Kia Niro 1.6 Plug-in

Hybrid 3

Kia Niro PHEV, 2022, front, action
Kia Niro PHEV, 2022, rear, action
Kia Niro PHEV, 2022, front, static
Kia Niro PHEV, 2022, rear, static
Kia Niro PHEV, 2022, interior
Kia Niro PHEV, 2022, controls
Kia Niro PHEV, 2022, charging port
Kia Niro PHEV, 2022, engine
Kia Niro PHEV, 2022, boot

JUST how electrifying do you want your next motor to be?

Well, if you're going for a Kia Niro you can choose between a self-charger, a plug-in hybrid or a full cream electric only version.

We decided on a middle path and opted for the plug-in model. Pitched against the Peugeot 2008, Nissan Juke, Puma and several other notable crossovers, the second generation Niro faces some stiff competition.

Before we get on to the detail, a word of warning - don't take too much notice of the claimed combined consumption of 313.9 mpg. Unless you've got a serious tail wind and you're heading downhill, there's not a chance of realising such a dizzy figure.

Nevertheless, the high 50s or even 60s isn't to be sniffed at as real world economy.

The freshened and smartened Niro gets a similar 1.6-litre petrol engine coupled to a 63bhp electric motor which knocks out a punchy 180bhp. With a full charge it's capable of running about 40 miles on electric only.

Acceleration is nimble rather swift, reaching 62mph in below 10 seconds. As with most electric models, take-off is smooth and immediate the moment you dab the throttle. Top speed is a relatively modest 100mph, probably academic to most owners.

A six-speed dual clutch automatic box looks after the gear changing and nicely matches the electro-petrol power. By switching into Sport mode, the steering wheel paddles become gear changers rather than a method to allow braking regeneration.

Sport mode also makes the steering system a tad weightier and cajoles the petrol engine into earlier action.

The front-drive Niro is safe and predictable around the curves without being particularly involving for the driver. Cornering roll is slight and the ride is good over smooth surfaces but a tad choppy when travelling on rippled or undulating roads.

Around town, you tend to potter in electric only power. There's an eerie silence about the Kia and a smoothness that's sent in conventional ICE saloons.

Although the cabin is spacious enough, luggage space is reduced to make room for the battery. So the 348 litre boot is almost a third less spacious than the normal hybrid version. Also the door pockets and storage bins for absorbing the usual family clutter are on the skinny side.

The ‘3' version, driven here, gets all the bells and whistles such as front and rear skid plates, roof spoiler, LED headlights, heated front seats and electric folding door mirrors.

This model is treated to a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen, faux leather seating, sat nav and front and rear parking sensors.

Topping up the 11.1kWh battery takes 2hrs 55mins using a 3.3kW wall box and CO2 emissions are pegged at 22g/km, which will hold strong appeal to company car drivers who must pay BiK tax.

FAST FACTS

Kia Niro 1.6 Plug-in Hybrid 3

Price: £33,245

Mechanical: 1,580cc,4cyl, 180bhp petrol-electric plug in hybrid engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 104mph

0-62mph: 9.6 sec

Combined MPG: 313.9

Insurance Group: 23

C02 emissions: 23g/km

Bik rating: 12%

Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles

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