Kia Niro 1.6 GDi HEV

Kia Niro 1.6 GDi ‘4’ Hybrid, side
Kia Niro 1.6 GDi ‘4’ Hybrid
Kia Niro 1.6 GDi ‘4’ Hybrid, rear
Kia Niro 1.6 GDi ‘4’ Hybrid, cabin
Kia Niro 1.6 GDi ‘4’ Hybrid, boot

AS Kia goes from strength to strength with sales on an upward trajectory, collecting gongs and plaudits along the way, the Korean maker is increasingly focusing on electrification.

Its rival to the hot-selling Ford Kuga and the popular Peugeot 3008 is the Niro, which is only available with petro-electric propulsion - self-charging, plug-in hybrid or pure electric.

Our choice for this review is the self-charge version which allows the reticent to dip a toe in the pool of electric power without wishing to fully engage with the latest tech.

Primary source of power is an established 1.6-litre four cylinder petrol engine allied to a six-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. Ease of driving is the formula that Kia has adopted for this family holdall, so don't expect fireworks from under the bonnet, but neither are you likely to be left behind the flow of traffic.

With acceleration to 62mph in around 11 seconds and an even spread or torque to call on, progress is effortless and fast enough for most families, the electric motor linked to a small battery pack adding some dash to the petrol engine as well as reducing its thirst for fuel. The automatic gearbox is a good match and suits the relaxed character of the Niro.

Cabin noise and mechanical clatter is kept to a minimum and the ride over most surfaces is reasonably controlled and comfortable. Only rutted are heavily pock-marked surfaces tend to provoke the occasional crash from the suspension. Steering is somewhat lifeless but a benefit of this is that few jolts are passed back to the helm.

Despite its high stance cornering roll is nicely controlled The general impression is of a well composed, assured family car with little aspiration towards sporting behaviour. Noise levels remain low unless revved hard..

The cabin is attractively styled with decent quality, heavy duty plastic mouldings and tactile materials in wide usage. As is usual, a generously sized touchscreen plays centre stage on the fascia, with a row of short-cut buttons beneath making it easier to navigate the controls and select what you wish on the move.

Switchgear feels robust and well made and most controls fall easily to hand.

There's ample passenger space within the compact body and enough room for luggage in the rear boot. The rear seats fold to expand the luggage area to detriment of passenger space. Plenty of standard goodies on board the ‘4' version including electric sliding panoramic sunroof, sat nav, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats and paddle shifts on the steering wheel.

Seats front and rear well-shaped and remain comfortable on long journeys.

FAST FACTS

Kia Niro 1.6 GDi HEV

Price: £29,855

Mechanical: 1,580cc, 139bhp, 4 cyl petrol/electric engine driving two wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 101mph

0-62mph: 11.1sec

Combined MPG: 53.3

Insurance Group: 14

C02 emissions: 120g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles

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