Kia Niro (2016-present)

Kia's Niro hybrid is a cleaner, greener alternative to diesel but it comes at a premium

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Hybrid system is efficient
Low emissions
Doesn't look like an obviously 'green' car

Weaknesses 

Expensive compared to a diesel car
Ride is a bit firm
Steady, rather than exciting performance
Best New Discount

KIA Niro Estate 1.6 gdi phev 3 5dr dct

Total RRP £30,845

Your quote £24,185

You Save £6,660

The Toyota Prius has become one of the world’s best-selling cars thanks to its hybrid technology, which recovers energy that’s usually lost when you’re braking, stores it in a battery and then uses it to boost acceleration, along with a conventional engine.

The Niro is Kia’s answer to the Prius and works in exactly the same way, using the 'free' electric power so that the engine doesn't need to work as hard, reducing the fuel used.

This results in official fuel economy figures of 74.3mpg and low carbon dioxide emissions of 88g/km for some Niro models, so business users can benefit from low company car tax rates.

It could also result in low running costs for owners, but it all depends on how you use it. If you’re regularly caught in stop-start town traffic, then the battery will recover plenty of energy that would otherwise be wasted, and provide lots of acceleration, cutting fuel consumption.

But if you make lots of long distance journeys without much stopping, there’s not much energy to recover, which means that the battery is depleted quickly. In this instance, you would be better off buying a new diesel family car, such as a Vauxhall Astra or Skoda Octavia, which shouldn't be affected by many forthcoming diesel charges.

These cars are cheaper, but have similar fuel economy figures to the Niro and are likely to prove more efficient on higher-speed roads. If you’ve been put off diesel by concerns about air quality, then even an efficient petrol car is likely to perform as well as the Niro outside of town.

The Niro is roughly the same length as a family car - like the Prius, so there’s space inside for five adults. It’s taller, than most rivals, though, which means that there’s plenty of headroom.

It’s comfortable to ride in, even if the car can jolt over potholes and the weight of the battery and motor does make the car feel heavy in corners. The smooth gearbox helps to make the car comfortable, if not particularly exciting to drive.

Even the styling is more reserved than that found on Kia's recent offerings, such as the all-new Sportage and refreshed Cee'd, with the Niro opting for a fairly standard crossover shape that's easy on the eye, if slightly dull from some angles.

Regardless, the car comes very well equipped, with entry level models sporting 16in alloy wheels, dual automatic air conditioning, LED daytime running lights, a 3.5-inch TFT driver display and a basic dashboard screen that has digital radio, Bluetooth smartphone pairing and an Aux-in slot for MP3 players.

The safety functionality offered across the range is also impressive, with Lane Keep Assist, Hill Start Assist and cruise control coming as standard. There's the ability to add Autonomous Emergency Braking and an adaptive cruise control system to all models for an additional fee.

Last Updated 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 07:45

Key facts 

Warranty: 
7 years / 100,000 miles
Boot size: 
421 litres
Width: 
1805mm
Length: 
4355mm
Height: 
1545mm
Tax: 
£100 to £140 in first year, £140 thereafter / Pre-April 2017 cars: free to £20

Best KIA Niro for... 

Kia Niro '1' 1.6GDi 6DCT
This entry-level model may come equipped with the smaller alloy wheels but it boasts the most impressive fuel consumption figures and lowest emissions.
Kia Niro '2' 1.6GDi 6DCT
A nice balance of affordable price tag, low running costs and impressive standard kit, this '2' spec level hits the sweet spot.
Kia Niro 'First Edition' 1.6GDi 6DCT
The lofty price tag will be enough to deter many but those larger 18-inch wheels reduce the average mpg, make the ride harsher and lead to a lot of tyre roar in the cabin.

KIA Niro History 

  • 2016 The Kia Niro goes on sale

Understanding KIA Niro car names 

  • Niro
  • Trim level
    1
  • Engine
    1.6 GDi + Electric motor
  • GEarbox
    6 Speed Automatic DCT
  • Trim level
    There are four trims in total ('1', '2', '3' and 'First Edition'). Each trim level adds more equipment but commands a higher price, while the 'First Edition' models are limited in number.
  • Engine
    All Hybrid models come with the 1.6-litre petrol and electric motor powertrain. However, a plug-in hybrid will arrive in 2017.
  • GEarbox
    The six-speed automatic gearbox comes as standard on all Hybrid models.

KIA Niro Engines 

1.6 GDi petrol & electric motor

The powertrain in the Kia Niro is described as a 'parallel hybrid', which means that the bespoke petrol engine (designed specifically for use in Kia and Hyundai hybrid vehicles) and the electric power unit work in unison most of the time.

However, the all-electric motor can operate by itself, which is typically when setting off from a standstill, when coasting downhill or under braking, when the petrol engine is shut off and the front wheels are driven by battery power alone.

Most drivers won't notice the transition between petrol and electric mode, as the transition is quiet and refined. A dial located in the instrument cluster informs drivers of exactly what mode is currently selected (Charge, Eco, Power and Off) and a digital display can reveal the flow of power at any one time.

The total power output of the system is 139bhp, which is enough to see the Niro accelerate from 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds and go on to a top speed of 101mph. Progress isn't exactly swift but the power and performance is more than enough to carry out the occasional overtaking manoeuvre and comfortably cruise at motorway speeds.

Fuel

Mpg

Bhp

0 - 62mph

Top speed

1.6 GDi

Petrol/electric motor

74.3 (combined)

139bhp

11.1s

101mph

KIA Niro Trims 

'1', '2', '3' and 'First Edition'

Kia's trim level naming convention couldn't be simpler and it makes a refreshing change from the Allures, Pops and other discombobulating monikers plastered across some rival machines.

The range kicks off with trim level '1', which has been lavished with an impressive array of standard equipment in order to entice customers to try a hybrid. That means 16-inch alloy wheels, a high gloss black radiator grille with chrome surrounds and LED daytime running lights festoon the exterior.

Dual automatic air conditioning, cloth seats and a 3.5-inch TFT driver display kit out the interior while a simple infotainment system with DAB radio, Bluetooth smartphone pairing and an Aux-in slot for MP3 players takes care of the sounds.

It doesn't feel like an entry-level from the inside but upgrading to '2' brings with it a small selection of additional niceties. These include: high gloss interior trim highlights, a leather-covered steering wheel, black cloth and leather upholstery, rear privacy glass and chrome door handles.

The infotainment unit is upgraded to a 7-inch touchscreen system with navigation provided by TomTom and a reversing camera. It's an impressive suite of kit and contains most of the optional extras that a family could ever want.

A top-of-the-line '3' trim level adds a slightly larger 8-inch touch screen infotainment system, a wireless mobile phone charging tray for compatible devices and a punchy JBL premium sound system.

Unfortunately, this trim level also adds 18-inch alloy wheels, which don't do the ride quality or fuel economy figures any favours, but the heated front seats and steering wheel, stainless steel scuff plates and electronically adjustable front seats are all welcome additions.

These top line models also receive Android Auto, which allows anyone running the 5.0 Lollipop operating system or higher to have many of the phone's features beamed to the touch screen system when plugged in to the on-board UISB slot.

Finally, a limited number of 'First Edition' cars will be offered to the keenest customers and these come with all the bells and whistles, plus a unique grey leather trim, a keyless ignition system, heated outer rear seats, an electronic sunroof and the additional safety package with Autonomous Emergency Braking and smart cruise control.

KIA Niro Reliability and warranty 

Kia has built a solid reputation for reliability and customer care; with its unique transferable seven-year/100,000-mile warranty making other manufacturers sit up and take notice.

But unlike its sister company Hyundai, which offers a 5-year warranty on its hybrid vehicles and an eight year warranty on their battery packs, Kia is sticking to its guns and offering seven-years across the board.

This makes it one of the most impressive warranty packages available and trumps the Toyota Prius by two years, which should not only take the sting out of the plummeting residual values typically found on hybrids but also bring greater peace of mind to owners looking to sell in the future.

Used KIA Niro 

The Kia Niro officially hits the showrooms in August 2016, with some dealers receiving early 'First Edition' models before that date to entice customers.

That means used values are yet to be decided but you can rest assured the marque will offer some interesting Personal Contract Purchase and leasing offers to those interested, as it regards the retail market, as opposed to fleet, one of its strongest selling points.

KIA Niro Prices

KIA Niro 2

1.6 gdi hybrid 2 5dr dct

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 74.3mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £20,071

You could save up to: £3414

KIA Niro 3

1.6 gdi hybrid 3 5dr dct

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 64.2mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £21,875

You could save up to: £3590

1.6 gdi phev 3 5dr dct

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/plugin elec hybrid
  • Economy 217.3mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £24,185

You could save up to: £6660

KIA Niro 4

1.6 gdi hybrid 4 5dr dct

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol/electric hybrid
  • Economy 64.2mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £23,900

You could save up to: £3815