Kia Niro hybrid SUV 2016 review



Image 1 of 20
Image 1 of 20

24 Feb, 2016 All day

Steve Fowler

We hit the road in the Kia Niro hybrid crossover to see if the Toyota Prius should be worried
Its going to be a green summer for Kia. The new Optima gets its plug-in hybrid boost, while this car the Niro is set to take a different approach to tackle the hybrid Prius. And just a week after the cars global debut at the Chicago Motor Show, Auto Express was invited to drive the Niro alongside Kia Europe CEO Michael Cole.
The Niro is what Kia describes as the first Hybrid Utility Vehicle, or HUV. But Cole has another take on it. “Its a crossover first and foremost,” he says. “But its a crossover with the added bonus of being a hybrid.”
And the further bonus of being sensational value Kia is aiming for a price that doesnt tread on the toes of the newly launched Sportage SUV, so expect it to start at less than £18,000.
• Best hybrids to buy
To put that into context, you cant get a new Prius for less than £23,000, while even the Toyota Auris Hybrid costs over £20,000. And as usual with Kia, this will be no stripped-out model. Its got interior space thats comparable to the Prius and a big boot, too. Plus, the seven-year warranty outstrips Toyotas cover by two years.

Image 4 of 20
Image 4 of 20

Kias offer of a drive in an early car was all the more bold with a route from the companys base near Frankfurt in Germany down to Geneva in Switzerland. Previous experience of hybrids shows theyre most efficient in town rather than on long cross-country jaunts. So how did the Niro fare?
Our route was mostly motorway with a bit of town driving thrown in and some fairly hilly stuff, too, yet the Niro managed 60mpg not bad in the real world and not too far off the expected average claim of 73.6mpg.
• Best crossovers
Kia has also eliminated the Achilles heel of many hybrids by fitting a six-speed dual-clutch box rather than a continuously variable auto it makes for a far more normal drive, even if response is still a little sluggish.

Image 12 of 20
Image 12 of 20

We detected slight hesitation as the cars brain decided whether to use the electric motor or engine or both to pull away, but thats likely to be smoothed out in production versions. The brakes could do with a bit of work, too, for a less abrupt and more linear feel, although again, theres time to tweak before cars arrive in the summer.
The Niro gets more advanced battery tech than the Prius, using a lithium ion polymer set-up that will enable it to travel for up to three miles on electric power alone at speeds of up to 70mph. And true enough, on a light throttle travelling downhill, the engine was off and the on-screen graphics showed the battery and electric motor doing the work.
• Best 4x4s and SUVs
The transition between battery eerily silent and engine power still quite quiet is seamless on the move with no vibration as the swap takes place. You can hear the engines hum when its working, but the Niro is a relaxed and refined drive.

Image 11 of 20
Image 11 of 20

Its not a car youll want to throw through corners, while the ride can be a little bobbly, although our car was on the bigger 18-inch wheels  smaller 16-inch wheels may prove more comfortable. Similarly, the steering doesnt offer bags of feel, but its direct enough.
The crossover design eschews the now traditional teardrop shape of hybrids like the Prius, as well as the Niros Hyundai Ioniq sister car with which it shares plenty of its running gear; its not a full-on SUV look, but its a crisp, smart shape livened up by some cladding around the wheelarches, skid plates front and rear, and an interesting spoiler at the back.
Inside, the car is as well built as weve now come to expect from Kia, with better-quality plastics than in the latest Prius and a smart, easy-to-use layout. Even the indicators clicked with a quality sound.

Image 17 of 20
Image 17 of 20

The powered drivers seat of our test car was a fair few millimetres too high for us, leaving our head irritatingly brushing the headlining around the sunroof. Again, Kia tells us this will be sorted for production.
There are no such problems in the back, with space for a couple of adults to stretch out in, or three kids to argue over the middle seat. The boots a good size and shape, and easy to get at, too; cabbies and their passengers are going to love this car.
As well as all the latest safety gadgets like autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist the Niro gets Android Auto for connection to smartphones theres no Apple CarPlay yet. It also features a navigation system that lets the hybrid drivetrain know what the road ahead is like so it can maximise efficiency.

Image 18 of 20
Image 18 of 20

Ultimately, that efficiency is limited by the crossover shape of the Niro its not as slippery as the Prius so mpg will be lower and CO2 higher than the Toyotas. But the figures we achieved were pretty good and that likely starting price will go some way to making up for it.
Michael Cole told us Kia had originally estimated around 20,000 annual Niro sales across Europe, but is thinking about revising that figure to closer to 40,000. We think that could be a wise move Kia could have a hybrid hit on its hands.

4


Even this early pre-production Niro showed plenty of promise as an appealing, eco-friendly family car. It looks better than many other hybrids on the market and comes with a hugely usable and spacious interior. Running costs should be attractive, but not as much as the expected price. The Niro could be the start of a whole new appeal for hybrid cars.

Model: Kia Niro
Price: £18,000 est
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl petrol, plus electric motor
Power: 138bhp
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive




0-62mph: 10.5 seconds est
Top speed: 110mph
Economy: 73.6mpg
CO2: 89g/km est
On sale: Summer


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Kia Niro hybrid SUV 2016 review
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Reviews (1):
Kia Niro hybrid SUV 2016 review
4 years ago

http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/kia/niro/94511/kia-niro-hybrid-suv-2016-review

Image 1 of 20
Image 1 of 20

24 Feb, 2016 All day

Steve Fowler

We hit the road in the Kia Niro hybrid crossover to see if the Toyota Prius should be worried
Its going to be a green summer for Kia. The new Optima gets its plug-in hybrid boost, while this car the Niro is set to take a different approach to tackle the hybrid Prius. And just a week after the cars global debut at the Chicago Motor Show, Auto Express was invited to drive the Niro alongside Kia Europe CEO Michael Cole.
The Niro is what Kia describes as the first Hybrid Utility Vehicle, or HUV. But Cole has another take on it. “Its a crossover first and foremost,” he says. “But its a crossover with the added bonus of being a hybrid.”
And the further bonus of being sensational value Kia is aiming for a price that doesnt tread on the toes of the newly launched Sportage SUV, so expect it to start at less than £18,000.
• Best hybrids to buy
To put that into context, you cant get a new Prius for less than £23,000, while even the Toyota Auris Hybrid costs over £20,000. And as usual with Kia, this will be no stripped-out model. Its got interior space thats comparable to the Prius and a big boot, too. Plus, the seven-year warranty outstrips Toyotas cover by two years.

Image 4 of 20
Image 4 of 20

Kias offer of a drive in an early car was all the more bold with a route from the companys base near Frankfurt in Germany down to Geneva in Switzerland. Previous experience of hybrids shows theyre most efficient in town rather than on long cross-country jaunts. So how did the Niro fare?
Our route was mostly motorway with a bit of town driving thrown in and some fairly hilly stuff, too, yet the Niro managed 60mpg not bad in the real world and not too far off the expected average claim of 73.6mpg.
• Best crossovers
Kia has also eliminated the Achilles heel of many hybrids by fitting a six-speed dual-clutch box rather than a continuously variable auto it makes for a far more normal drive, even if response is still a little sluggish.

Image 12 of 20
Image 12 of 20

We detected slight hesitation as the cars brain decided whether to use the electric motor or engine or both to pull away, but thats likely to be smoothed out in production versions. The brakes could do with a bit of work, too, for a less abrupt and more linear feel, although again, theres time to tweak before cars arrive in the summer.
The Niro gets more advanced battery tech than the Prius, using a lithium ion polymer set-up that will enable it to travel for up to three miles on electric power alone at speeds of up to 70mph. And true enough, on a light throttle travelling downhill, the engine was off and the on-screen graphics showed the battery and electric motor doing the work.
• Best 4x4s and SUVs
The transition between battery eerily silent and engine power still quite quiet is seamless on the move with no vibration as the swap takes place. You can hear the engines hum when its working, but the Niro is a relaxed and refined drive.

Image 11 of 20
Image 11 of 20

Its not a car youll want to throw through corners, while the ride can be a little bobbly, although our car was on the bigger 18-inch wheels  smaller 16-inch wheels may prove more comfortable. Similarly, the steering doesnt offer bags of feel, but its direct enough.
The crossover design eschews the now traditional teardrop shape of hybrids like the Prius, as well as the Niros Hyundai Ioniq sister car with which it shares plenty of its running gear; its not a full-on SUV look, but its a crisp, smart shape livened up by some cladding around the wheelarches, skid plates front and rear, and an interesting spoiler at the back.
Inside, the car is as well built as weve now come to expect from Kia, with better-quality plastics than in the latest Prius and a smart, easy-to-use layout. Even the indicators clicked with a quality sound.

Image 17 of 20
Image 17 of 20

The powered drivers seat of our test car was a fair few millimetres too high for us, leaving our head irritatingly brushing the headlining around the sunroof. Again, Kia tells us this will be sorted for production.
There are no such problems in the back, with space for a couple of adults to stretch out in, or three kids to argue over the middle seat. The boots a good size and shape, and easy to get at, too; cabbies and their passengers are going to love this car.
As well as all the latest safety gadgets like autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist the Niro gets Android Auto for connection to smartphones theres no Apple CarPlay yet. It also features a navigation system that lets the hybrid drivetrain know what the road ahead is like so it can maximise efficiency.

Image 18 of 20
Image 18 of 20

Ultimately, that efficiency is limited by the crossover shape of the Niro its not as slippery as the Prius so mpg will be lower and CO2 higher than the Toyotas. But the figures we achieved were pretty good and that likely starting price will go some way to making up for it.
Michael Cole told us Kia had originally estimated around 20,000 annual Niro sales across Europe, but is thinking about revising that figure to closer to 40,000. We think that could be a wise move Kia could have a hybrid hit on its hands.

4


Even this early pre-production Niro showed plenty of promise as an appealing, eco-friendly family car. It looks better than many other hybrids on the market and comes with a hugely usable and spacious interior. Running costs should be attractive, but not as much as the expected price. The Niro could be the start of a whole new appeal for hybrid cars.

Model: Kia Niro
Price: £18,000 est
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl petrol, plus electric motor
Power: 138bhp
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive




0-62mph: 10.5 seconds est
Top speed: 110mph
Economy: 73.6mpg
CO2: 89g/km est
On sale: Summer


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