What is it?
Kia Niro is Kia’s first-in-segment crossover that’s built on a hybrid platform. So, the Niro could be one of the greenest crossovers and should offer something genuinely different for business buyers!
- We’re fans of this hybrid drivetrain, having tried it recently in the sister car the Hyundai Ioniq. Read our Ioniq HEV review. Although this is a very different car. The hybrid drivetrain combines a modified version of the familiar 104bhp 1.6 litre GDi petrol, which is mated to a 32kW battery and that’s mounted under the Niro’s back seat – so as to not interfere with this Crossover’s practicality.
- This set up is also lightweight, but takes the power and torque to 139bhp and 264Nm respectively. The Niro starts in EV mode, but quickly and smoothly the petrol engine soon cuts in. The Niro then seems to switch seamlessly and smoothly between petrol and electric power, which is probably because of the proper six-speed auto transmission.
- Of more interest to business buyers are the headline CO2 and consumption figures for the Niro (88g/km and 74.3mpg). This should mean a 15% tax band.
- We’d describe the Niro as Kia’s most polished effort to drive yet, although we probably wouldn’t go as far as to say it was an exciting drive. Considering the tall crossover body, we were impressed at how little body roll there was from this Kia in corners – probably helped in part by the independent rear suspension. At its best on the smallest 16-inch wheels, but the ride is still reasonably impressive on bigger rubber.
- The Niro might not look as futuristic as sister car the Hyundai Ioniq, but the Niro is still a neat-looking crossover. At the front, there’s a sculpted, sharp modern face with the prominent family tiger-nosed grille in the centre. One of the most interesting Niro design features is the chrome signature fins on the front airdam. At the side, the Niro’s tall roof line is well hidden by the curly windowline. Other Niro side design features include the distinctive lower cut-out and chunky wheel arches. You’ll spot the Niro from the back by the high-set rear lights, tall boot line and the same chrome signature fins at the back.
- Inside, the Niro impresses with its grown-up design and quality detailing. Even the touch-screen feels better than expected. This Kia’s hatch feels spacious too, with the tall body equalling 950mm rear legroom and there’s plenty of headroom for a couple of six-footers to get comfortable too, plus a practical 427-litre boot.
- It might be “just a Kia hybrid”, but the list of clever safety kit is impressive, this includes Autonomous Emergency Braking, Smart Cruise Control and a Lane Departure Warning System.
- UK specification levels haven’t been revealed yet, but we expect all will be comprehensively equipped.
- The industry-leading seven-year unlimited warranty gives confidence.
- We’re not fans of the white interior plastics fitted to some of the cars that we drove – in our opinion they look out of place with the rest of the Niro’s restrained interior.
- The Niro might be easy to drive and refined, but it isn’t much fun. The biggest problem is the steering which is overlight. The sport mode quickens up the acceleration, but refinement drops a bit.
Verdict on the Kia Niro
The Niro is a good drive, has spacious crossover styling and feels well made. Seeing that it covers two growing sales area – the crossover and hybrid markets – we expect the Niro to make its mark against straight hybrid rivals such as the Toyota Prius.
The lowdown on: Kia Niro
|Doors and bodystyle:||5-door crossover|
|Engine/gearbox||1.6-litre 4cyl petrol and 32kW electric motor/6-speed automatic transmission|