What is it?
Now on its second generation, the Kia Niro is.....
Kia has received yet more recognition and won a tightly contested award in this years’ Diesel Car and Eco Car Awards, with the all-new Kia Niro hybrid crossover winning best hybrid vehicle and the Kia cee’d and Sportage models coming well within the top 50 cars available in the UK, concluded by the panel of judges of Diesel Car and Eco Car.
The all-new Niro was launched in August 2016 and presents customers with the high efficiency and low running costs of a petrol-electric car with the style, practicality and desirability of a compact crossover. The judges awarded the model with an overall place of 38 and were impressed by the vehicle’s efficiency and customer-friendly styling and practicality.
On the road
I'll be honest, performance wise as a hybrid I wasn't expecting anything exciting, and in truth I wasn't disappointed. But when I asked Kia if I could borrow the Niro I wasn't looking for a performance car, I wanted a roomy economical vehicle that wouldn't cost me much to run, and that's defintely what I got, and more.
The Niro has a 1.6ltr petrol engine that's coupled to an ... electric motor
You can tell the difference when you slot the gear stick from 'Eco' to 'Sport', and although you won't light up the road, it's actually quite handy, with usable oomph when you want to overtake something.
Driving at, umm, motorway speeds, it averaged 55.5mpg, which thought was very good.
I think what surprised me the most about the Niro was its quality of ride, over undulating country lanes that had the previous press car, the Subaru Outback, jolting me ... the Niro was akin to a Range Rover in waft mode, it was lovely and so unexpected.
My only problem was that if I stopped on a hill and quickly removed my foot off the brake, the car would roll back like it was in neutral. However, if I left my foot on the brake for around a second longer and removed it, it would stay in gear. I don't know whether this was a quirk with the press car or the Niro itself, but...
Something else to get used to is the hand/foot brake, lust like my old lexus LS400...
Off the road
Gripe number 1. Kia call it an SUV, but it isn't, in the true sense of the word, it's a 2wd tall car. It does have ?? of ground clearance, and I dob't know how its traction control would handle mud, but I didn't try. It did however handle sand quite well, but I didn't't push it.
Interior & specs
Although I initially thought the dash layout was a bit 'meh', it didn't take me long to appreciate it - it's sharp, clean and informative.
The front seats and driving position are the best things abut the interior for me, after a laborious 3-hour drive to Bedfordshire I found the seats to be wide enough, supportive yet squidgy - that's a new journalistic word for comfy, it'll catch on.
The rear seats passed TML's stringent test - me sat behind the drivers seat positioned for my long legs whilst eating lunch and typing on the laptop.
Talk about sizes.
Engines and transmissions
I'll be honest, it isn't the most exciting car to look at, in my opinion of course, but that doesn't matter, if you want a 5-door hybrid that can easily haul a family around whilst achieving decent MPG for around the £24k mark, then I would would happily recommend it. And let's not forget Kia's industry leading 7-year warranty.
Whilst mooching around the Niro, a neighbour said that they (Kia) were catching up in terms of vehicle quality and ... no I replied, they caught up and surpassed in some cases!