Niro EV standing under the cherry blossoms in full bloom Niro EV standing under the cherry blossoms in full bloom

2024.04.30 Kia 분량9min

Enjoying the Splendid Spring in Seoul with the Niro EV

Spring has settled even in the bustling city center of Seoul. The gentle spring breeze and the blossoming flowers have transformed the atmosphere of Seoul. In the midst of this vivid spring, Kia's Niro EV greeted the season that had arrived in Seoul.

Niro EV standing behind the cherry blossoms in full bloom

Finally, the long-awaited spring has come. Last winter was particularly noisy, so I feel only glad to see the greeting of spring. As the spirit of spring came around, many things began to change. The spring breeze wrapped around us warmly, and people's clothes became lighter. The flowers, which endured the cold winter and began to open petals one by one, made our hearts flutter.

NIRO EV running on the cherry blossom road

Unfortunately, the time to fully enjoy the vigor of spring is quite short. The duration of spring seems to be getting shorter with each passing year. If you hesitate even for a moment, you might have to wait until the next spring to enjoy it fully. Eager to experience the peak of spring as soon as possible, I hit the road. I chose the Kia Niro EV as my partner to enjoy the spring. The Niro EV, Kia’s flagship electric model, has become even more appealing with its evolution into the second generation. It boasts a substantial range on a single charge, exceptional safety and convenience, spacious interiors, and a unique design.

This time, I enjoyed the spring in Seoul with the Niro EV. Like other regions, the Seoul city center is filled with places to enjoy spring flowers. The Seoul Metropolitan Government operates a website called 'Seoul in Spring Blossoms', which provides detailed guidance on Seoul's spring flower paths. The recommended spots include a whopping 173 locations encompassing parks, tree-lined streets, and riversides, informing about the type of places, species of flowers, and their expected blooming periods.

Back of Niro EV Charging In Kia Gangseo Flagship Store And Chargers

Before embarking on a spring flower tour with the Niro EV, I stopped by the Kia Gangseo Flagship Store to charge the battery. Using a 100kW fast charger, the Niro EV can be charged from 10% to 80% in about 45 minutes. It’s a good time to explore the Kia Flagship Store or relax in the relaxation comfort seats. After charging, the dashboard indicated that I could travel well over 300 km, ample to roam around Seoul and more.

The side of Niro EV standing with bright flowers in the background

After charging, I started my official spring flower tour of Seoul. The first destination was Haneul Park in Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. Haneul Park is a bit different from regular parks. In the past, it was a landfill site for urban waste. In 2002, to commemorate the World Cup, Seoul City transformed the Nanjido landfill into a park.

Haneul Park, spanning an impressive 58,000 pyeong, is one of the five major parks around the World Cup Stadium, including Peace Park, Nanji Stream Park, Nanji Han River Park, and Noeul Park. Haneul Park is filled with flowers that symbolize spring. From cherry blossoms to forsythias, royal azaleas, and rhododendrons, they all convey the essence of spring. Additionally, reaching the summit offers a panoramic view of Bukhansan, Namsan, the Han River, and Haengju Fortress.

Upon arriving at Haneul Park, I enjoyed a light stroll along the fully bloomed paths. The densely bloomed cherry blossoms glowed subtly under the sunlight. The harmony of yellow forsythias, white wild pear flowers, and the fresh green of young leaves felt like viewing a beautiful painting; It was very much meditating.

The wheel and front of the Niro EV with cherry blossoms in the background

Among the vibrant flowers, the Niro EV suited just fine. Its sleek details and unique design blended well with nature. The colorful flowers, in shades of yellow, white, and pink, used the Niro EV’s Snow White Pearl exterior as a canvas to paint a beautiful landscape. The sharply flowing lines and the hexagonal three-dimensional pattern grille also merged naturally with the flowers. In particular, the EV-specific 17-inch machined wheels resembled the fully bloomed cherry blossoms.

The rear of the Niro EV standing with forsythia in the background

The rear was no different. The thin vertical taillights conveyed a beauty similar to the graceful curves of flower branches. Moreover, the simple and modern bumper design merged into the bloomed flowers, creating an emotional atmosphere. It resonated strangely well with the forsythia, known for the flower meanings of 'hope, waiting, and affection'.

Cherry blossoms flying over the Niro EV

After enjoying the spring essence at Haneul Park, I set the navigation for the next destination before heading out. The second place to enjoy the spring flowers was located in Dorimcheon Station in Guro-gu, Seoul. The area along the Dorimcheon embankment was a spectacle with blossoming cherry trees and various other flowering trees. Especially in front of Dorimcheon Station, a one-way street flanked by cherry trees formed a famous flower tunnel. Leaving Haneul Park behind, I weaved through the dense traffic and drove across the refreshing Han River. Opening the car window, the crisp spring breeze filled the interior of the Niro EV.

Paddle shift to set the regenerative braking stage

Yet, upon crossing the river, urban congestion slowed our pace. Despite this, it wasn’t uncomfortable. Spring-themed music played, and by activating the Intelligent Pedal (i-PEDAL) mode via the paddle shift on the steering wheel, we enjoyed a seamless driving experience where acceleration, deceleration, and stopping were effortlessly controlled by the accelerator pedal alone, reducing fatigue. When not using the i-pedal mode, the Smart Regenerative Braking System 2.0 diligently adjusted the amount of regenerative braking based on the flow of traffic ahead, navigation data, and the driver's deceleration pattern.

The front of the Niro EV running in front of Dorimcheon Station where the cherry blossom tunnel was created and the road in full bloom

After a while, our navigation announced our arrival at the destination, revealing a scene that was almost unbelievable. The road was flanked by cherry trees forming a natural tunnel overhead. It was a short but intensely memorable tunnel, feeling like an entrance into a new world, a moment that made us appreciate the grandeur of nature once again.

Following this delightful experience, we parked nearby and walked along the Dorimcheon embankment. Walking along the riverbank adorned with cherry blossoms was another way to fully embrace the spirit of spring. The blooming flowers signaling the start of spring and the leisurely flowing stream provided a healing time, wrapping my weary mind and body warmly.

Niro EV's interior view, instrument cluster and shift dial

Encouraged by the spring energy, I decided to venture into the heart of Seoul. Fueled by the season's vigor, the severe urban congestion was no longer daunting. Throughout the journey, the Niro EV assisted my drive with meticulous care. The air purification system operated continuously to enhance the interior air quality, and it automatically closed all windows before entering tunnels.

The car kept working; The 10.25-inch dashboard displayed various essential driving information, and numerous EV-specific features enhanced convenience. Additionally, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist helped maintain the speed limit, Lane Keeping Assist helped keep the vehicle centered in the lane, and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist detected vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and oncoming traffic from the side at intersections, helping to prevent collisions. These advanced driver assistance systems were particularly useful in the city, contributing to a comfortable drive.

Niro EV standing in front of the Jeongdok Library and the scenery of the Jeongdok Library in full bloom with cherry blossoms

Powered by the Niro EV’s thoughtfulness, as we approached the center of Seoul, traditional Korean palaces appeared outside the car window. Shortly after, we arrived at our third destination, Jeongdok Library. Located in Jongno-gu, Seoul, Jeongdok Library is a public library operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education and has been open since January 1977. It remains a popular spot for many students in the neighborhood.

Jeongdok Library is renowned as a 'cherry blossom sanctuary', especially during the spring when the cherry blossoms envelop the entire library. When I visited with the Niro EV, the place was bustling with people who had come to see the fully bloomed flowers. Friends sitting on picnic mats watching falling petals and smiling joyfully, and couples busy taking photos against the backdrop of cherry blossoms were all around. 

Niro EV's Indoor Running on Forsythia-Pinned Bukak Skyway

The Niro EV embraced the cherry blossoms of Jeongdok Library and proceeded to the next destination, the Bukak Skyway. Known for its delightful drives, the spring drive along Bukak Skyway is especially mesmerizing. The winding paths lined with blooming forsythias and cherry trees significantly enhance the joy of driving. Driving with the windows down, inhaling the fragrant spring air, is just one of the many ways to embrace the season’s spirit.

Front of Niro EV with forsythia pinned corner

Passing the tranquil paths of Samcheong-dong and the Samcheong Tunnel, a steep, curvy road came into view. The Niro EV displayed no signs of hesitation; it boldly continued its journey. Without switching driving modes, it quickly accelerated, harnessing its robust power. The Niro EV boasts a peak output of 150kW and a maximum torque of 255Nm, ensuring a lively drive characteristic of electric vehicles. Additionally, the low center of gravity, thanks to the battery placement at the base of the chassis, ensures stable driving quality.

Niro EV running on a road full of spring flowers

The Niro EV also alleviates any range anxiety. With a single charge, it can travel up to 401 kilometers. With an energy consumption of 5.3km/kWh (based on 17-inch tires), the efficiency was exceptional during this spring outing in Seoul, often exceeding 7km/kWh. This impressive efficiency is due to the 64.8kWh high-voltage battery, Smart Regenerative Braking System 2.0, a heat pump, and a battery heating system. The battery conditioning feature, a first for Kia, optimizes battery temperature to enhance charging performance when rapid charging is planned as the destination or when external temperatures are low.

All sides of Niro EV running on autumn leaves in full bloom

After a thrilling drive on the Bukak Skyway, the journey led to the last cherry blossom spot of the trip, the Autumn Maple Road in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, commonly known as Walk Hill Road. This quiet road, stretching from Achasan Ecological Park to the back of Walkerhill Hotel, is lined with mature cherry trees, providing a full experience of splendid spring.

The side and rear of Niro EV, which runs on autumn leaves in full bloom with cherry blossoms

The experience of driving under a canopy of cherry blossoms on this two-lane road was so enchanting that it was a memory I wished to keep forever. With the windows down, catching falling petals with my hands added to the enchantment of the drive. Personally, walking along the path was just as enjoyable as driving, feeling the spring breeze and the "cherry blossom rain" falling gently.

The rear of the Niro EV seen through the blooming cherry blossoms

This spring flower tour in Seoul with the Niro EV was extraordinary. It refreshed my withered spirits like a gentle rain, and the fact that the Niro EV, a pure electric vehicle, did not emit even a gram of exhaust gases made the experience feel even more in harmony with the beautiful spring scent. Protecting nature allowed for a deeper enjoyment of spring’s beauty. After this trip, waiting another year to experience spring again doesn’t seem so daunting. After all, spring provides the most beautiful fleeting moments of the year.

By Heo In-hak

Photography by Choi Dae-il, Kim Beom-seok