5 days to Geneva: Kia goes all out on 'e'
Three years and 100,000 units after its launch in Europe, Kia has asked its designers to powder the nose of the successful Niro, aligning it with the design of the e-Niro. At the same time, the hybrid options of the midsized crossover gain efficiency thanks to a revamped powertrain.
Next to conventional diesel and petrol engines, the powertrain palette includes a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a fully electric model. The hybrid Niro combines a 1.6 GDI petrol unit with a 1.56-kWh battery to keep its CO2 emissions just below the 100 g/km bar under WLTP conditions.
The plug-in hybrid model counts on 8.9-kWh worth of e-storage to push down its emissions to as low as 31 g/km. The enhanced battery promises an e-range of 49 km - equally measured according to the WLTP.
European e-Soul: thank you, e-Niro
The quirky not-sure-if-it's-a-crossover called Soul borrows the electric powertrain from the e-Niro and also offers two battery packages: the standard one holds 39.2 kWh for 277 km of range at best, the beefier one squeezes up to 452 km out of 64 kWh-worth of lithium polymer cells.
Like the e-Niro, the e-Soul comes with a CCS-type plug for high-speed charging. It can take 100 kW and thereby reduces the 20-80% charging time to 42 minutes. Most European DC fast charges work at 50 kW, mind you.
Drivers can choose from five regenerative braking levels (none, 1 to 3, or ‘single pedal’ mode), depending on the level of energy recuperation they desire from the brakes.
Both the revamped Niro and the Soul can be had with what Kia rather intriguingly calls UVO Connect, a " telematics system, connecting drivers to the world around to provide them with invaluable information during a drive". Diving into the details, it is basically about live traffic info, weather forecasts, points of interest, fuel prices and parking availability. Sounds familiar? Indeed, TomTom is behind the technology.
The matching UVO app allows you to remotely monitor and activate vehicle features and send route directions to the car before you leave. Nothing out of the ordinary, but a welcome update nonetheless.