313mpg? It must be a Kia hybrid

There are prettier Kias around but the Niro is a superb packageThere are prettier Kias around but the Niro is a superb package
There are prettier Kias around but the Niro is a superb package
At some point before too very long we will stop talking about car values in terms of lump sums.

After all, very few people pay for their cars up front these days. Lottery winners, perhaps. And the super rich.

Although to be realistic the super rich didn’t become super rich by splashing the cash. They, like the vast majority of us, will buy a new car on finance, or what we used to call HP.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

These days it’s more likely to be a leasing agreement of the sort popularised by Ford quite a few years ago now with the Options programme. In fact, “buying” a car is more like “buying” a phone.

The latest version is a big improvement on earlier modelsThe latest version is a big improvement on earlier models
The latest version is a big improvement on earlier models

Do you know how much your mobile costs? Odds on, you will know your monthly payment but you probably have little idea of the list price.

So, Kia Niro tested here is a £36,000 model might sound expensive but it’s irrelevant to most customers.

They will be more interested in the monthly leasing price and the fact that it is well equipped, very cheap to run and one of the most successful electric-petrol hybrids on the road.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This is a Niro with a 1.6 litre petrol engine – don’t let the GDi title make you think it is a diesel. Rather it stands for gasoline direct injection.

With a super electric motor it manages 313.9mpg, which sounds incredible. Emissions are 21g/km and it will charge from 15 per cent to 95 per cent in under three hours. Add a boot with holds from 348 litres up to 1,342 litres with the seats down and you have a fabulous package of a car.

Niro might not be the prettiest Kia – the Sportage, Sorento and the stunning EV6 put this model in the shade. As did the hot Stinger, tragically ditched.

But don’t be dissuaded. It is a convincing package with alloy wheels, rain sensing wipers, automatic lights, LED lights front and rear and all-round electric windows.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It has black cladding and chrome skid plate front and rear to give it something of a wow factor.

This car also a hi-tech model with shift-by-wire gear selection, heated front seats and a stop-start button, plus – love it or hate it – an electric parking brake.

It also has a six-speaker audio system, wireless mobile phone charger, plus various USB charge points.

On the safety front it has a reversing camera system, anti-lock brakes, stability control and collision avoidance systems.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Now, Niro is a good car technically and economically. It might not have the attractive lines of some of its rivals but it is a proper Kia in that it is simple, efficient and possibly the best in class.

It is a boxy car – like many electric vehicles - but it feels balanced and it has more of a sportier edge to it than I could have imagined.

The first-generation Niro launched in the UK in 2016 and has sold in increased numbers each year. In 2020 Niro sales doubled in the UK, and rose again in 2021. The line-up consists of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure electric powertrains

New Niro has been designed to be more distinctive and stand out from the crowd.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Officially it is a compact crossover utility vehicle (C-CUV), a new section of the market and one of the most competitive, with a dizzying array of models on offer. Niro illustrates Kia’s fresh approach to the traditional crossover vehicle and provides important differentiators that make it stand out.

Niro’s success comes at a good time for Kia. The UK company achieved more than 100,000 sales in one year in 2022 for the first time in its 32-year UK history. Delivering 3,450 new vehicles in December saw Kia’s full year sales result hit an all-time high of 100,191 for 2022.

The Korean car maker finished sixth overall in 2022, its highest position to date, posting an all-time best market share of 6.2 per cent.

With over 100,000 sales for the year and a record market share, Kia’s success bucks the 2022 market trend that saw significant challenges across the UK market.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Since Kia’s arrival in the UK in July 1991, the brand has sold almost 1.4m cars in Britain. This success was thanks to the launch of the fifth-generation Sportage, which went on sale in mid-December 2021, and the Picanto that topped the A segment (city car) for several months. March saw the introduction of the Sportage PHEV, particularly attractive to company car drivers, with a low eight per cent Benefit-in-Kind taxation figure.

In the following quarters, Kia continued its sustained sales momentum, frequently ranking in the top five manufacturers. July saw the all-new Niro appear in Kia showrooms across the country, heralding a new beginning for the segment-defining car, with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric models immediately available to order.

Confirming its position as a leader in electrification, Kia’s total hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full EV sales topped 42,988 in 2022, 43 per cent of its overall sales.

Paul Philpott, President and CEO of Kia UK Limited, said: “Since Kia first entered the UK car market 32 years ago, the brand has gone from strength-to-strength. Kia has continually thrived in a challenging market, our brand and products have evolved and perceptions have changed. Each of these have played an important role in Kia’s sustainable and organic growth."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the future, Kia is planning big. Globally, Kia will introduce 14 EV models by 2027. Nine of these models will make their way to the UK market.

Kia Niro 1.6 GDi PHEV ‘3’

Price: £36,825 on the road

Engine: A 1,580cc four cylinder engine generating 180bhp. Plus 11.1kWh Li-ion polymer battery. It has a six-speed automatic transmission

Performance: Top speed 100mph and 0 to 60mph in 9.8 seconds. Top speed as an electric vehicle only is 83mph

Range: 39 miles as an electric vehicle.

Economy 313.9mpg

Emissions: 21g/km

Warranty: Seven years, 100,000 miles warranty

Related topics: