New Niro plugs in
The Niro Plug-in's efficiency certainly looks impressive on paper, with 29g/km of CO2 and 1.3 litres/100km fuel consumption. That's 217mpg, although it's worth noting that's taken on the old, outdated, NEDC official fuel economy test, not the new and more stringent WLTP system. Even so, plug it in and fully charge up the 8.9kWh battery stack and you can go for a claimed 58km on only electrons.
The Plug-in gets a beefier 44.5kW electric motor (compared to the standard hybrid's 32kW version) so performance on just the batteries should be better than decent. Once those batteries are drained, the 105hp 1.6-litre petrol engine kicks in, and combined with the electric motor provides 141hp and 265Nm of torque. The 0-100km/h sprint takes 10.8 seconds, more than half-a-second quicker than the standard Niro hybrid.
The Niro will come with (eventually - it's not available at launch) a new Eco Driving Assistant System (Eco DAS), which helps to predict when the car is approaching tricky bits of road or junctions, and advises the driver to either lift off and coast, or brake gently, to trigger the car's regenerative braking and maximise efficiency. That system also works with the cruise control to evaluate when best to deploy electric or petrol power.
Unusually amongst hybrid and electrical cars, the Niro Plug-in can also be had with a towing pack, and can pull a braked trailer of up to 1,300kg.
While there are no major styling revisions for the exterior, inside you'll notice a new blue finish for the air vent surrounds, and it'll come with standard leather trim. The extra battery capacity does eat into the boot rather a lot, shrinking it to 324 litres, but the rest of the cabin space is left untouched. Kia says that its engineers have tweaked the car's noise suppression package, so as to keep the cabin quiet when you're running on silent electrical power.
A seven-inch touchscreen comes as standard, and that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. There's also TomTom-based satnav, with Kia Connected services, including live traffic updates (where available) and weather reports. Better yet, Kia says that the Connected Services package is included for up to seven years, with no cost. Oh, and to keep the tech-geeks happy, there's a wireless charging dock for your mobile phone.
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