This is the 2022 Kia Niro that, thanks to a new platform, is slightly bigger and more spacious than the outgoing model with an all-new interior and revised styling. Overall, the new look isn’t dramatic, though one element that stands out is the Audi R8-style ‘blades’ on the rear flanks that stand slightly proud of the body and which Kia says increase aerodynamic efficiency. Blades aside, the Niro remains a practical family-sized crossover with a similarly diverse range of electrified powertrains as before.
What are its rivals?
Because the Niro will be available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and a battery-electric vehicle, its rivals span both the conventional family crossover sector as well as the compact electric crossover segment that represents a particularly active part of the market just now. There are its cousins, the Hyundai Kona and Tucson, for instance, but also the Hyundai Ioniq 5. There are the Volkswagens Taigo and T-Roc and the ID.4 too. How about the Ford Kuga, Mustang Mach-E or, likely a price-bracket higher, the Tesla Model Y? Despite there being a new Niro to suit a whole range of different drivers, considering the market segments it’s straddling it’ll have its work cut out to steal sales from competitors.
Any tech info?
A pair of 10.25-inch screens mounted side by side (one the driver’s instrument cluster, the other the infotainment screen) adorn the dashboard, broadly similar to the set-up seen in the Kia Sportage and Sorento. A full suite of driver assistance and safety features includes automated emergency braking, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Following Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and a range of other of sensor- and camera-based systems to make parking and egress that bit safer and easier.
What’s the range like?
Opening the range is the hybrid-electric model using a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an electric motor to develop 141hp and which is capable of short distances of electric-only running. Then there’s the 182hp plug-in hybrid, which, thanks to its 11.1kWh battery, can manage around 64km on battery power alone. The electric Niro used to be called the e-Niro, but has now been renamed the Niro EV to bring it into line with Kia’s more recent nomenclature. The Niro EV develops 204hp and, with its 64.8kWh battery, can go approximately 463km between charges, taking 43 minutes or so to top up from 10 per cent to 80 per cent at a fast DC charger.
The new Kia Niro builds on the tried and tested formula that has served it well for a number of years now and is likely to be a highly competent, practical and well-made family car. That said, whether it has what it takes to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace once it arrives over the summer remains to be seen, with plenty of competition even from Kia’s own product line-up, never mind from those of rival carmakers.