New KIA NIRO – Hybrid Hero

 It might look like any other crossover, but the Kia Niro is a hybrid, much like a Toyota Prius. That means it has a high driving position and plenty of space for a family, but it’s also economical, with low emissions and impressive economy in real world driving.

 The Kia Niro is powered by a 1.6-litre GDi (Gasoline Direct Injection – or simply ‘petrol’ to you & me) engine along with a 1.57 kWh lithium-ion battery. This combination provides a total output of 141PS of power and 265Nm of torque. Official economy is 74.3mpg and emissions are 88g/km, with no plugging in necessary. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard, as opposed to a CVT like the Prius.

 The result is a driving experience that will feel more familiar to drivers used to a conventional automatic transmission or a manual gearbox. The Kia Niro just feels like any other car for the most part, particularly out of town, where it’s easy to drive, very comfortable and a relaxing cruiser. 

 It can operate on battery power alone under some circumstances, such as at low speeds in traffic or when cruising at a steady speed. However, most of the time the engine needs to be working. Fortunately, while it is audible, it’s only really noticeable when accelerating very hard for overtaking or joining motorways.

 Aside from the Kia Niro’s hybrid technology what also impressed me is that it is spacious, comfortable and comes with plenty of modern technology. Standard specification on my test car includes Bluetooth with voice control, 7” touchscreen infotainment system, cruise control, satellite navigation, reverse camera, rear parking sensors, leather interior with front seat heaters, heated steering wheel, lane departure warning system, front fog lights, LED daytime running lights, remote central locking with power-fold door mirrors, electric windows, heated electric mirrors, climate controlled air conditioning, chrome door handles and window surrounds, roof rails and many other comfort, safety and security features.

Space in the back of the Kia Niro is adequate even for adults, while the boot is a perfectly decent 421 litres, expandable to 1425 litres with the rear seats folded flat. The car itself carves out an impressive footprint measuring 4355mm in length, 1805mm in width and 1545mm in height for maximum driver and passenger comfort.

 The new Kia Niro is available in a choice of 5 colours and is priced from €29,095 (after a reduction of €1,500 in VRT). Like all new Kia’s, a 7-year (up to 150,000km) warranty comes as standard and covers the lithium-ion battery too. Free map upgrades for 7 years are also included.

 Why not take a test drive in a new Kia Niro and discover what makes this impressive hybrid second to none.