One of the stars of the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, the Kia Niro is the first hybrid car to be sold by the Korean manufacturer in the UK.
A hugely accomplished crossover SUV, the Niro has been built on an entirely new, purpose-built platform that will act as the base on which future hybrids are created, rather than being a modified version of an existing model with the addition of hybrid technology.
The result is a car that delivers not only on fuel efficiency and low environmental impact but also on looks, performance, and the latest driver-convenience technology.
The Niro is powered by a 1.6 litre, 105PS petrol engine, working in conjunction with a 32kW electric motor that raises the combined power output to 141PS. The total maximum torque of 264Nm between 1000-2400rpm, as well as a finely-calibrated six-speed automatic transmission, enables 0-62mph acceleration in just 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 100mph – impressive figures for such a large car, and more than enough to allow drivers to keep up with traffic on the motorway.
The primary focus of most buyers, however, will be the vastly reduced running costs of the Niro compared to conventionally-powered models in the same class. Front-wheel drive editions can achieve a combined fuel consumption of 73.6mpg and impressive CO2 emissions of 89g/km – far below the threshold for Vehicle Excise Duty. Moreover, the drivetrain was developed to enable up to three miles of travel at speeds of up to 70mph on electric power alone.
Thanks to the location of the battery pack, which are under the seats, the Kia Niro provides 427-litres of luggage space with rear seats and an impressive 1,425-litres when the rear seats are folded. These figures reduce by 54 litres on the Niro '2' grade up due to the luggage tray.
Evaluating both camera and radar data, the Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) can detect a potential collision with a vehicle, pedestrian or obstacle. It warns you and can even apply maximum braking power to stop the vehicle or minimise damage. Available as a standard feature on the 'First Edition'.
Behind the grille, a radar sensor measures the distance to the vehicle ahead and automatically maintains a safe distance by controlling speed, up to the speed set by the driver - even if the driver doesn't accelerate or brake. This feature is available as a standard feature on the 'First Edition'.
At 4355mm long and 1800mm wide, and with a wheelbase of 2700mm, the Niro is an imposing presence on the road. At the same time, its sleek bodywork has a drag coefficient of just 0.29; along with the judicious use of aluminium and other lightweight materials, this supplements the excellent efficiency of the hybrid engine. The modern, attractive profile of the Niro also has considerable visual appeal. Kia’s characteristic “tiger nose” textured grille and the sharp-angled headlights give the fascia a strong yet sophisticated look, whilst a square spoiler, skid plates and cladding round the wheel arches does the same at the flanks and rear.
Generous proportions give occupants a large amount of headroom, legroom and shoulder room, whilst a raised seating position ensures excellent visibility. Insulation around the A- and B-pillars, along with acoustic windshield glass, also result in a minimal amount of wind, road and engine noise – all of which makes long journeys that much less gruelling. Dual-zone climate control comes as standard, also helping to keep passengers refreshed. Due to the electric battery’s clever positioning under the rear seats, the 421 litres of storage space is adequate for your everyday needs.