Kia has pledged to reduce the average CO2 emissions of its range by 25 per cent before 2020, which is no mean feat. With the introduction of the new Niro, which is the company’s first dedicated hybrid model and judging by my recent week with the Niro – it does seem like Kia have got it right first time.
Power and efficiency
The Niro is fitted with a new 1.6-litre direct-injection unit that develops 104 horsepower and 147 Nm of torque. I have to say it feels lively and more than happy to be revved hard on the motorway or rumble around on the urban towns where it really does come into its own to help you save fuel and make motoring in our busy streets just that little easier.
Of course, as it is a hybrid, the engine is paired with a 32-kW, 43-hp, electric motor that develops 170 Nm of torque and is powered by a 1.56-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. Together, the two power units produce 139 hp, with 265Nm of torque—which is very pleasing for all those times you need to overtake in urgency or when you just want to get going as quickly as possible. The important part here though is the fuel return. I managed with very little effort 63.5 miles per gallon—now that really is staggering.
On the road
As I already said, the Niro is a hybrid, which means that most of the time the petrol and electric power units are working together. However, it can also operate in all-electric mode when you need it for short distances or when using it under gentle acceleration. Kia has also added a brake energy recovery system that will recoup energy that it stores in the batteries for use later. As a crossover, it does a great job of lugging everybody around and is very refined. I didn’t take it blasting into the corners because actually, I wanted to see how the hybrid systems functioned as a whole around town and urban highways rather than battle the sweeping corners and fast motorways.
Design and technology
Every version of the Niro has a lane assist system, hill-start assist control, cruise control and a speed Limiter. You also get additional equipment (First Edition model) such as an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system, a wireless mobile phone charger, an eight-speaker JBL Premium sound system with an external amplifier, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot detection with a rear cross traffic alert, smart cruise control and a whole host of features that makes the mind boggle. Kia does go all out in filling the Niro with an abundance of top-end specifications.
To sum up
The Niro is one of the first Hybrid’s that I have liked. No fuss—just a really good stylish crossover. Five stars from me.
Price: £26,995 (OTR)