First Drive: Kia Niro

All-new Kia Niro Hybrid Crossover

All-new Kia Niro Hybrid Crossover

The new hybrid Niro makes a very interesting and economical addition to the Kia line-up, writes Geraldine Herbert

What is it? Kia’s latest model, Niro, aims to stay ahead of the curve as the Korean Car maker’s first hybrid and all-new compact crossover. Sharing the same underpinnings as the new Hyundai Ioniq, the Niro sits between the Sportage and the Cee’d hatchback in the Kia line-up. While Hyundai will sell conventional hybrid and all-electric versions of the Ioniq, the Niro will only be available as a hybrid although a plug-in version is likely..

First impressions of the new Kia Niro? Outside, the Niro has chunky styling and a high ride height that aids visibility while the body cladding gives it a tough crossover look. Despite the styling however, there’s no four-wheel drive option so think of the Niro as more of a high-riding family hatchback than an SUV.

What about the interior?  Inside the layout will be familiar to any Kia owner and it is well built with good quality materials used throughout. The dash is clean and all the controls are easy to access. There is a large 7″ or 8″ touchscreen infotainment system with optional navigation. Both systems support Bluetooth smartphone, audio connectivity and DAB digital radio. Aimed at family buyers, there is plenty of space both front and back and the location of the battery means the boot is a good size with over 427 litres of space. Fold the rear seats down and you get a very decent 1,425 litres.

There is generous space for five people plus 427 litres of luggage

There is generous space for five people plus 427 litres of luggage

Kia Niro on the road? On the road the Niro rides well and there is little body roll when you corner. Higher than a conventional car, but lower than many SUVs, it grips the road nicely. With a combined power output of 141hp and 264nm it moves briskly but it’s the refinement that is particularly impressive, once on the road, the two power systems work quietly and seamlessly in the background.

One of the biggest issues with many hybrids is the continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox, Kia has opted instead for a six-speed dual-clutch gear box which feels much better and smoother

 How much? Due here in October, prices for the Niro will start at £21,295.

How green? Using a similar system to the Toyota Prius, the Niro combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 32kW electric motor. With CO2 emissions as low as 88g/km and fuel economy of up to 74.3mpg, it rivals many frugal diesels as a credible alternative.

What about my options? Niro comes to the UK in a four-model line-up badged ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘First Edition’. All are comprehensively equipped with comfort, luxury, connectivity and driver assistance features. Every version has a Lane Keep Assist System, Hill-start Assist Control, Cruise Control and a Speed Limiter. Every Niro also has a DAB radio and is able to support Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and music streaming.

3 words to describe the Niro?  Smart; Frugal; Solid

Line-up
Model Total Total 0–60 sec Max Average C02
power torque speed mpg g/km
bhp Nm mph    
‘1’ 1.6 GDi 1.56kWh lithium-ion 139bhp 6DCT 139 265 11.1 101 74.3 88
‘2’ 1.6 GDi 1.56kWh lithium-ion 139bhp 6DCT 139 265 11.1 101 74.3 88
‘3’ 1.6 GDi 1.56kWh lithium-ion 139bhp 6DCT 139 265 11.1 101 64.2 101
‘First Edition’ 1.6 GDi 1.56kWh lithium-ion 139bhp 6DCT 139 265 11.1 101 64.2 101
           
 Pricing
Model Insurance Price
‘1’ 1.6 GDi 1.56kWh lithium-ion 139bhp 6DCT 12 £21,295
‘2’ 1.6 GDi 1.56kWh lithium-ion 139bhp 6DCT 12 £22,795
‘3’ 1.6 GDi 1.56kWh lithium-ion 139bhp 6DCT 14 £24,695
‘First Edition’ 1.6 GDi 1.56kWh lithium-ion 139bhp 6DCT 12 £26,995

 

For more information on the new Niro check out Kia Motors UK or the Kia Motors UK Facebook page.

 

Geraldine Herbert

26th July, 2016

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring journalist Geraldine Herbert is the founder of wheelsforwomen. A jury member for the International Women’s World Car of the Year, she has been a motoring journalist for over ten years and is the motoring expert for Good Housekeeping Magazine and their “Women at the Wheel” section of goodhousekeeing.co.uk. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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