- Efficient plug-in hybrid technology
- Practical for families
- Quiet on the move
- Sharp styling
As Kia goes from strength to strength with sales on an upward trajectory, collecting gongs and plaudits along the way, the Korean carmaker is increasingly focusing on electrification.
Our choice for this review is the self-charging version in range-topping 4 spec, which allows the reticent to dip a toe in the pool of electric power without wishing to fully engage with the latest tech.
The primary source of power is an established 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine allied to a 6-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. Ease of driving is the formula that Kia has adopted for this family holdall, so don’t expect fireworks from under the bonnet, but neither are you likely to be left behind the flow of traffic.
With acceleration to 62mph in around 11 seconds, progress is effortless and fast enough for most families, the electric motor linked to a small battery pack adding some dash to the petrol engine as well as reducing its thirst for fuel. The automatic gearbox is a good match and suits the relaxed character of the Niro.
Cabin noise and mechanical clatter is kept to a minimum, and the ride over most surfaces is reasonably controlled and comfortable. Only heavily pock-marked surfaces tend to provoke the occasional crash from the suspension. Steering is somewhat lifeless, but a benefit of this is that few jolts are passed back to the helm.
Despite its high-stance cornering, roll is nicely controlled. The general impression is of a well composed, assured family car with little aspiration towards sporting behaviour. Noise levels remain low unless revved hard.
Interior and Technology
The cabin is attractively styled with decent quality, heavy duty plastic mouldings and tactile materials in wide usage.
As is usual, a generously sized touchscreen plays centre stage on the fascia, with a row of short-cut buttons beneath making it easier to navigate the controls and select what you wish on the move.
Switchgear feels robust and well-made, and most controls fall easily to hand.
Plenty of standard goodies on board the 4 trim, including electric sliding panoramic sunroof, sat nav, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats and paddle shifts on the steering wheel.
There’s ample passenger space within the compact body and enough room for luggage in the rear boot. The rear seats fold to expand the luggage area.
Seats front and rear well-shaped and remain comfortable on long journeys.
Our average consumption was nearly 45mpg despite considerable stop-start driving. Coupled to the generous 7-year warranty, running costs promise to be lower than most rivals.
With low emissions and meagre thirst for petrol, the Niro hybrid holds strong family appeal. The range-topping 4 spec brings aerodynamic exterior styling as well as some useful gadgets including smart parking assist and heated seats for the winter months.