After a lengthy delay, Kia has confirmed hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric variants of its Niro small SUV are now on sale in Australia.
Overseas, the Niro has been available for quite some time. But Kia Australia says the delay in getting it here was caused by high demand overseas. And although we get the model nearer to the end of its lifecycle, it is set to pave the way for the next-gen version to merge into our market more seamlessly in the next year or so.
The base model hybrid comes powered by a 1.6-litre GDI petrol unit producing 77.2kW and 147Nm, mated to an electric motor which adds 32kW of power, bringing its combined output to 104kW and 265Nm. The plug-in hybrid version has the same powertrain with a combined output of 104kW and 265Nm, but offers an electric driving of 58km.
Fuel economy figures, as per for the official combined cycle, stand at 3.8L/100km for the hybrid, while the plug-in hybrid is rated at just 1.3L/100km.
The range-topping fully electric version features a 64kWh, 356-volt lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the floor, which supplies power to an electric motor pushing out 150kW and 395Nm. This is essentially the same as the system in the Hyundai Kona Electric, sharing the same platform.
According to the WLTP test cycle, the Niro electric offers an average range of 455km, and comes fitted with brake regeneration technology with three levels of customisable energy recuperation, depending on which drive mode is selected. With the most aggressive energy recuperation settings engaged, the Niro offers ‘one pedal driving’.
In terms of charging capabilities, Kia is packaging the Niro plug-in hybrid with a 3.3kW AC charger that can fill the battery pack from empty in two hours and 15 minutes. The pure electric Niro receives a 7.2kW AC charger, which fully charges the 64kWh battery in 9.5 hours, and can be DC fast-charged from 0-80 per cent in an hour and 15 minutes on a 50kW unit, or 54 minutes on a 100kW fast-charger.
In terms of the trim specs, Kia says that all base S-level models come packaged with regenerative braking, 16-inch aerodynamic alloys, roof rails, halogen headlights, LED running lights, an 8.0-inch touch-screen system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, keyless entry, rear camera with parking sensors, and power adjustable seats.
The pure-EV S-level variant comes with 17-inch aerodynamic alloys, a 7.0-inch driver’s display, expanded drive mode select, as well as wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Kia is throwing in a host of safety equipment as standard on the base S, with adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane follow assist, and seven airbags. Buyers opting for the upper-level Sport get LED headlights, a larger 10.25-inch touch-screen media unit with sat nav, paddle-shifters, premium seats, alloy pedals, blind-spot detection, as well as rear cross-traffic alert.
The hybrid version uses 18-inch alloy wheels, while the plug-in hybrid packs 16-inch aerodynamic alloys, and the range-topping EV gains an eight-speaker JBL premium sound system.
In terms of space and practicality, Kia says the Niro offers 410L of space in the hybrid, 324L in the PHEV, and 451L in the all-electric variant.
Two-thirds of the Niro lineup will be covered by Kia’s seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, with capped-price servicing and roadside assist, while the pure electric receives a seven-year/150,000km warranty. Prices start from the following (not including on-road costs):
2021 Kia Hybrid S: $39,990
2021 Kia Hybrid Sport: $43,890
2021 Kia PHEV S: $46,590
2021 Kia PHEV Sport: $50,490
2021 Kia EV S: $62,590
2021 Kia EV Sport: $65,990