Motoring with Jim McCauley: KIA NIRO HEV
Kia launched its second generation Niro in July of this year following on from the success of the first generation model launched in 2016. The car is an important one for Kia, sitting behind the Sportage as the company’s second best seller in the UK. The latest model range is all electrified, with self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric options available.
Review model is the self-charging HEV, built on Kia’s third generation K-platform and is marginally longer, wider and higher than its predecessor. The car is more assertive in looks than its predecessor with the front end treatment stretching its visual width right out to the headlight units which sweep around to the edge of the front wings. Deep side panels add strength to the image while the rear roof spoiler extends to add to the tapering roof line.
Power source in this self-charging hybrid is the company’s four cylinder 104bhp 1.6 litre GDi petrol engine which when paired with its 32kW (43bhp) electric motor provides a total output of 139bhp. With maximum torque of 265Nm it returns a 0-62mph time of 10.4 seconds with a given maximum speed of 102mph.
On this range opening ‘2’ specification, starting is with a traditional manual key, and holding a charge the car moves off silently at first with the engine announcing its presence as it cuts in before settling to a more refined note. Power is delivered to the front wheels through a six speed twin clutch gearbox, which interestingly has no reverse gear. Low speed manoeuvring, including reversing is performed by the electric motor with Kia claiming a substantial weight saving in this application.
The car drives very competently with the firm suspension relatively unforgiving over poor surfaces, but it maintains good poise through corners. Sharp steering adds to its appeal with excellent forward lighting providing good night time visibility. A drive mode switch on the steering wheel offers the choice of normal or sport, balancing the options of marginal advantages in either economy or performance.
For the driver, there is a good range of manual seat and steering column adjustment with a neat digital instrument panel.
The clean lines of the dashboard are uninterrupted to include the 8-inch infotainment touchscreen as the dash tapers away towards the passenger side, fading into the door panels on both sides. Below the centre screen lies the multi-mode touch display for infotainment and climate control, removing clutter to maintain a clean and coherent look.
Standard driver assistance technologies include Forward Collision Avoidance with car, pedestrian and cyclist recognition, and Smart Cruise Control with stop and go functionality. Other standard equipment includes seven airbags, rear parking sensors and camera system, dual-zone climate control, electric windows all round and 60/40 split/folding rear seats, as well as silver skid plates front and rear, body coloured door mirrors, automatic LED headlights, a rear spoiler, roof rails and pre-wiring ready for fitment of a tow bar.
Passenger space is increased in this new model with excellent rear room for three adults and a useful boot area of 451 litres, extendable to 1,445 litres with the rear seats folded. A twin height boot floor permits level loading over the rear sill.
In terms of running costs, this hybrid version has a given fuel consumption of 64.2mpg and in a week’s driving I recorded 54.2 mpg. With a CO2 emission of 110g/km, it is liable for first year road tax of £160, falling to the standard £155. For business users, it has a BIK rating of 27%.
On purchase, Kia Promise is available and was introduced to give customers the best ownership experience by giving them access to seven key benefits. It is activated after purchase by registering on the online portal, MyKia. Along with the industry leading seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, other benefits include complimentary seven-day insurance and £250 Insurance Excess Return for one year; easy to use Click & Collect on Genuine Kia accessories; convenient online service booking; Family-Like Care and Accident After Care.
Every new Kia also comes with complimentary Roadside Assistance for 12 months. In addition, when a customer registers on MyKia, Kia Roadside Assistance Plus, the highest level of cover provided by the RAC, can be unlocked, which includes onward travel and European cover. The hybrid model reviewed is listed at £25,715 with premium paint finishes bringing the cost up to £26,310.