The Kia Niro is a low-emissions vehicle (88g/km CO2 emissions) based on the Korean car maker’s first eco-car platform. It combines the practicality and appeal of a compact crossover with fuel economy with an attractive and modern styling. As of now, the Kia Niro owns the Guinness World Record for the lowest fuel consumption for a hybrid car at 76.6mpg.
It’s designed to be people-friendly – it senses me approaching the car and unfolded the wing mirrors and activated the door handle lights. There are USB and wireless smartphone charging features in the dashboard, and I could easily preset up to two driver seat settings – e.g., tilt, height, distance to the steering wheel – and activate my preference at the touch of a button.
The front ventilated seats cool you down quickly on a hot sunny day, and though you’re unlikely to need it, there’s heating for the seats and steering wheel as well.
The Niro comes with seven airbags and has the top, 5-STAR Euro NCAP rating for safety, so you can drive with peace of mind. The Blind Spot Detection was very useful and turns on an indicator light in the pertinent wing mirror when there is a vehicle in your blind spot. And if you miss that and try to change lanes, an audio alert will sound.
The engine ran silently at low speeds, but the power kicks in quickly once you step on the accelerator. Power and handling were ample and responsive for a family car. This is thanks to the pairing of a 1.6-litre ‘Kappa’ gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine (105 ps power output and 147 Nm of torque) and a 1.56 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack and 32 kW electric motor. The powertrain’s combined power output and torque are applied through a six-speed double-clutch transmission.
For those concerned with the longevity of the battery, Cycle & Carriage Kia provides a 10-year lithium battery warranty on top of the existing 10-year engine warranty and 5-year unlimited mileage warranty.
The Kia Niro is a well-designed, hybrid utility vehicle that is practical, easy to drive and comes with a very affordable price tag. It’s a nice middle ground of practicality and style that makes it a fantastic choice family car – one that’s comfortable and a joy to ride in.