Kia Niro

Carpedia

Jun 24th, 2021

Kia Niro

Kia Niro EV was the first electric vehicle with the "Car of the Year" award by any automotive magazine. In addition, Kia Niro Hybrid received the Guinness World Record title for the most fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle in the world. So yes, there are many interesting facts about this crossover, but more importantly, this is a pretty good vehicle in every aspect, and we are glad to have it in Australia finally.

Despite that it's been around for nearly five years in parts of the world like Europe or North America, Kia Niro Australia debuted only a month ago. It is a small crossover that comes in three forms of electrification a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and an all-electric vehicle.

The First Generation of Kia Niro (2021-Present)

Concept and Serial Production of the Kia Niro

Kia Niro appeared for the first time as a concept in 2013 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. It came as a three-door crossover, with tons of fancy design solutions, including butterfly doors and a relatively advanced hybrid powertrain. 

However, it was clear that such a vehicle doesn’t have a future in serial production. So, the Korean manufacturer came up with another concept a year later in China, under the KX-3 name but with a more conventional design approach that seemed more production-ready.

Finally, the production version arrived in 2016 with a hybrid powertrain. The plug-in hybrid came two years later, while the Kia Niro EV debuted in 2019. However, none of these versions was available in Australia, not until this year. It finally debuted for the 2021 model year, with all three powertrain options in the offer.

Design and Specs

The Kia Niro is a compact crossover, which measures 2,700mm in wheelbase and is 4,335 millimetres long, so we can say it features a typical size for the class. Although bigger, it shares a lot of mechanical parts with Hyundai Kona. Moreover, like its subcompact sibling, it rides on a platform that allows all forms of electrification, which is probably the most important quality of this exciting crossover.

What’s also great is its "un hybrid" look, as how the company likes to call it. It looks pretty similar to other models in Kia's lineup, and even the differences between the three versions are minor. For example, the Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid look pretty much the same, while the Kia Niro EV stands out with a unique grille cover, typical for electric cars.

The interiors are also the same in all three models, except for the instrument cluster and few more details. Furthermore, even the trim level organisation is the same, and each version comes in two grades – S and Sport.

Kia Niro Dimensions

  • Height: 1,570 mm
  • Length: 4,375 mm
  • Width: 1,805 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2700 mm
  • Weight: 1,409-1,434 kg (Kia Niro HEV, Kia Niro PHEV); 1,791 kg (Kia Niro Electric)
  • Turning circle: 10.6 m

Kia Niro Versions

Kia Niro Hybrid

The most basic version of this crossover is the one with a classic hybrid setup. The powertrain is based on a 1.6-litre inline-four petrol engine. This unit gets help from a 32-kW electric motor for the combined output of 104kW. The petrol engine comes in pair with a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while the electric motor gets power from a small 1.56-kWh battery. The car isn't particularly fast but provides a pretty impressive fuel economy, which goes around 4.4L/100km combined.

Kia Niro Hybrid Specs

  • Engine Capacity: 1,580cc
  • Number of cylinders: 4
  • Engine power: 77 kW
  • Maximum torque: 147 Nm
  • Electric motor: 32 kW
  • Battery capacity: 1.56 kWh
  • Combined output: 104 kW
  • Fuel tank capacity: 45L
  • Fuel consumption: 4.4L/100km (combined)

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

The Kia Niro PHEV has a lot of things in common with the HEV model. It uses the same petrol engine and transmission but comes with a more powerful 44-kW electric motor. However, the combined output is the same due to the slightly different calibration of the two units. The biggest difference is in a much bigger, 8.9-kWh battery pack, which provides up to 42km in the EV mode.

Kia Niro PHEV Specs

  • Engine Capacity: 1,580cc
  • Number of cylinders: 4
  • Engine power: 77 kW
  • Maximum torque: 147 Nm
  • Electric motor: 44 kW
  • Battery capacity: 8.9 kWh
  • Combined output: 104 kW
  • Fuel tank capacity: 43L
  • Fuel consumption: 1.3L/100km (combined)
  • EV range: 42 km

Kia Niro EV

The all-electric model sits on the top of the offer. In Australia, it is available only in a more powerful version and with a bigger battery. So, you get a 150kW electric motor, which sends power via a single-speed transmission. The motor is coupled with a 64-kWh battery pack, which provides up to 455 kilometres with a single charging. Speaking about the charging, this crossover also supports DC fast charger so that you can charge 80% of the battery in just 75 minutes. Compared to hybrid models, it is notably peppier. However, it is also heavier for about 350 kilograms. We are sure that more experienced drivers will feel the difference when turning corners.

Kia Niro EV Specs

  • Electric motor: 150 kW
  • Max torque: 395 Nm
  • Transmission: Single-speed auto
  • Battery Capacity: 64 kWh
  • Max Range: 455 km (WLTP)

What is the ANCAP rating for Kia Niro?

According to the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), the Niro is one of the safest Kia models on the market, with a five-star score. Safety scores are particularly excellent regarding adult occupant protection (91%), while child occupant protection is also good (80%). Still, keep in mind that only HEV and PHEV models were on the test. The all-electric version is yet to be tested.

Kia Niro ANCAP Score

  • Adult Occupant Protection (AOP): 91%
  • Child Occupant Protection (COP): 80%
  • Vulnerable Road User Protection (VRU): 70%
  • Safety Assist (SA): 81%
  • Overall Score: 5 stars

How long do Kia Niro batteries last?

This is still a very fresh model in Australia, so we can't tell you much about the battery quality. However, we are pretty sure that the quality of these batteries isn't lower than batteries in other hybrid cars. In other words, these batteries will last at least 160,000 kilometres before any need for replacement.

A good thing to know is that Kia Niro EV comes with a 10-year battery warranty. In hybrid models, you can choose different coverage programs, which go between 5 and 10 years. 

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By Nebojsa Grmusa