument cluster as well as an unobtrusive audible warning.
While the electric motor requires no transmission, the car still features a pair of paddles behind the steering wheel. These paddles let drivers choose between three levels of energy recuperation. The higher the level of recuperation chosen by the driver, the more energy the regenerative brakes try to harvest.
The e-Niro's Electric Parking Brake (EPB), is operated by a button on the new centre console panel. The driver can manually apply the parking brake once stopped. When moving off, the EPB switches off automatically, allowing a seamless start.
A battery heating system is also fitted to the e-Niro, designed to insulate and warm up the battery while the vehicle is plugged in, minimising the adverse effects of cold temperatures.
The e-Niro is also equipped with a Drive Mode Select system, enabling owners to tailor their driving experience. Switching between Normal, Eco and Sport modes, Drive Mode Select alters the level of effort required to steer the car, and subtly changes the character of the powertrain. Eco mode maximises the potential for greater efficiency by limiting the maximum torque and power of the motor, softening throttle responses, and offering more relaxed steering inputs. Normal mode is the most suitable for day-to-day driving, combining the innate efficiency and performance of the powertrain with direct steering and throttle responses. Sport mode enhances throttle responses and enables maximum acceleration, as well as weighting up the steering for more decisive responses to driver inputs, bringing the e-Niro's engaging handling character to the fore.
Low centre of gravity with fully-independent suspension for stable ride and handling
The Kia Niro was engineered from the start to accommodate a range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric powertrains. The e-Niro's ride and handling was therefore always readily adaptable to the introduction of an all-electric powertrain.
The battery pack is located low down in the body, between the two axles, giving the crossover a centre of gravity more akin to that of a saloon or a hatchback. With a relatively wide stance, the e-Niro offers drivers maximum stability and driving enjoyment on winding roads, and minimal body roll under cornering. The car is equipped with fully independent rear suspension, tuned to deliver high speed and immediate handling responses and filter out small vibrations at higher speeds when travelling over poor surfaces.
The e-Niro's regenerative brakes – 305 mm in diameter at the front, 300 mm at the rear – exhibit a consistent, linear deceleration and braking feel, and harvest kinetic energy to recharge the battery pack on the move.
The Kia e-Niro is refined and quiet at low speeds thanks to its all-electric powertrain. The e-Niro boasts an even lower drag co-efficient (0.29 Cd) than Niro Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models (0.30 Cd), suppressing wind noise and enhancing its aerodynamic efficiency. This is aided by laminated windscreen glass, a cowl over the front windscreen wipers, specially-profiled door mirror casings and covers over the holes in the roof rails – which sit flush on the bodywork. Road noise is minimised further by high-insulation rigid bushes in the front subframe, high-strength steel in the rear wheel arches, to reduce high frequency vibrations around the rear of the car and additional sound insulation material in the A- and B-pillars.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
Matching the next-generation nature of its powertrain, the e-Niro offers drivers a range of Kia's Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, supporting motorists in a range of driving conditions and scenarios to mitigate the risk of collisions.
The car is equipped, as standard, with Kia Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) for maximum stability under braking and cornering. If VSM detects a loss of traction, it uses the car's Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system and the electric motor-driven power steering to help the driver retain control.
Other active safety systems available in the e-Niro include Forward Collision Warning with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA+), Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go (SCC+), High Beam Assist (HBA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS).
With the new e-Niro, Kia is offering a single, well-equipped ‘First Edition’ model that encompasses all the essential equipment that an environmentally aware electric vehicle driver needs.
The exterior design of the e-Niro is punctuated by halogen headlights with Bi-Function projection, front fog lights, LED daytime running lights and LED rear combination clusters. Privacy glass for the rear windows and tailgate deliver an upmarket appearance. The unique 17-inch alloy wheels have been especially designed and optimised for the pure-electric e-Niro, and the roof rails give a rugged and lifestyle-orientated appearance, accentuating its crossover stance.
Convenience features include rear parking sensors and a reversing camera system, electric windows all round, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and an engine stop/stop button with a Smart Entry System. The rear seats handily fold down in a 60/40 fashion, with a luggage area load cover designed to hide items from prying eyes. Other equipment includes rain sensing windscreen wipers, automatic headlight control, electrically adjustable, automatic air conditioning, heated and folding door mirrors and welcome and follow-me-home light functionality, making arriving home late at night safer, lighting the pathway ahead. Occupant safety is taken care of thanks to seven airbags, including one for the driver’s knees, and a cut-off switch so that a child safety chair can be positioned in the front seat. ISOFIX child safety fasteners are also provided for the rear outer seats.
A Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) system is standard equipment, designed to prevent accidents due to inattention from the driver. If the system senses that the driver hasn’t reacted to an event ahead, the car can automatically bring the car to a stop or lessen the impact of a crash. Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) uses a windscreen-mounted camera to monitor the vehicle’s position in the lane, with the system able to guide the e-Niro back into the centre of the lane. Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) maintains brake pressure on a hill as you switch from the brakes to the accelerator pedal, helping to avoid the car rolling back unintentionally. Other potentially life-saving safety equipment included on all e-Niro models includes Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Emergency Stop Signalling (ESS) and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Adaptive Smart Cruise Control (SCC+) works in association with all of the other safety systems on the car to keep a safe distance from the car in front, slowing down and speeding up automatically according to the flow of the traffic. If another vehicle cuts in front, the system will automatically brake and adjust the speed of the e-Niro until a safe distance is once again achieved.
In-car entertainment has never been more important, and that’s why the e-Niro is fitted with a DAB radio and 8.0-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system with European mapping and Traffic Messaging Channel (TMC). In addition, Kia Connected Services includes TomTom® Live that incorporates traffic, speed cameras, local search and weather updates. As well as Bluetooth® with music streaming, the e-Niro includes Apple CarPlayTM and Android AutoTM with voice control. An 8-speaker, 320-watt JBL® premium sound system with subwoofer, external amplifier and front centre speaker is provided for music aficionados, and a wireless mobile phone charger is provided for Qi-equipped smartphones. As an alternative, a fast charge USB port is incorporated into the centre console, and both auxiliary and standard USB ports are provided.
Black leather upholstery, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats and steering wheel all come fitted to the e-Niro, alongside a leather trimmed steering wheel, gear lever and armrests. A satin finish for the interior door handles, stainless-steel door scuff plates and high gloss black surfaces for the fascia, lower console, door inserts and steering wheel deliver a classy, modern aesthetic.
UK sales start in April 2019 with a 7-Year, 100,000-mile warranty
Already in production at Kia's Hwasung manufacturing facility in Korea, the all-electric Kia e-Niro is on sale in the UK from 1 April 2019 priced at £32,995 after deduction of the £3,500 plug-in car grant. Premium paint is available as an optional extra at an additional £565.
In keeping with every Kia, the e-Niro comes with a unique-in-the-UK seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty, subject to certain wear and tear conditions. The warranty additionally covers the battery pack and electric motor for extra peace of mind. It is fully transferable should the car be sold before the time or mileage limits have been reached.
The e-Niro is available with Kia’s ‘Kia Care’ service plans, which have been developed to provide customers with a wide range of service plan options for any Kia model within the first seven years of the vehicle’s life – matching its industry-leading seven-year warranty.
The service plans include a comprehensive range of options including the original, traditional, first three and five services, but in addition a customer can now purchase services up to and including the seventh service which matches the full length of the warranty. The plans are available for all Kia owners and can be purchased at any point of ownership for cars up to five years old.