Motoring: New KIA NIRO PHEV offers New Possibilities

The all-new Niro embodies Kia's commitment to building a more sustainable future. By Declan Glynn

by Gazette Reporter
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As an integral part of Kia’s growing eco-friendly line up, the new model will appeal to the complex needs of sustainability-conscious consumers.

The second-generation Niro offers a range of choice courtesy of two powertrains at present: an EV (e-Niro) for motorists fully committed to zero emission driving, and a PHEV for drivers looking for a combination of petrol and electric power. I will be reviewing the e-Niro soon, but the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is the focus of this review.

Completely Redesigned.

Completely redesigned from the ground up, the all-new Niro takes inspiration from nature in its design, colour options, material, and finish to strike a perfect balance between an environmentally responsible approach and a future-oriented outlook. The strong influence of the 2019 Habaniro concept is evident in the Niro’s exterior design with its stylish and bold crossover looks, and high-tech two tone body (optional). A wide pillar at the rear enhances air flow to improve aerodynamics and blends into the taillights in a seamless fashion. Kia’s signature ‘tiger face’ has been transformed for the all-new Niro and now extends from the bonnet, right through to the edge of the front wings. The contemporary front design is finished with striking ‘heartbeat’ LED daytime running lights which create a striking look on the road. The Niro’s unique vertical taillight design highlights the cars’ aerodynamics, while the overall rear design blends simple surface treatments with dynamic sections to emphasise modernity and visual appeal.

EV6-inspired Cabin.

The spacious and well-appointed cabin of the new Niro features an off-centre dash that curves around the front occupants with horizontal and diagonal lines opposing each other to create a calming, yet irregular aesthetic, and is similar to that in the excellent EV6. The stylish centre console is easy to navigate through and it features a user-friendly electronic rotary-style shift lever, with the parking brake (P) button conveniently located within the rotary dial itself. The level of brake regeneration is activated and controlled via paddle switches behind the steering wheel, and the higher the level of regenerative braking applied, the greater the amount of energy that is returned to the battery. This will then result in an extended electric-only driving range, allowing for longer periods of zero emission travel. Cabin space is one of the key differences over the previous generation Niro. The new Niro is 65mm longer, 20mm wider and 40mm taller than before, and the rear-seat passengers really feel the benefit, because there is lots of room for taller occupants. Boot space measures in at 358-litres behind the rear seats, with 1,342-litres available when the rear seat backs are folded down. The slim, contemporary seats enhance roominess, comfort and style by applying a high-tech lightweight seat mechanism. The headrests’ back cover incorporates a convenient coat hanger, while the slim dimensions of the headrest helps to increase the feeling of space. The new Niro showcases new recycled materials inside the cabin in order to minimise the impact on the environment and reduce waste.

Petrol & Electric Power.

The new Niro PHEV is powered by Kia’s Smartstream 1.6-litre GDI petrol engine which is mated to a 62kW e-motor that takes its power from a 11.1kWh Lithium-ion polymer battery. The battery can be fully charged from empty in under 3 hours via a wallbox charger, and it provides the car with an electric-only driving range of up to 62kms in city driving (Equivalent All-Electric Range). Trim levels consist of ‘K3’ and ‘K4’ variants, with an impressive array of safety, infotainment, connectivity, comfort and convenience features coming as standard across both variants. 

Review Car, Pricing & Warranty.

My Niro PHEV ‘K4’ review car looked delightful in its Interstellar Grey metallic paintwork and stylish 18” alloy wheels. With a combined power output of 183PS (180bhp) and 265Nm of torque, the Niro PHEV can complete a 0-100km/h sprint in just 9.8-seconds. Ride comfort in the new Niro has taken a massive step forward compared with the previous model, while the handling remains composed and predictable. The striking exterior design of the all-new Kia Niro and the EV6-inspired cabin, complete with neatly integrated twin screens ahead of the driver, lifts its appeal massively, and it transforms the car into one of the most desirable compact SUV’s on the market. Pricing for the new Kia Niro PHEV starts at €38,500 (ex-delivery), and is supplied with a comprehensive 7-year/150,000km warranty, along with a free 3-year motoring assistance service from Kia Assist. 

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