KIA NIRO HEV 4: the gloves are off…..

IF there’s one thing likely to grab the attention of your average driver it’s a heated steering wheel.

Not, admittedly, at this time of year, but as the night’s begin to draw in and the mercury begins its inexorable plummet downwards, little touches like that mean a lot.

As do heated seats front and rear and a cabin that can warm up quickly and efficiently.So it’s gloves off for Kia’s latest Niro, which actually offers a whole lot more for the motorist still undecided over full electric power.

This hybrid offering, which combines a 1.6 litre four cylinder engine with a 1.32kWh Li-ion polymer battery, gives you around 60mpg and respectable performance in a package that offers a decent amount of space and comfort for the five occupants. Plug-in hybrid and full electric versions are also available.

Mention the word hybrid and the assumption might be it’s put together to appease the Tofu munching, open-sandal wearing, Guardian reading fringe, but Niro skimps on nothing. It has the style, practicality and appeal of a compact crossover, and one that is equally as well finished in terms of what is gives you as other Kia offerings – well up there in the quality stakes and all also with a high level of standard equipment.

There are few challenges when it comes to getting up and running. Press the starter button, select drive and off you go, the electric motor dropping in and out as it sees fit. Forward impetus is instant, and while the petrol engine side of the equation is no ball of fire, it provides adequate performance in a car where the accent is as much on efficiency and economy as it is on comfort and all-round practicality.Niro has an excellent driving position – the steering wheel has tilt and telescopic adjustment – and there’s plenty legroom for tall drivers, with decent space behind for rear seat passengers, who as already mentioned also get heated outer seats.

It comes with a lengthy list of safety features and is actually Kia’s second best selling model, with over 78,000 of them on UK roads since its launch in 2016.

It flows nicely on the road, soaks up bumps fairly well and has a fluid feel to it. Even on a long cross country run it was comfortable from start to finish. Which is a nice feeling to have as you lock up and walk away.

The interior has a quality finish and look, and uses sustainable materials. It incorporates some neat touches, like USB charge ports on the sides of the front seats, a clear head-up display for the driver, seats backs in the front that allow rear seat passengers a hand hold when getting in and out. Appreciated by my weekend rear seat passenger who’s getting on a bit….


Kia Niro HEV 4

Price: £34,660
Engine: 1.6 litre, four cylinder, petrol, 1.32kWh battery
Power: 139bhp
Torque: 195lb/ft
Transmission: six speed automatic
Top speed: 100mph
0-62mph: 10.8 seconds
Economy: 60.1 mpg
CO2 emissions: 106g/km

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