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Autocar has acquired a Kia Niro for a nine month long test and editor Darren Moss has published his first impression review recently with plenty of comparisons to the Nissan Qashqai. He has always wondered what a Qashqai would be like with a hybrid powertrain after test driving a diesel variant for six months. Well now he has a chance to find out with Kia’s new Niro hybrid.

Sharing a platform and powertrain with the Hyundai Ioniq, the NIro’s 1.6-liter engine and motor can produce a combined 139 horsepower.

Sure, its base price is pricier than the Qashqai, but it still costs £2300 cheaper than a Prius and on top of the extra cabin space the Niro comes with dual-zone climate control, automatic lights, cruise control and a lane keeping system. There’s four trims to choose from the base model starting at £21,635 and the top-tier model selling for £27,385.

As for how it drives, the Niro smoothly shifts between electric and engine power with the petrol engine providing power most of the time. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission performs better than what you’ll find in competing models, but where the Niro does fall behind is throttle response, which Moss describes as “loose”.

Another gripe he had with the Niro was its real world fuel economy since he’s only seeing a return of around 42mph. Maybe that number will improve once the Niro has been broken in and there’s still plenty of time for him to fall in love with the hybrid in this nine month long drive test.
 

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42mph? That should read 42 mpg. That is indeed pretty bad considering that is British gallons. The equivalent U.S. figure is 35 mpg. While it appears from the pictures he has the 18" wheels that are less efficient, I'm assuming this "professional" journalist made the rookie mistake of a single and first fill up to calculate initial mpg which can be wildly skewed.
 

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The journalist tester posted a week ago on the Ioniq UK forum requesting feedback from Niro owners to go along with his own findings. I messaged him via Facebook about posting a similar query on this forum. I just now read the article and saw a picture of his face. That article also has comments and couple of them dissed him as well about not giving the back details on the mpg figure, one saying "a one off testers rough economy on the thrash back from the dealers!".

British and European drivers have a very different perspective than Americans, as they are taxed by the CO2 emissions. The tax status of a car is more important than mpg.
 

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The journalist tester posted a week ago on the Ioniq UK forum requesting feedback from Niro owners to go along with his own findings. I messaged him via Facebook about posting a similar query on this forum. I just now read the article and saw a picture of his face. That article also has comments and couple of them dissed him as well about not giving the back details on the mpg figure, one saying "a one off testers rough economy on the thrash back from the dealers!".

British and European drivers have a very different perspective than Americans, as they are taxed by the CO2 emissions. The tax status of a car is more important than mpg.
Americans should be equally concerned since what happens on that end of the world is bound to happen in the west, just a matter of time, its an early warning of whats to come.

Anyone looking for a long term buy of 5+ years needs to consider that.
 

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The phrase "carbon tax" makes it unlikely that Congress will pass such a law anytime soon, even though there are many conservative economists that like it.
 
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