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.