New Kia Niro Hybrid 2019 evaluation
The Koreans, for no matter cause, don’t conform to the automotive business’s standardised four-year product cycles. So, simply three years after it launched, we discover ourselves sat within the driver’s seat of a refreshed Kia Niro.
Revealed on the Geneva Motor Present within the spring, the Hybrid and Plug-in fashions get all the standard mid-life updates – together with a contemporary face, tweaked bumpers, and new wheel designs. There’s some new trim inside, in addition to improved inside tech choices, too.
Whereas it’d be a stretch to recommend this automotive is immediately recognisable because the facelifted automotive, the styling is actually sharper than earlier than. The brand new LED daytime operating lights give the Niro a greater outlined signature, whereas the up to date rear mild clusters provide a refined enchancment on the outdated automotive’s plainer design. Its SUV physique continues to present it the sting over the polarising Toyota Prius, too.
It’s inside the place potential patrons will discover the largest variations, nevertheless. The entry-level ‘2’ mannequin will get a run-of-the-mill eight-inch show, however ‘3’ vehicles and above boast a slick new 10.25-inch touchscreen, which sits neatly in the midst of the sprint. With our automotive’s new seven-inch digital instrument cluster, it’s the sort of set-up you’d anticipate in a top-spec BMW, fairly than a sub-£30ok Kia crossover.
All of it works rather well; the central display screen is obvious and conscious of the contact, and with standard-fit Android and Apple connectivity it’s simple to make use of your smartphone’s capabilities on the transfer. The entire set-up feels fantastically built-in, although it’s a disgrace you possibly can’t get the map to show inside the dials – as you would possibly in an Audi or perhaps a Volkswagen.
Total, inside high quality feels stable, with just a few low-cost and scratchy plastics inside simple attain. The package listing for our flagship 4-spec take a look at automotive contains every part from heated and ventilated leather-based seats, to wi-fi telephone charging and an eight-speaker JBL stereo. The belongings you contact most frequently are properly screwed collectively, and visibility is first rate – helped by the standard-fit reversing digicam.
Additionally new on this revised Niro is Kia’s UVO Join Providers. Mimicking many premium producers’ tackle ‘live’ linked providers, the Niro can now present real-time data on issues just like the site visitors and climate. There’s a downloadable smartphone app, too, permitting homeowners to examine issues like journey information – and remotely ship vacation spot data to their automotive’s sat-nav.
The three powertrain decisions (hybrid, plug-in and electrical) stay – although as a result of reality the EV solely went on sale late final 12 months, solely the HEV and PHEV fashions have been tweaked for now.
It’s the usual Hybrid we’re driving right here – although Kia has left every part beneath the pores and skin nicely alone. Meaning it carries over the earlier automotive’s 1.6-litre petrol engine and electrical motor, which collectively produce 139bhp and 265Nm of torque. The automotive begins in its Eco setting by default; this works wonders for gas economic system, however hampers efficiency considerably.
This isn’t a quick automotive, but take issues simple and it’ll sooth and loosen up its manner as much as the nationwide pace restrict with out fuss. Round city it’s hushed, operating for brief distances on electrical energy alone. When the engine does kick in, it’s extra intrusive than the set-up within the newest Toyota Prius – and we desire that automotive’s CVT gearbox, too.
Few patrons will ever care to hustle the Niro down a flexible again highway, however those that do will discover it handles neatly and predictably. Once more, the Toyota’s chassis has the sting on this division, however the steering is direct and the brakes progressive – there’s not one of the violent ‘regen’ discovered within the Hybrid mannequin’s e-Niro electrical stablemate.
However arguably the largest cause you purchase a hybrid is for his or her low emissions and rock-bottom operating prices – and whereas the Niro is among the many cleanest SUVs on sale, it could’t come near the penny-pinching Prius. Even the flashiest Toyota emits simply 82g/km of CO2 – putting it one Profit in Form tax band decrease than the Kia in top-spec trim.