New Kia Niro Hybrid 2019 overview
The Koreans, for no matter purpose, don’t conform to the automobile trade’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 recent face, tweaked bumpers, and new wheel designs. There’s some new trim inside, in addition to improved inside tech choices, too.
• Greatest hybrid automobiles available on the market
Whereas it’d be a stretch to counsel this automobile is immediately recognisable because the facelifted automobile, the styling is definitely sharper than earlier than. The brand new LED daytime operating lights give the Niro a greater outlined signature, whereas the up to date rear gentle clusters supply a delicate enchancment on the previous automobile’s plainer design. Its SUV physique continues to offer it the sting over the polarising Toyota Prius, too.
It’s inside the place potential patrons will discover the most important variations, nevertheless. The entry-level ‘2’ mannequin will get a run-of-the-mill eight-inch show, however ‘3’ automobiles and above boast a slick new 10.25-inch touchscreen, which sits neatly in the course of the sprint. With our automobile’s new seven-inch digital instrument cluster, it’s the type of set-up you’d anticipate in a top-spec BMW, fairly than a sub-£30okay Kia crossover.
All of it works rather well; the central display is obvious and attentive to 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 throughout the dials – as you would possibly in an Audi or perhaps a Volkswagen.
Total, inside high quality feels strong, with just a few low cost and scratchy plastics inside simple attain. The package record for our flagship 4-spec check automobile contains all the pieces 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 digital camera.
Additionally new on this revised Niro is Kia’s UVO Join Companies. Mimicking many premium producers’ tackle ‘reside’ related providers, the Niro can now present real-time info on issues just like the visitors and climate. There’s a downloadable smartphone app, too, permitting house owners to examine issues like journey data – and remotely ship vacation spot info to their automobile’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 yr, 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 all the pieces beneath the pores and skin nicely alone. Which means it carries over the earlier automobile’s 1.6-litre petrol engine and electrical motor, which collectively produce 139bhp and 265Nm of torque. The automobile begins in its Eco setting by default; this works wonders for gas economic system, however hampers efficiency considerably.
This isn’t a quick automobile, but take issues simple and it’ll sooth and calm down its approach as much as the nationwide velocity 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 favor that automobile’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 most important purpose 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 actually’t come near the penny-pinching Prius. Even the flashiest Toyota emits simply 82g/km of CO2 – inserting it one Profit in Sort tax band decrease than the Kia in top-spec trim.