Choices, choices. There’s not one smart new second-generation Kia Niro — but three. The line-up comprises a trio of: a petrol-electric hybrid; a pure electric Niro EV, and a useful plug-in hybrid (PHEV) which I’ve just been driving.
There are three model grades: 2, 3, and 4. The new version has also grown and is 65mm longer, 20mm wider and 10mm taller, with a 20mm longer wheelbase.
The Niro is Kia’s second-biggest UK seller, with 23,800 sold in 2021 of which more than half were pure electric and 10 per cent plug-in hybrid.
Worth a plug: Kia’s new Niro PHEV combines pace and economy
The three Kia Niro options available
– The PHEV model combines a 1.6-litre GDi petrol engine with a 62kW (83bhp) electric motor to give a total output of 180bhp. It does rest to 62 mph in 9.6seconds up to a top speed of 104mph, with CO2 emissions as low as 18g/km and average fuel efficiency of 285.5mpg to 351mpg provided you charge it. The electric-only driving range is up to 40 miles and the car is priced between £33,525 and £39,025 for the top-end ‘4’ version which I drove.
– The self-charging Niro Hybrid has a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 32kW (43bhp) electric motor to create 139bhp of power which propels it from rest to 62mph in 10.4 seconds up to a top speed of 102mph, with CO2 emissions of 100g/km, and up to 64.2mpg. It costs between £27,745 and £33,245. Both hybrids have a six-speed automatic gearbox.
– Costing between £36,245 and £41,745, the zero-emissions Niro EV is powered by a 201bhp electric motor and a long-range 64.8kWh battery pack, allowing it to accelerate from rest to 62mph in 7.8seconds up to a top speed of 104 mph and with a claimed range of 285 miles. It can be recharged to 80 per cent in 43 minutes using a DC rapid charger, or 45 minutes with a 100kW rapid charger.
Overall, more than 70,000 Niros have been sold in the UK in the six years since the range was first launched in 2016.
During 2021 and the first half of 2022, the all-electric Niro was the second best-selling pure electric vehicle in the UK.
In a choice of eight colours, the Niro PHEV plug in hybrid is a smart and refined family runaround. And my top of the range ‘4’ was a premium and spacious package. Mine came with all the bells and whistles including head-up display, a sunroof and a host of safety and driver aid features.
It won’t set the world alight for pace, but it does the job and looks the business.
In Sport mode the hybrid set-up offers comfortable cruising. And putting it into ‘Eco’ spent a lot of time running around town smoothly and satisfyingly in zero-emissions ‘electric’ mode. The hybrid’s petrol engine can sound a little raspy if you push too hard, but that soon settles down.
The steering wheel paddles double up – as manual gears in Sport mode, and to finesse the braking regeneration in Eco mode.
Other clever tech includes a so-called intelligent ‘Green Zone’ driving mode.
This automatically switches to electric power, based on location guidance from the navigation system, patterns of driving , or manual selection by the driver.
Kia explains: ‘Using the touchscreen, drivers can designate built-up areas, roads close to schools and hospitals, or beauty spots as Green Zones, and the vehicle then automatically switches to electric only driving to reduce exhaust emissions to zero in those environments.’
The new version has also grown and is 65mm longer, 20mm wider and 10mm taller, with a 20mm longer wheelbase
It won’t set the world alight for pace, but it does the job and looks the business
During 2021 and the first half of 2022, the all-electric Niro was the second best-selling pure electric vehicle in the UK
The Niro is Kia’s second-biggest UK seller, with 23,800 sold in 2021 of which more than half were pure electric and 10 per cent plug-in hybrid
Overall, more than 70,000 Niros have been sold in the UK in the six years since the range was first launched in 2016
The PHEV model combines a 1.6-litre GDi petrol engine with a 62kW (83bhp) electric motor to give a total output of 180bhp
Other clever tech includes a so-called intelligent ‘Green Zone’ driving mode
The electric-only driving range is up to 40 miles and the car is priced between £33,525 and £39,025
Batteries lie flat and under the floor of the EV, but take up space under rear seat on hybrid models, and beneath the boot floor on the plug-in hybrid
Providing of course there’s still enough battery charge.
Batteries lie flat and under the floor of the EV, but take up space under rear seat on hybrid models, and beneath the boot floor on the plug-in hybrid. So although carrying capacity has increased on all models – it has 475 litres of luggage space (with seats up) on the Niro EV – that drops to 451 litres for the hybrid and 348 litres for the plug-in hybrid.
Overall, Kia sold more than 90,000 cars last year – with a market share of 5.5 per cent, making Kia the eighth best-selling car manufacturer in the UK. Hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles accounted for nearly a third (32 per cent) of UK sales. Globally, Kia plans to introduce 14 pure electric models by 2027.
Kia UK CEO and president Paul Philpott said: ‘The latest Niro has something for everyone. The Niro Hybrid caters for those that don’t have charging facilities at home, while the plug-in hybrid and EV allow owners to travel significant distances on electric power alone.’
The original Niro was launched with a little help from its namesake, Hollywood actor Robert De Niro. I wonder if he’s waiting for this one? (Talking Italian).
Will it fit in my garage? New Kia Niro 1.6 GDi PHEV ‘4’ (plug-in Hybrid)
On sale: Now
Price of model as driven: £39.025 OTR
Price of Niro PHEV range: from £33,525
Price of Niro Range: from £27,745
Gross weight: 2,060kg
0 to 62mph: 9.8 seconds (9.6 seconds for Niro PHEV ‘2’)
Top speed: 100mph (104mph for Niro PHEV ‘2’)
Top speed (EV only): 83mph
Engine: 1.6-litre GDi petrol engine
Electric motor: 62kW (83bhp)
Total power: 180bhp
Transmission: six-speed dual clutch automatic
Wheels: 18 inch
CO2 emissions: 22g/km (18g/km with the ‘2’)
MPG: 285.5mpg (up to 351mpg,
Electric-only range: 38 miles (up to 40 miles with ‘2’)
Fuel tank capacity: 37 litres
Rear seats upright: 348 litres
Rear seats folded: 1,342 litres
AC wall-charger: 2 hours 55 minutes
One-touch tilt and slide sunroof
Privacy glass on rear windows and tailgate
Seven-year Kia warranty
10.25 inch touchscreen display with navigation
Safety features including
Smart cruise control with stop-go
Blind-spot collision avoidance
Electronic Stability Control
Remote parking assist
Visit the Haynes museum
You’ve probably read or used one of its legendary car manuals — now visit the museum.
If you’re looking for things to entertain the family over the holidays, the Haynes Motor Museum, near Yeovil, Somerset, is ideal for a day out or a stop-off point.
Family fun: The museum was the brainchild of the late John Haynes OBE
Opened in 1985, the museum was the brainchild of the late John Haynes OBE, mastermind behind the eponymous motor manuals.
Its vast collection of historic, rare and valuable vehicles and bikes spans everything from the birth of motoring and nostalgic classics of the 1950s and 1960s, to glorious Bentleys and Rolls-Royces.
One highlight is a rare 1931 Duesenberg Model J worth more than £12 million. On selected days there’ll be parades in its outdoor display area and kids get to ride around in a fleet of tiny cars.
AA’s warning to motorists as temperatures soar
Last summer, its patrols rescued an average of two children and two pets a day after they’d been locked in.
The AA’s Sean Sidley, said: ‘In hot weather, people often run their cars to cool the interior before setting off. This often results in a call to the AA to retrieve the keys from the vehicle after it has locked itself.’
Keep cool and carry on: Hot weather can ‘cook’ your engine, causing cooling fan motors to seize
It also advises keeping plenty of drinking water in the vehicle — at least a litre per person. Make sure you’ve got sufficient fuel, or enough charge to keep the air conditioning on when driving an electric vehicle.
Tune in to traffic reports, plan stops and use window blinds to shield children and other passengers. Hot weather can also ‘cook’ your engine, causing cooling fan motors to seize — so have your car regularly serviced.
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