What Car? has been running its Car of the Year Awards since 1978. They are eagerly anticipated every year by the press and car buying public. Announced in January, a car is chosen as a winner from each sector of the car market and one stand out car is given the prestigious title of What Car, Car of the Year.
This year, 2019, saw the Overall award go to the all-electric Kia e-Niro
, a car summed up in What Car’s opinion as - “The first sensibly priced electric car that can fit into most peoples lives.”
Until now, the majority of people would agree that a petrol, diesel or hybrid car was a far more attractive prospect than an electric car. Most car buyers are still reluctant to venture into the electric car market. But the launch of the Kia e-Niro
(along with the Hyundai Kona Electric) may change all of that.
The Kia e-Niro
has many features that appeal. For starters, it has a real-world range that breaks the 250 mile barrier on a single charge. It is a comfortable ride, with an eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat as standard. Front and rear parking sensors as well as a reversing camera also come as standard, along with DAB radio, Bluetooth, Sat-Nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to use certain smartphone features safely, while driving. For those that love quality sounds, an eight-speaker JBL sound system also comes as standard.
If you’re a 6ft driver and thinking to yourself there’s no way you’ll comfortably fit into this car, you’ll be surprised to hear that the e-Niro’s high roofline allows you ample space, as well as being able to comfortably travel as a passenger in the back thanks to its generous head and leg room.
What about boot space. No problem here; the e-Niro’s boot is similar in size to the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar, even though the e-Niro has extra batteries stowed under the floor.
Charging is made straightforward too. You get a Type 2 cable used to charge from a regular 7kW home charging point, taking under 10 hrs. For rapidly charging while you’re out you can use a CCS charging point, there are well over 1000 of these throughout the UK. Rapid charging takes just over an hour.
There is loads of stuff thrown in as standard, including, 17in alloy wheels, all-round electric windows, climate control, automatic lights and wipers, keyless entry and start, adaptive cruise control, leather seats (heated in the front), heated steering wheel and automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance as well as an alarm, deadlocks and locking wheel nuts.
Main competitors to the e-Niro are the Jaguar I-Pace
, a good car but relatively pricey, and the Nissan Leaf
and Volkswagen e-Golf
, similarly priced but less impressive on their real world range. The e-Niro is also nippier than the similarly priced cars and delivers a more comfortable ride.
There are many reasons to consider the e-Niro
• Kia as a brand came fourth in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey
• 250 mile plus range between charges
• Strong acceleration
• Well equipped
• You get a seven year warranty as standard
• Even on a lease agreement you still benefit from the £3500 government grant.
• You spend less on electricity per mile than petrol per mile
• You don’t pay a penny in road tax
• You escape the Congestion Charge in London
• There are various parking perks across the UK
The only negative is you may wait a while for delivery as it is a victim of its own popularity.