The Kia e-Soul deservedly won the 2020 Continental Irish Car of the Year award back in November. The main reason it won was because of its ability to deliver worry free electric motoring.
As I said in my review at the time it allowed you to achieve 400kms of normal driving with the only time I looked at the “fuel” gauge was when it hit the low zone. I simply found a recharging facility and was on my way again. Invariable though most users will leave home full every morning from an overnight charge. I also think that the different and radical looks of the e-Soul appealed to the judges more than the more normal looks of an equally worthy contender the e-Niro that we have here. Kia boasts a 455km range for the e-Niro and again this looks easy enough to achieve.
The Niro is available as a Plug-in Hybrid and as an all-electric vehicle. It has understated crossover looks that won’t deter potential buyers who are not comfortable with a gawking eye on them if they’d have opted for the e-Soul. The e-Niro isn’t divisive and looks how you’d expect a Kia crossover to look.
Out on the road the e-Niro feels that little bit classier and more refined than the e-Soul despite using the same battery/motor combination. Its lower stance gives it a better driver’s feel but it’s still a crossover and dynamics always suffer as a result.
The power available from the electric motors is instant and I never cease to be amazed at how powerful they feel. Electric power delivery is just so addictive and any doubts that petrol lovers will baulk at electric will vanish when they first drive one. Petrolheads are addicted to power and speed – not the means of provision and will readily convert despite their barefaced denials.
There is a 451l boot to match the 455km range making it perfect for the modern family. The fit and finish is high. There is probably a bit too much plastic but if this is included for weight saving, thus range improving reasons, then I’m in. Kia’s interiors across their whole range is of a very high standard.
The e-Soul got the gongs, but I reckon the e-Niro will get the sales. And if you want one for 2020, you’d want to get to a Kia dealer pronto as demand is very high and rightly so.
Under the Hood
Model Tested: Kia e-Niro
Engine: Electric; 64kW Battery; 2,360cc, 204PS, 395Nm
Top Speed: 167km/hr
Combined Fuel Consumption: 15.9kW/100kms
Model Tested: €37,495
Prices from €33,495