The Kia Niro quickly rose to become the brand’s second UK bestseller…
Car Reviewed: All-New Kia KIA Niro 1.6 GDI HEV 4
Following its 2016 UK debut, it is also the third most popular in Europe, will the All-New Niro carry on the trend. While the fundamentals of the lineup haven’t changed, the choice of powertrains has. The 2, 3, and 4 Grades of trim have also seen significant improvements in features and refinement with each iteration.
In addition to being one of the first series to sell vehicles with hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure electric drivetrains, the series has also been a pioneer in the field of low carbon emissions.
Our self-charging mild hybrid Grade 4 test vehicle costs between £27,745 and £33,990, with the price difference between base and premium paint finishes.
All of them are equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission and a petrol and electric powertrain that together produce 139hp.
It has a longer wheelbase, and its length, width, and height are all increased over the previous version, making it more spacious inside.
Inside, both the Grade 4 and the soon-to-be-released Niro EV 3 feature a striking, very contemporary curved display for the instruments and infotainment, complementing the dynamic exterior design with flowing lines from the updated Kia “Tiger Face” to the distinctive C-pillar.
Our model featured the most up-to-date rotary shift-by-wire automatic transmission selection, compact enough to fit in the centre console and included inductive charging for a mobile phone. Moreover, multiple USB ports are installed throughout the vehicle for charging phones or connecting other devices, meeting the needs of children and teenagers.
The hybrid has the most luggage space, followed closely by the PHEV and the EV variants.
While the Niro Hybrid’s power is the lowest of the three, it still has a respectable range, and we were able to get close to 59mpg without even trying.
Beginning in ev mode and transitioning virtually silently to petrol power, the power train showed off its silky smooth operation throughout. Based on input from the onboard computer and the driver’s pedal, it would switch between the two or run them simultaneously.
Although it was not a fast car, it still proved sprightly and highly frugal, and the engine could be heard working away at higher revolutions while the motor was a distant buzz.
As a result of its three overdrive gear ratios, smooth and swift gearshifts could be made when travelling up or down the range, and the car was surprisingly quiet when cruising.
When pushed to its limits, the engine note became more intrusive, joining the many other sources of bump-thump and 18-inch tyre noise that were occasionally unable to protect the interior from bad bumps and potholes successfully.
I particularly liked the tight turning radius when parking, the precision and feedback from the steering and the lack of vagueness or vibration. The braking was solid yet progressive through the footbrake and the easy-to-use snap-on/off electric parking brake.
While there were plenty of secondary controls on the wheel spokes and column, the stalks for manual gear selection and retardation help were sometimes hidden under the paddles. A console with extra controls for the heating and air conditioning system is just below the curving multi-screen.
The left side of the sweeping curved screen was dedicated to the infotainment system, complete with touchscreen capability and a long list of functions spread across two pages; the right side was essentially another pod for the most crucial information, including speed, RPMs, charge status, and range, and its display and colours adapted to the driver’s selection of eco or sport modes. Many aspects of the screens are customisable for the driver.
The large, legible numbers and clear markings made them easily recognisable in any lighting.
Our edition of the Kia Niro comes standard with a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled seats, and even heated outer rear seats, all of which contribute to making parking and lengthy trips less of a hassle and more pleasurable experiences, respectively.
There was plenty of storage space for the necessities of family life, including door pockets, a huge glovebox, console trays and bins, and even rear door pockets and seat back pockets. There was merely a net covering the boot, and there was no parcel shelf, but the boot itself was large, wide, and deep, with storage cubbies on either side and a hidden space beneath the floor for the things you really need.
The vehicle’s wide doors, hydraulic tailgate, and retractable seats made it simple to increase cargo capacity incrementally by a factor of three.
However, the Niro’s seating arrangement was a major letdown for me. While the larger Sportage seats are perfectly designed and comfy, we found the seats in our Niro to be significantly stiffer, with harsh bolsters and squabs that weren’t always effective in dampening the worst of the road bumps communicated through the suspension.
The large windows, effective wipers/wash system, bright lights, and all-encompassing sensors made for superb cornering visibility.
The Niro HEV’s handling was excellent, predictable, surefooted, and typically vice-free, largely thanks to the firm ride that reduced wallowing and pitching.
The Kia Niro, like everything else, is getting more expensive, but it also offers a lot more. A seven-year guarantee gives buyers peace of mind and increases its resale value. The All-New Kia Niro is an efficient, practical vehicle for modern families.
Reasons To Buy: Excellent economy, smooth powertrain, well-appointed and refined Interior, visibility, Seven-year transferable warranty
Against: Seats are hard, the ride is firm, intrusive engine noise, modest performance
Robin contributes to a number of outlets in Wales and the UK, including the Driving Force editorial syndication agency feeding the biggest regional news and feature publishers in Britain.
Robin was the longest serving chairman of The Western Group of Motoring Writers. He specialises in the Welsh automotive sector and motor related businesses with interests in Wales and publishes WheelsWithinWales.uk which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.
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