Kia Niro 1.6 GDI HEV

4

Kia Niro, 2022, front
Kia Niro, 2022, front, action
Kia Niro, 2022, side
Kia Niro, 2022, rear
Kia Niro, 2022, interior
Kia Niro, 2022, instrument panel
Kia Niro, 2022, display screen
Kia Niro, 2022, gear lever
Kia Niro, 2022, door window control panel
Kia Niro, 2022, engine
Kia Niro, 2022, rear seats
Kia Niro, 2022, boot

THE popular Kia Niro compact crossover arrived in the UK back in 2016 and is now available with hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full EV technology.

It is the Korean brand's second best seller in the UK and the second generation model arrived earlier this year.

The Niro looks good, is economical to run and offers lots of space, equipment and safety features. Not surprising then that it has rapidly become a family favourite throughout Europe.

Larger than the first generation model the new version also represents a step forward in terms of quality and refinement and is available in 2, 3 or 4 trim levels.

I recently sampled the HEV version in top grade 4 trim costing £33,745, which comes with a 139bhp petrol/electric powertrain and a six-speed automatic transmission.

The self-charging hybrid is longer, wider and taller than its predecessor and also has a slightly longer wheelbase which improves the interior space.

Nice lines and the distinctive Kia "Tiger" face helps it to stand out from the opposition and inside there is a modern curved digital display for the instruments and infotainment system which is also shared with the all-electric Niro EV.

This model features the latest rotary shift by wire automatic transmission selection which neatly fits into the centre console which also includes inductive charging for a mobile phone while several USB ports are fitted throughout to charge phones or connect other devices to satisfy family needs.

It may be the least powerful car in the range but the Hybrid is very economical and it is easy to return over 60mpg if you are careful - a real bonus in these expensive times.

The Niro starts in ev mode and moves away silently before shifting quietly and smoothly into petrol power as you pick up speed. It then alternates between both as conditions and the driver demands.

I was impressed by the slick gear changes and the Niro cruises quietly on country roads or at motorway speeds.

The steering is sharp and provides lots of feedback while the suspension deals well with everything but the worst of surfaces.

All the controls were easy to read and operate and buttons below the curved multi-screen took care of the heating and ventilation system.

Paddles allow for manual gear selection if you choose but most drivers will leave them alone unless they are bored. You can also select from eco or sport driving modes.

The neat touchscreen displays all the information you could want and changes colour when you change driving modes. It is easy to operate and read and is one of the best in this class.

The Niro comes with all the latest active safety and driving aids and you also get a heated wheel, heated and cooled seats and even heated seats in the back.

A slightly higher driving position means you have good all-round visibility and there are plenty storage areas inside the roomy cabin. The boot is substantial and can be increased by folding the 60:40 split rear seats if required. A powered tailgate allows for easy access.

The ride felt a little on the firm side at times but it also made for good handling and lots of grip.

I also enjoyed a brief drive in the EV version which was equally impressive with its ability to travel 285 miles on a single charge and up to 375 miles if just used in town.

It has a top speed of 103mph and is capable of reaching 62mph in just 7.8 seconds. It boasts the same level of generous standard equipment but is a bit more expensive with the 3 trim version I tried coming in at £40,395.

FAST FACTS

Kia Niro 1.6 GDI HEV 4

Price: £33,745

Mechanical: 139bhp 4cyl 1,580cc petrol/electric motor driving front wheels via 6sp auto transmission

Max Speed: 100 mph

0-62mph: 10.8 sec

Combined MPG: 58.8

Insurance Group: 21

C02 emissions: 106g/km

Bik rating: 26%

Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles

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