Kia Niro Hybrid road test report and review: Kia’s Niro is an easy car to live with. DAVID HOOPER says it looks good, drives well and offers customers plenty of choice when it comes to the drivetrain – petrol, hybrid or fully electric – it’s up to you!
I LIKE surprises, especially nice ones like this Kia Niro Hybrid which exceeded expectations – and then some.
The all-electric version of this car, the e-Niro, was chosen by the Northern Group of Motoring Writers as its 2019 Car of the Year, but if you’re not ready for an all-electric driving experience yet, then I can highly recommend this hybrid version of the Niro.
It’s something of a half-way house between your conventional petrol or diesel powered car, and a fully electric one. The beauty of the full hybrid system is that you never need to worry about plugging your car in to recharge it, the car looks after all that as you travel around, but because of the hybrid technology, which works seamlessly by the way, you get diesel levels of fuel consumption from a carefully tuned petrol engine – and all with the bonus of the cheaper unleaded fuel costs.
Hybrid cars have been with us for a while now, and while I’ve been impressed with the tech which works brilliantly, the claimed fuel consumption figures have been, let’s say “aspirational” in real world motoring.
Recently though, things seem to have improved markedly. During my few days with this Niro, according to its trip computer, we covered more than 400 miles of mixed driving and it returned a very respectable 48.3mpg overall, with some very steady drives recording figures up to 53mpg on the car’s single journey trip.
You can amaze your passengers for hours too, by selecting the hybrid screen on the dashboard which shows what the drivetrain is doing, whether its charging the battery, the battery is driving the car as an electric vehicle, or whether the engine is driving the car and charging the battery. It’s great to watch, and all the driver has to do is drive the car.
In the case of our test car, it couldn’t be simpler, with an automatic gearbox, reversing camera and parking sensors, the Niro is easy to live with, and on the cold winter mornings when I had the car to review, the heated steering wheel and seats were very welcome additions.
The Kia Niro is well equipped, with our test car featuring plenty of new technology like the radar cruise control which means the car can just follow the vehicle in front on a motorway or in traffic, without the driver having to do anything. It will also warn if the car starts to stray out of its lane and adjust the steering to bring it back into line.
The wide screen interface on the dashboard is excellent, and can be split into three sections – I seemed to settle on the sat nav, phone and radio set-up, although did quite regularly have a look to see what the powertrain was up to.
The Niro offers a slightly raised sitting position, making it easy for those less agile to get in and out of, and a large glass area affords a good view of what’s going on around you.
Speaking of affording things, this hybrid model isn’t cheap, with a price tag of £30,000, including its extras, but the Niro range starts from just under £24,000, while the all-electric version weighs in at £36,495
I was impressed with Kia’s Niro and would commend it as being a worthy contender if you’re considering a change, and don’t forget, with Kia’s seven year, 100,000-mile warranty, peace of mind is guaranteed!
If you like this, read our review on the Kia Stinger
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Kia Niro 1.6 GDi Hybrid Electric Vehicle 4.
ENGINE: 1580cc, 141bhp four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor, driving front wheels through a 6-speed auto gearbox.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 101mph. 0-62mph in 11.5 secs.
ECONOMY: Combined: 65.7mpg.
Wheel World test average: 48.3mpg
CO2 EMISSIONS: 100g/km.
FUEL TANK: 45 litres.
INSURANCE: Group 12
WARRANTY: 7 years/100,000 miles
• All data correct at time of publication.