It’s another plug-in from KIA… but the new Niro isn’t just another plug-in

KIA is making sure we know plenty about several new arrivals in time for next January’s market – many of them electrified.

Now is a good time to get customers on their order books.

The irony here is that some drivers are only now getting out after a long wait to get their hands on a new KIA.

As we know for most brands, demand has outstripped supply throughout the year.

Despite everything, KIA has held up well in terms of market share and the newcomers will help as they jostle for position with some of the big guns out there.

They bring quite a lot of metal to the gas stations: with new plug-in hybrids and BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles)

There’s the Niro PHEV and electric Niro BEV, plus a Sportage PHEV for starters.

I took the Niro PHEV for a test drive over the weekend and am currently driving the fully electric version. I also booked a Sportage PHEV for testing. Furious.

So let’s turn to the Niro plugin.

I always, well almost always, start with first impressions and this immediately caught my attention on several fronts – while a criticism or two surfaced as the rides progressed.

I liked the looks; it gave style and presence without any design fanfare. And the interior shows how good KIA has gotten at making a cabin look that feels elegant and comfortable.

The car is 4,420mm long, 1,825mm wide and up to 1,570mm high, while its wheelbase of 2,720mm contributed to additional interior space.

Two of the things I didn’t like about it I later discovered while driving. One was how a trickle more tire/road noise got into the cabin over worse surfaces than I’d like. The other was the passenger’s inability to operate the radio. It’s not working. I could do that with buttons on the steering wheel etc. Funny how much that irritated my passenger. And if it irritated my passenger… well, you know how it is.

But I have to say that the Niro plug-in gave me a lot of pleasure. The 1.6 liter petrol engine had oodles of power and as it wasn’t a big vehicle it contributed to good balance and a lower center of gravity.

I was in a great driving position and since my car had a power seat with exceptional thigh support, I quickly got comfortable.

There was decent room in the back for adults, and adequate boot space considering there was a battery underneath.

The cabin – I had first class equipment – deserves a special mention. As in most cabins these days, the infotainment screens caught the eye, but the simple lines of the dashboard design didn’t go unnoticed. I felt completely at home in it.

There are two PHEV specification levels: entry-level “K3” and top-of-the-range “K4”.

The K3 costs from 38,500 euros; the K4 starts at €41,500.

Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, a 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation system, LED headlights with bi-function projection, mobile phone charger, Apple Car Play/Android Auto with voice control, intelligent cruise control, automatic Dual zone air conditioning.

K4 adds dials for drive, reverse, and park (worked well); power front seats, heated rear seats, heads-up display, 10.25-inch LCD driver display.

VERDICT: The Niro PHEV scores on all important fronts. It has to be that good in a cut-throat market.​​​​​​.​​​​​​ It’s another plug-in from KIA… but the new Niro isn’t just another plug-in

Fry Electronics Team

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