Kia e-Niro long-term test review: report 7

What's the first-ever electric winner of our Car of the Year title like to live with? We find out...

Kia e-Niro 300 mile range

The car Kia e-Niro First Edition Run by Jim Holder, editorial director

Why it’s here To find out just how good the first fully electric What Car? Car of the Year really is

Needs to Do everything a conventional SUV can do, without compromises

Price £32,995 (after grant) Price as tested £33,560 Miles covered 9001 Official range 282 miles Test range 301 miles Options Premium paint (£565)

2 August – Why our indicated range keeps on growing

So here’s a thing: the more miles I drive, the more miles of range I get from the Kia e-Niro. How so? Perpetual motion? Not exactly, but the evidence is that, as the e-Niro tips over 5000 miles, it has run in yet more, to the point that more than 300 miles on a full charge is now indicated, up from around 265 when we first took delivery.

Quantifying the difference running in has made is hard, because there’s no question that there are other factors at play too. Just through familiarity you get better at driving cars like this, reading the road conditions better, lifting off earlier, upping or lowering the brake regen level (done via two steering wheel mounted paddles) to suit the conditions.

Kia e-Niro without air-con on

There’s also the impact of the sun finally arriving: higher temperatures, up to a point, mean that the battery will hold a small but significant amount of extra charge. This time of year delivers the best-case scenario. That’s why car manufacturers tend to give electric car ranges with typical high and low averages - the latter being an indication of what happens when you run an electric car in sub-zero temperatures.

But for all that, I have few doubts that an extra 5% or so has come just from the car loosening up. It’s logical, of course, although the effects of running in combustion engined cars have become less noticeable in recent years, not least because we are no longer asked to keep the revs down and hang a sign in the back window to explain what we’re up to when we take a delivery of a new car.

Kia e-Niro range with air-con on

Another aspect of car ownership that has become evident in the heatwave, but which is also true of all cars, is just how much energy it takes to run air-conditioning. Driving home in the summer sun I got quite a shock and looked down to find 17 miles of indicated range (of 274) had disappeared in the space of 100 metres. Had I really driven that badly? Thinking back, I remembered hitting the AC button and it all became clear.

Is it a bad thing to be hyper-sensitive to such things? I don’t think so. It has impeded my use of the car in any way, instead making me more conscious of the choices I make.

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