The Kia Niro is the marque’s first ever dedicated hybrid car, and the first ever hybrid they’re introducing to the UK market. It promises to deliver “low-cost, high-efficiency motoring in a stylish crossover package”, but is there really anything to love about this car? Here are our 5 reasons to love the new Niro.
Its Mission: Reign Over the Prius
To begin with, Kia’s new hybrid crossover targets the esteemed Toyota Prius, armed with low fuel consumption emissions figures as a result of its hybrid engine. The Niro also brings its great handling into the battle, delivering an excellent driving experience, as well as protecting the occupants with safety features such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Detection. Although it’s a crossover SUV, it runs like a much smaller hatchback, delivering a fun driving experience thanks to its quick-shifting dual clutch gearbox.
The new Kia Niro looks as neat as the Sportage, featuring unique curves proportions that set it apart from other marques. The headlights are sharp and imposing in design, nicely complimenting what Kia call their ‘tiger-nose grille’. It comes standard with a decent set of 16” alloy wheels, however buyers of the First Edition are treated to 18″ wheels, as well as an 8″ touchscreen display. LED daytime running lights and rear tail lights further help the Niro turn heads as it drives by.
Black cloth upholstery is standard, with optional black leather or a special grey and white leather, exclusive to the First Edition model. The interior offers a high level of comfort, making the Niro appropriate for daily duties. In addition to that, the occupants have plenty of space, partially thanks to a flat floor in the rear, allowing good leg room, even for the middle passenger in the back. Even though it’s not exactly luxurious, the seats are nice and supportive for all occupants, meaning comfort is not an issue. The climate control switches are easy to operate and are close at hand, as well as the intuitive infotainment system.
The power train combines a 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 139 hp, assisted by an electric motor, with a quick 6-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission. The gearbox delivers quick and smooth shifts, allowing the Kia Niro a 0-60 mph time of 11.1 seconds and a maximum speed of 101 mph. While it won’t be beating any lap-records, the performance is enough for relaxed daily driving, with a confidence-inspiring set of disc brakes to boot.
Great Driving Experience
The Niro feels good to drive. The steering is direct and quick to respond to the inputs of the driver, making the car feel more like a smaller hatchback. The driving position is nice and elevated, giving the driver a good view of the road ahead. A low centre of gravity means the Niro is great in the curves, exceeding expectations for a car of its size and class. Last but not least, the fuel consumption is potentially as little as 74.3 mpg, thanks to its frugal hybrid power train.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to love the new Kia Niro, including the five mentioned above. While it won’t quite set the world on fire in terms of performance, the Niro will make a perfectly good daily driver, offering incredibly competitive comfort and economy in its price bracket. The new Niro is available now from £22,795.