TEST DRIVE | Kia’s New Hybrid – The Kia Niro

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Small to midsize SUVs are the in-thing at the moment aren’t they, and everyone in the industry seems to know that the market will continue to get larger in the future. The other market that’s increasing in size is the hybrid market. You can see the appeal with cheaper tax and congestion charges.

So Kia have killed two birds with the one £21,000 stone by bringing us the all new Niro.

The Niro has a 1.6 petrol engine and a 32kw electric motor. Combined Kia say you should get just around 74mpg with 88g/km co2. Good numbers but in in the real world we all know they will be a bit lower. The Toyota Prius claims 86mpg but we don’t know anyone who has managed to average that.
It certainly was lower on our test drive, we took in a standard route of a bit of town, bit of A-road and a bit of dual carriageway and we averaged around 50mpg, which is still good to be fair to the Niro.

It’s a smooth thing to drive, the gearbox is a dual clutch automatic so it’s bang up to date, but you do have to poke the pedal a bit to get it going.
You can drive in full electric mode as you would expect, the lithium polymer batteries give you an electric only range of around 27 miles, then the engine will fire up again, all in on a full tank with some careful driving you should be good to go for around 600 miles.

 


The Looks

It’s quite a striking thing to behold, Kia have come a very long way in a short time with their cars, and this is bold and confidant. Driving a Kia nowadays isn’t something to be ashamed of so some bold styling is a good move.
The bonnet has some good lines and creases, I like the side intakes on the bumper too, but I’m not too sure on the chrome flashes down by the fog lights personally.

I do like the corporate grill on Kia’s, it’s a good signature to have for a brand and it makes the front of the car, as do the rather sporty looking headlights.
the side view is standard little SUV stuff, but the crease at the bottom looks like a little like a cross between an old BMW Z4 and the new Renault Clio. It does suit the car and gives it some individuality.

For the rear they have used the metal flashes at the bottom of the bumper to match the front, with some more creases and funky lights.

It’s actually quite a nice package and does stand out from the crowd in this competitive market sector.


Inside

Here it’s standard Kia, functional, pretty well screwed together but a tad bland.
Our test car’s interior was grey, grey and a bit more grey. But there are a few nice touches that make you feel good in there. We had gloss white bits on the doors and gloss white trims framing the dash.

We liked the seats, very comfy in the leather we had. We also really liked the digital dash and main screen, instead of a rev counter Kia gives you an ‘energy flow meter’, this works well letting you know all that’s going on.


Should You Buy One?

Well the range starts at £21,995 for the level 1 spec, this will give you a nice dab radio, cruise control and a few other toys. For £26,995 you can get the level 3 spec which includes heated leather seats, a wireless phone charger a posh radio. We wouldn’t bother personally and would be happy with the level 1 spec.

The main reason for getting a hybrid is company car tax and driving in London a lot really isn’t it. With it’s CO2 / BIK of 88g/km and 15% it will sell.
Should you get one with your own money? Personally we would rather have the Mitsubishi Outlander.

 

 

 

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