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Following the success of their hybrid Optima and Optima Sportswagon models, Kia have announced the launch of their latest PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle). The existing Kia Niro hybrid (non-plug-in) Crossover has filled a niche in the market, with dimensions falling between the smaller Cee'd and the larger Sportage. By converting the stylish Kia Niro crossover B-SUV over to a plug-in hybrid powertrain, Kia are clearly stating their intent to transform their range with green alternatives across the board.

The Kira Niro Plug-in Hybrid has CO2 emissions of just 29g/km a dramatic reduction of almost 60g/km when compared with the petrol-hybrid Niro. These impressively low emissions make Niro Plug-in Hybrid the most efficient combustion-engined vehicle Kia have ever produced. Niro will head the charge in Kia's ambition to reduce average emissions by 25% by 2020. According to manufacturer statistics, this new hybrid is capable of offering a potential fuel economy of well over 200mpg.

Exterior

The Niro Plug-in Hybrid is available in six colours. The Standard option is Rich Espresso, other choices include Clear White, Graphite, Midnight Black, Pearl White and - exclusive to Hybrid Niro - Gravity Blue.

The overall shape and style is very much in the Kia family likeness, with subtle curves and sharp lines emanating from the signature tiger-nose grille. The stability and low centre of gravity of the all-new Kia Niro is evident in the wide spacing of its tyres.  Other obvious Kia traits are the long bonnet, short overhangs and elevated headlights.

Tapering to the rear, bold arches and a squared-off bumper emphasise the dynamic look of this mid-range crossover. The identity of this bridging model is further highlighted by body cladding beneath both front and rear bumpers and along the sides and arches. A subtle roof spoiler over the rear window adds a sporty touch and improves the aerodynamic qualities of the car.

Kia Niro Exterior Side Kia Niro Back Kia Niro Exterior Kia Niro Front Kia Niro Wheels

Interior

The Kia Niro interior layout has been re-engineered exclusively for electrified vehicles and has been designed to accommodate current and future advances in electrified technology. However, careful design has been executed to minimise intrusion on the passenger cabin and luggage area. The Kia Niro boot space has been reduced to accommodate the enlarged battery pack but still remains generous at 324-litres. This reduction has been mostly offset by designing a slightly smaller fuel tank of 43 instead of 45-litres.

The traditional crossover style gives the driver a raised seating position, allowing for greater visibility and ease of access when entering or exiting the Niro. The wide dashboard layout follows horizontal lines and gives prominence to the touchscreen interactive infotainment system.

Offering DAB Radio, with USB and Aux ports you'll always have the music you love to hand. The interior features premium touches such as a leather-covered steering wheel, gear-shifter and leather upholstery plus chrome interior and exterior door handles. The rain-sensing front wipers and heated fronts seats and steering wheel are nice additional features which also come as standard.

Kia Niro Front Seats Kia Niro Back Seats Kia Niro Driver View Kia Niro Boot Space Kia Niro Dashboard

Power and Performance

Due to its sleek profile, Niro boasts a drag co-efficient of just 0.30. The aerodynamic design is made even more critical as with extra batteries on board the Plug-in Hybrid is 94kg heavier than the regular Niro. However, clever use of lighter materials, such as high-strength steel and aluminium in the body construction minimise curb weight to 1,594kg.

The main power is supplied by a 1.6-litre petrol engine with direct-injection technology, producing 104bhp Kia have paired this with a 44.5kWh electric motor. Itself capable of producing a further 60bhp, and with a range of 36 miles it is possible for most people to get to and from work without paying for any fuel or producing any noxious emissions from your tailpipe.

The petrol engine has also designed to be more efficient. The first of the Niro range to make the switch, Niro Plug-in Hybrid uses the Atkinson cycle, instead of the traditional Otto cycle. This process allows the intake valve to stay open for longer during the combustion cycle, reducing the compression ratio which in turn enables the engine to extract more energy from the process instead of losing it as heat.

The 8.9 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery supplies power to the electric motor. The two units combined produce a very reasonable 139bhp, in first gear alone this produces an impressive torque of 265Nm. Niro Plug-in Hybrid is able, in just 10.4 seconds, to get up to 60mph and has a maximum speed of 107 mph. This model comes with six-speed, dual clutch automatic transmission giving greater responsiveness, incorporating a Manual Sports mode allowing drivers to opt to drive manually, should they wish to do so.

Kia Niro Hybrid Plug Kia Niro Electric Engine Kia Niro Transmission

Technology

The Niro PHEV comes equipped with 4.2-inch colour TFT supervision cluster, a reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors, as standard. Also supplied with roof rails, with hole covers to minimise wind noise, privacy glass on rear windows, tailgate and LED tail lights and daytime running lights, this is no entry-level model.

This dynamic Plug-in Hybrid features 16-inch alloy wheels with aerodynamic plastic covers, dual automatic air conditioning and an automatic windscreen de-fogging system for those frosty mornings. All-round electric windows and electrically-adjustable folding door mirrors with LED indicators ensure you'll be seen when turning.

Additional sophisticated technologies which aid your driving include, an ECO-DAS (Economy Driver Assistance System) which provides Coasting Guide Control, Regenerative Braking and a driving style guide. All of these systems are designed to aid in better harnessing of the hybrid's efficient twin powertrains, maximising your fuel-efficiency.

The Drive Mode Select feature enables you to personalise the drive dynamics and an Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) Select button allows you to switch manually to electric, combined or energy saving modes as you wish.

Kia Niro Infotainment Kia Niro Dashboard Kia Niro USB Kia Niro Steering Wheel

The Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid is an exciting addition to the Kia range and heralds a new era for their B-SUV and the rest of the Kia SUV range, which will surely be next to follow. To take a closer look at the tax-efficient Niro Plug-in Hybrid simply click on the link below to find your nearest Evans Halshaw Kia dealer.

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