When you walk down the street next, look around you at the cars that pass by. It’s quite likely that one of those many cars is a Kia but we won’t blame you for not recognising it. That’s because recent years have seen the household automotive brand overhauled for a luxurious new look. Blink and you’ll miss it. In early 2022 I was lucky enough to test drive one of these models, the Kia EV6 range and again recently with the Kia Niro on a long road trip.
There are many differing features between the two ranges, namely with performance and size, but as I slid into the heated leather seats of the Niro I instantly recognised one thing: they both just look so good.
In July, the brand launched the all-new Kia Niro in Hybrid Electric (HEV) and full Electric (EV) iterations for the customer wanting a small SUV with high-tech and style. Taking strong influence from the 2019 HabaNiro concept car, its stylish and bold crossover looks are combined with a high-tech two-tone body, C-Pillars and the new signature Kia Tiger Face. In addition and for the first time, the Niro range provides options for personalisation with a choice of contrasting C-Pillar colours.
When it comes to equally-stylish interior of the Kia Niro, the panoramic high-definition digital display screen is front and centre. The system has been designed to be easy to use with sharp graphics and a highly intuitive layout, enabling users to personalise, access and operate the vehicle’s connectivity, usability and functionality. Below the screen are large adjustable cupholders and a Qi charging pad in the GT-line to ensure your phone battery will never die again (at least when you’re in the car). In addition, and a favourite feature of this self-confessed over packer, is 425 litres of boot load capacity – 15 litres more that its predecessor.
With fuel prices rising (and rising and rising) the efficiency and performance of HEV model is extremely impressive. Dependent on the type of driving that lies ahead the Niro will intuitively switch between fuel and electric consumption. Kinetic energy from breaking and slowing will regenerate the battery meaning that driving short distances and in the city is the most efficient use of the Niro – it’s fascinating to watch on the smart dash. For long trips and freeway driving, the HEV Niro is capable of achieving 4.0 litres/100 kms combined fuel consumption. For context, I drove seven-plus hours and did not fill up the car once.
Alongside standard safety features from a modern car is a range of new technology including Centre Side Airbag, Multi Collision Braking (MCB), Electronic Chromic Mirror (ECM), Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA), Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA) and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA). This is combined with luxurious convenience features such as Heated and Ventilated Seats in the front, Heated Steering Wheel, Head-Up Display (HUD), Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA-Entry) and Smart Key with Push Button Start.
I hadn’t had the chance to trial the Kia Connect but since we’re talking about convenience, the smartphone app allows users to connect with their vehicle remotely. You can sync calendars, plan journeys with online navigation and access onboard features including live traffic alerts and real-time weather forecasts.
With all of this in mind it should be noted that the Kia Niro HEV range hold a pretty accessible price range – between $44,380 AUD and $50,030 – for hybrid technology. The EV iteration – which can also come with a sunroof and an 8 speaker Harmon/Kardon sound system – ranges between $65,300 and $72,100. For more information, visit the Kia website or visit a dealership to see the beauty in person.