Our Thoughts on the New Kia Niro
Without a doubt, the all new Kia Niro is among the most fashionable cars on the planet, and the majority of the motoring press agree.
The crossover combined with a hybrid makes this car unique. Crossovers are in vogue at the moment and although the crossover part of this model is a bit unconvincing with it's lack of aggression, there is no denying it accommodates a lot of space required by modern families.
A small naturally-aspirated petrol engine assists the hybrid function. Plus an electric system uses wasted deceleration energy and then re-uses it to assist the engine when you ask for full power from the car.
Kia has released that next year there will be a Kia Niro Hybrid with a larger battery and a very useful plug-in capability.
Driving the New Kia Niro
Nearly all hybrids produced are CVT’s, however, the Kia Niro will use a six-speed twin-clutch transmission, and this gives it the feel of a normal automatic to drive.
It must be said that most test drives have reported although automatic, it is a pretty sluggish one. This engine produces 104bhp, but the motor can act like a turbo and therefore increases output to a very acceptable 140bhp. Even with the increase to 140bhp, on most tests it has taken over 11sec to reach 62mph, and overtaking has proven very challenging unless there has been a nice straight road.
It is not possible to write that the chassis and steering make the car fun to drive, but it is possible to take corners at speed. All cars with 16-inch wheels ride quite well.
However, remarkably cars on 18’s don’t seem to handle any better, they also make the ride coarser and also make a lot more road noise.
This still makes this particular petrol hybrid powertrain a lot, much quieter in tows and cities than any comparable diesel engine cars.
The Cabin in the New Kia Niro
Room is a plenty front and back, though we must point out the boot is quite shallow. It is noticeable that you don’t sit as high as in other SUV’s, but it sits high up with a good all round vision.
The seats are acceptable, but we noted that the mid-spec cloth looks 100% better than the plastic looking top-spec leather.
As with all Hybrids, we have tested the instrument panel on the dash, it gets modern looking graphics to help the driver to achieve economic green driving. The dash and controls lack any real wow factor, but are easy to use and straightforward.
The quality of the cabin interior is average. In conclusion, you wouldn’t buy a Niro for its quality of its interior, but it also should not be a deal-breaker.
Running Costs and Reliability
In our opinion, it is better to try and stay away from the top trims, they get the 18-inch wheels.
The models with 16inch wheels have a double whammy in saving fuel and CO2. The Kia Niro with 16inch wheels gets a CO2 of 88g/km. Fuel economy on journeys is very similar to any of its diesel rivals, but around town this Hybrid is likely to be better.
Hybrids are in demand, crossovers are in demand, and increasingly, Kia's are in demand!
Our Choice from the Range:
Kia Niro 1.6 GDi Hybrid 2 5dr DCT
MPG Combined - 76mpg
0-62mph - 11.50s
BHP - 139bhp
CO2 - 86g/km