Following its unveiling at the Geneva International Motor Show in March, the upgraded Kia Niro is now on sale in the UK with prices starting at £24,590 (for the 1.6 GDi 6-speed DCT Hybrid).
A number of improvements have been made to the Niro, Kia’s best-selling electrified crossover range with a new exterior design, a more upscale interior and enhanced connectivity. The Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models also feature Kia’s advanced new UVO CONNECT telematics system, which brings additional connected functionality to the car.
Updated exterior and interior
Retaining its stylish crossover design, the upgraded Kia Niro features a number of updates for 2019. The makeover aligns the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid variants of the range with the appearance of the all-new all-electric e-Niro.
Exterior changes for the Kia Niro include a new front and rear bumper to give it a more purposeful appearance, redesigned LED lighting and 16 and 18 inch alloy wheels (depending on what grade of car you go for).
Inside there are a number of visual and material upgrades, to help it look and feel more quality. The top of the dashboard is finished in high-quality soft-touch coating for example, while the instrument panel features elegant new gloss black trim with satin chrome highlights.
Kia is also introducing a new 10.25 inch TFT-LCD widescreen for the main display on grades 3 and 4, with a 7 inch TFT Supervision instrument cluster for the driver included on grade 4. The car is fitted with an 8 inch touchscreen infotainment system and 4.2 inch TFT instrument binnacle as standard on grade 2.
Its crossover packaging – unique among other hybrids at the same price point – means owners benefit from generous interior room and high cargo capacity with flexible storage space. Unlike many other hybrid models, the new Niro offers an optional Towing Pack, enabling the car to tow loads of up to 1300 kg in weight (braked).
Engaging to drive
With fully-independent front and rear suspension and a slick-shifting six-speed auto dual-clutch transmission (which you can change via steering wheel-mounted paddles), the Kia Niro delivers a more direct response and entertaining drive than traditional electronic continuously-variable transmissions (e-CVT) found on other hybrids.
Kia is now equipping the new Niro Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models with a new electronic parking brake, accompanied by larger rear brakes to improve stopping power in all conditions.
The Niro is powered by an efficient 1.6-litre GDi (Gasoline Direct injection) engine, twinned with either a 1.56kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack (Niro Hybrid models) or 8.9kWh (for Plug-in Hybrid models). Carbon dioxide emissions for the Niro Hybrid are as low as 99g/km (NEDC), with emissions from Plug-in Hybrid models even lower at 31g/km (NEDC). The Niro Plug-in Hybrid can achieve a pure electric driving range of 30 miles.
Kia launches UVO CONNECT telematics system
The new Niro is among the first Kia models in Europe to offer the brand’s innovative UVO CONNECT telematics system, which will trickle down to other European models in future. Accessible via the 10.25 inch touchscreen and the owner’s smartphone, UVO CONNECT features a new Kia Live system, which uses its own SIM card to retrieve and update live data. This gives owners access to live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest, fuel prices and details of potential on- and off-street parking – including price, location and availability.
The second element of the UVO system is the UVO App, designed for compatibility on Android and Apple smartphones. The app offers a range of features to provide diagnostic data about their car and the trips they take and enables owners to activate a range of remote functions and features remotely. So, depending on the country, users can remotely send route directions to their car before a journey; check the location of their vehicle; and access vehicle reports and diagnostic notifications.
The 10.25 inch touchscreen navigation system features Bluetooth® multi-connection as standard, enabling occupants to connect two mobile devices at once, as well as Apple CarPlayTM and Android AutoTM. Its advanced split-screen functionality lets users control or monitor different vehicle features at the same time, customising the screen with a series of different widgets. This means the driver can follow navigation directions or keep track of energy flow through the hybrid powertrain, while passengers can simultaneously choose their favourite songs or check the weather forecast.
New safety technologies
The upgraded Niro range sees the introduction of a series of new active driver-assistive safety technologies. Already available with Adaptive Smart Cruise Control, the upgraded Niro Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid are now offered with additional Stop & Go functionality. Adaptive Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go follows the preceding vehicle and can now bring the Niro to a stop if traffic slows to a halt, bringing the car back up to speed as the car in front moves off.
Lane Following Assist is available for the first time on Niro Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models, following its introduction on the electric e-Niro. This technology tracks vehicles in front of the car in traffic and detects road markings to keep the Niro in its lane on the motorway. The system controls acceleration, braking and steering depending on the convoy of vehicles in front, using external sensors to maintain a safe distance, while also assisting the driver change lanes. Lane Following Assist operates between zero and 81mph.
The Niro continues to be offered with a comprehensive suite of active safety technologies. Depending on specification, these include Forward Collision-avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist, Blind-spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross-traffic Collision Warning, and Intelligent Speed Limit Warning, in addition to the new electronic parking brake.
Uniquely among all hybrid cars in Europe, the Niro is sold with Kia’s industry-leading seven-year, 100,000 mile warranty as standard.
Success around the world
Since sales began in 2016; over 270,000 examples of the Niro have been sold globally, with more than 100,000 units sold in Europe. In the UK, over 14,000 PHEV and Hybrid models have been sold.
Paul Philpott, President of Kia Motors UK said: “The Niro has become a key growth driver for Kia in Europe and is a cornerstone of our electrified product strategy. Its cool crossover design, high versatility, and low emissions and running costs make it an attractive proposition for both private and business buyers.”