Earlier this month, we attended Kia’s Electric Experience Event at Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham, where they showcased three of their electric vehicles: The Sportage hybrid, the brand-new Niro EV and the EV6 GT – the sports version of the popular fully electric vehicle.
Kia went all out with the setting at the 15th century hall for the event, which really added an element of luxury with the old vs. the future. Kia is currently the leader in the fleet market when it comes to registrations, mainly due to the hybrid and electric options they currently offer, giving customers the benefits of cheaper BIK compared to other vehicles and manufacturers. Another big help is that Kia can provide the stock compared to other manufacturers.
The momentum to switch to electric is growing, which is why Kia has a robust skateboard platform for all it’s hybrid and fully electric battery vehicles with E-GMP. Implementing the E-GMP platform into all these vehicles helps Kia, who also own Hyundai and Genesis, create more cost-effective electric vehicles that are affordable to more and more people.
So what are our thoughts on the three vehicles Kia showcased for the day?
All three versions of the brand-new Niro were available to drive – the self-charging hybrid, plugin-hybrid and fully electric.
The Niro is a great mid-sized SUV and bridges the gap between the Sportage and smaller vehicles. As a plug-in hybrid it also opens the door to those who want the cost savings on fuel but have a smaller car allowance through their company. Kia have learnt a lot since the last Niro and have refined the interior quality and space even more.
The new styling is bold and a bit like marmite at the Agility Fleet offices, and this goes for Sportage styling as well. Inside there are plenty of soft-touch points with plenty of room in the back. Boot space will depend on which model you choose. The plug-in hybrid version loses around 100 litres thanks to the battery, leaving 348 litres. The hybrid reduces by 24 litres, leaving 427 litres. The fully battery electric version has the intended 451 litres of boot available.
As you’d expect from a modern car built from the ground up, it is comfortable to drive both at slow and high motorway speeds.
The Sportage is a nice big family car. Compared to the old Sportage the interior quality has massively been improved to a point that it rivals the German car brands.
The Sportage is available as either standard petrol or diesel along with hybrid and plug-in hybrid options. The plug-in hybrid will give you around 40 miles of electric range which should be enough for most commutes, and also means you’ll save some money at the fuel pumps.
The boot of the Sportage is massive at 591 litres, so there’s plenty of space for all the family cases for holiday.
One thing that we did like was the infotainment system, it’s really easy to use with a mix of touch and physical buttons and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. We feel the layout of the digital dash and the infotainment system would work well with the multi-display Apple CarPlay that was announced earlier this month – however, we aren’t sure if this would be an option via an update or not. We will find out more when it’s due for release in late 2023.
Kia EV6 GT
The GT version is a faster and sportier version of the popular EV6. The standard Kia EV6 is by no means slow with a 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds, but the GT will cut this down to 3.5 seconds.
The interior of the Kia EV6 GT is like the others in the Kia range with a long digital dash and infotainment stretching from the driver to the middle, and a mixture of touch and physical buttons for climate control etc. The rear of the EV6 is very similar to the Aston Martin DBX, which isn’t a bad thing.
Similarly to the Genesis GV60 that we’ve reviewed, it has a feature called vehicle-to-load system, which simply means it can power or charge items from its own charging port, which could be handy if you’re camping.
While driving we thought it was quiet and refined with minimal body roll. The seats were comfortable and made driving enjoyable instead of a chore – but this is the same for most EVs on the market.
Our thoughts overall
Kia really impressed us with the event and we loved the range they brought with them. They have an impressive range of alternative fuelled vehicles on the market to suit a number of different budgets and circumstances. It’s also really nice to know that they have minimal supply issues at the moment, which can’t be said for all manufacturers.
To discuss your fleet or vehicle requirements give a member of the team a call on 01527 571 605 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.