Kia Motors has made a number of improvements to the Niro, its best-selling electrified crossover range of ultra-low emission vehicles. The upgraded Niro Plug-in Hybrid model will make its global debut on 5 March 2019 at the Geneva International Motor Show.
The Niro, which combines crossover style practicality with ultra-low hybrid emissions, has been enhanced for 2019 with a new exterior design, a more upscale, high-quality interior, and new interior colour options. The Niro Plug-in Hybrid also feature Kia’s advanced new UVO CONNECT telematics system, which brings additional ‘connected’ functionality to the car.
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 12,900 PHEV and HEV models have been sold since 2016. The Niro crossover was Kia’s fifth best-selling model in Europe in 2018, with sales growing 33 per cent to 45,255 units – including 34,642 hybrids and 9,951 plug-in hybrids. The Niro range expanded at the end of 2018 with the launch of the fully-electric e-Niro.
Uniquely among all hybrid cars in Europe, the Niro is sold with Kia’s industry-leading seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty as standard. European sales of the upgraded Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid start during the second quarter of 2019. UK on-sale date, specification and pricing will be confirmed in due course.
Refreshed exterior design
Retaining its stylish crossover design, the upgraded Kia Niro features a handful of design updates for 2019. The refreshed design aligns the Plug-in Hybrid variant of the range with the appearance of the new all-electric e-Niro.
While the Niro retains its distinctive design and iconic ‘tiger-nose’ grille, new bumpers at the front and rear give it a more purposeful appearance and more confident stance on the road. The standard projection headlamps have been redesigned, incorporating Kia’s unique ‘ice-cube’ design, while buyers can specify optional full LED headlamps. The bumper features new LED daytime running lights below the headlamps with a unique double-arrow layout, as well as optional LED fog lamps.
At the rear of the car, newly-redesigned LED lights give the Niro a more distinctive and modern light signature. The new bumper design is finished with a silver-painted skid plate and incorporates new light reflectors and rear fog lamps in the corners.
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid is available with newly-designed 16-inch alloy wheels with dark grey inserts, contributing to its unique stance and design.
Upscale interior atmosphere and new colour options
Inside, Kia has introduced a series of visual and material upgrades, creating a more upscale atmosphere and enhancing cabin quality.
The top of the dashboard is finished in high-quality soft-touch coating, while the dashboard and instrument panel feature elegant new gloss black trim with silver or satin chrome highlights. Kia is also introducing an optional new 10.25-inch TFT-LCD widescreen for the main display, and 7.0-inch TFT Supervision instrument cluster for the driver. The car is fitted with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and 4.2-inch TFT instrument binnacle as standard.
The Niro range is now available with new options in the form of two colour packs. Depending on vehicle specification and market, the Niro can be finished with Red-Orange or Plum colour packs, adding a dash of colour and flair to the cabin. The Red-Orange colour pack adds colour contrast stitching to all cabin upholstery in a warm shade of red, with matching red-orange dashboard trim. The Plum colour pack adds new plum-coloured perforated leather upholstery with warm purple stitching on the seats and throughout the cabin, a new plum-coloured arm-rest in the doors, and satin chrome dashboard trim.
The interior also engages drivers more with the adoption of wheel-mounted paddle-shifters to change gear. The Niro Plug-in Hybrid is equipped with a slick-shifting six-speed dual-clutch transmission, delivering more direct and immediate responses – and a more entertaining drive – than traditional electronic continuously-variable transmissions (e-CVT) found on other hybrids.
Kia is now equipping the new Niro Plug-in Hybrid with a new electronic parking brake, accompanied by larger rear brakes to improve stopping power in all conditions.
Kia launches innovative UVO CONNECT telematics system
The Niro is among the first Kia models in Europe to offer the brand’s innovative UVO CONNECT telematics system, connecting drivers to the world around to provide them with invaluable information during a drive.
Kia is introducing the UVO CONNECT telematics system to all Plug-in Hybrid variants of the Niro range. The technology will be introduced to other European models in future.
Accessible via the optional 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. Niro Plug-in Hybrid models also provide charging station information, such as location, availability, and connection compatibility.
The second element of the UVO system is the UVO App, designed for compatibility on Android and Apple smartphones. The app offers users peace of mind with a range of features to provide diagnostic data about their car and the trips they take. The app also enables owners to activate a range of remote functions and features remotely. Depending on 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 with Bluetooth multi-connection as standard, enabling occupants to connect two mobile devices at once, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 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 allows the driver to have a single display (such as navigation or powertrain information), or combine numerous elements on-screen at the same time. 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. The Niro range is also offered with its existing 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
The technology has been developed to comply with the latest European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ensuring the highest levels of data privacy and protection.
New safety technologies available
The upgraded Niro range sees the introduction of a series of new active driver-assistive safety technologies. Already available with Smart Cruise Control, the upgraded Niro Plug-in Hybrid is now offered with additional Stop & Go functionality. 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 also 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 180 kph (112 mph).
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 and larger rear brakes.
Practical, efficient and engaging to drive
With fully-independent front and rear suspension and a slick-shifting six-speed double-clutch transmission, the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid offer a fine balance between on-road comfort and driver engagement.
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 Niro offers an optional Towing Pack, enabling the car to tow loads of up to 1,300 kg in weight (braked).
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid is powered by an efficient 1.6-litre GDi (Gasoline Direct injection) engine, twinned with 8.9 kWh. Carbon dioxide emissions for the Niro Plug-in Hybrid are as low as 31.3 g/km (WLTP combined cycle). The Niro Plug-in Hybrid can achieve pure electric city-driving range of up to 65 kilometres (40 miles), or a WLTP combined cycle electric range of 49 kilometres (30 miles).