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First Drive: Kia Niro

Kia Niro

Kia Niro

The new hybrid Niro makes a very interesting and economical addition to the Kia line-up, writes Geraldine Herbert

What is it? Kia’s latest model, Niro, aims to stay ahead of the curve as the Korean Car maker’s first hybrid and all-new compact crossover. Sharing the same underpinnings as the new Hyundai Ioniq, the Niro sits between the Sportage and the Cee’d hatchback in the Kia line-up. While Hyundai will sell conventional hybrid and all-electric versions of the Ioniq, the Niro will only be available as a hybrid although a plug-in version is likely.

First impressions of the new Kia Niro? Outside, the Niro has chunky styling and a high ride height that aids visibility while the body cladding gives it a tough crossover look. Despite the styling however, there’s no four-wheel drive option so think of the Niro as more of a high-riding family hatchback than an SUV.

What about the interior?  Inside the layout will be familiar to any Kia owner and it is well built with good quality materials used throughout. The dash is clean and all the controls are easy to access. There is a large 7″ or 8″ touchscreen infotainment system with optional navigation. Both systems support Bluetooth smartphone, audio connectivity and DAB digital radio. Aimed at family buyers, there is plenty of space both front and back and the location of the battery means the boot is a good size with over 427 litres of space. Fold the rear seats down and you get a very decent 1,425 litres.

Kia Niro on the road? On the road the Niro rides well and there is little body roll when you corner. Higher than a conventional car, but lower than many SUVs, it grips the road nicely. With a combined power output of 141hp and 264nm it moves briskly but it’s the refinement that is particularly impressive, once on the road, the two power systems work quietly and seamlessly in the background.

One of the biggest issues with many hybrids is the continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox, Kia has opted instead for a six-speed dual-clutch gear box which feels much better and smoother

 How much? Due here in October, prices for the Niro will start at €28,995 when the currently available €1,500 Government grant is deducted.

there is generous space for five people plus 427 litres of luggage space

there is generous space for five people plus 427 litres of luggage space

How green? Using a similar system to the Toyota Prius, the Niro combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 32kW electric motor. With CO2 emissions as low as 88g/km and fuel consumption of 3.8 litres/100km, it rivals many frugal diesels as a credible alternative.

What about my options? Standard equipment includes  Sat Nav with Android Auto, Full Leather Heated, Dual Aircon with Rain Sensor, Lane Keep Assist, LED front and rear lights and Privacy Glass.

Buyers can also choose from a selection of 16- or 18-inch alloy wheel designs. The Niro is fitted with 16in as standard but if you decide to upgraded to the larger wheels this will impact on the efficiency of the car and fuel consumption is reduced to 4.4 litre per 100km and emission go up to 101g/km.

 

3 words to describe the Niro?  Smart; Frugal; Solid

For more information check out Kia Ireland , the Kia Ireland Facebook page or follow them on twitter

 

 Geraldine Herbert

26th July,  2016

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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