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Review of the new Kia Niro EV prototype


We’re not sure where the sweet spot of Kia Niro The EV range will be the largest of this range; Its price puts it closer to the starting tier of the larger and more capable EV6. But the base package here is strong, with impressive in-car technology, a bit more practicality than the old e-Niro, and safe, solid driving dynamics.

The Kia Niro has been an important ‘transitional model’ for the Korean marque – a car sold as mixtureone dip into the mixture and a Pure EV, and thus a product that has attracted customers at different stages of the electrification journey. In the UK, it actually was Thatis the second best-selling model since it first appeared in dealers in 2016.

But now, with an ever-increasing number of bespoke EVs on the market (not least the best of Kia’s EV6), it’s time for a Brand new Niro. The core principles remain; This is a car with a choice of powertrains, including both with internal combustion engines. But it takes an all-new platform, increases the level of in-car technology, and more space in an attempt to make it a more comprehensive proposition. It’s a particularly important appearance in the electric vehicle market, since e-Niro second in the UK net electricity sales ranking for 2021.

Indeed, the Niro EV (which has had a name change for this generation) is expected to account for more than half of UK sales once the first deliveries start arriving at the end of summer. The hybrid – with a combined output of 139bhp and CO2 emissions from 100g/km – will be the next best seller, and the PHEV, delivering 180bhp and up to 40 miles of electric travel – is capable of Only 1/10 of the total Niros sold.

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Indeed, given the list price, you would doubt that many private buyers would stare intently at the PHEV, find it costs just £2,000 less than a full EV, and decide it’s time to scrap it. Completely gasoline-powered.

Regardless of the powertrain, this Niro is the first Kia to sit on the latest generation of the company’s ‘K’ platform. It grows a bit overall, to 4,420mm long, with a wheelbase increased by a few centimeters, now 2,720mm. However, the growth spurt won’t be enough to overcome the fact that the Niro EV is still included in a platform that must also house an internal combustion engine; it’s still longer overall VW‘S ID.3is based on the EV-only MEB architecture, but the distance between the front and rear axles on the Kia – the key to cabin space – is 5 centimeters shorter.

The overall look is clearly an evolution of what was before, but the front end has been reduced and at the rear, there’s a novelty C-pillar that actually sits slightly proud of the main body and helps. air ducts along the sides. It can come in a contrasting color, so expect Kia to experiment with this color on special and personalized versions over time.

The Niro EV has a front-mounted single-cylinder producing 201bhp and 255Nm of torque, so it’s the most powerful model overall, with a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds. The battery’s usable capacity is 64.8kWh, and Kia claims an average energy consumption of 3.8 miles/kWh, which should give you 250 miles of range (officially announced figure is 286). mile). The car can be recharged at 80kW, raising the battery level from 10 to 80% in 45 minutes – and if you choose a charging station as your navigation destination, it will preheat the battery en route to ensure you can get Get the fastest deposit rate possible.

Kia offers the same trim structure on all three Niro powertrains – but what’s more memorable is that the EV has a few great extras even in the entry-level ‘2’ spec. As with the Hybrid and PHEV, it comes with LED headlights, rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, and an 8-inch infotainment system with Android and Apple integration. But it’s worth noting that the EV has 17-inch wheels instead of 16-inches and a 10.25-inch fully digital instrument panel that replaces the regular dials of the other versions.

A Niro EV ‘2’ will cost £34,995 and stepping up to a ‘3’ will cost up to £37,745. This spec includes faux leather upholstery, front parking sensors, 18-inch wheels, heated front seats and steering wheel, and keyless entry. You also get a three-pin socket for plugging in external devices like a laptop or small refrigerator.

The flagship Niro EV ‘4’ costs from £40,495. This raises the infotainment screen to 10.25 inches and also includes rear seat heating, front seat ventilation, an upgraded Harman Kardon sound system, a head-up display. ups and vegan leather seats. Niro’s contrasting C-pillar ‘sword’ is only available on this version – at least for now; it’s a £150 option, while the dashboard comes in body color on all other versions.

Along the way, Niro makes a very sturdy case on its own – without ever delivering much sparkle or fun. The electric motor’s instantaneous torque provides enough propulsion, even with a modest 201bhp in a car that weighs almost a ton and three quarters. Harsh throttle input on anything other than dry tarmac will cause the front wheels to wobble for grip – but take a sensible approach and the Niro EV is quick enough to swerve through town traffic and get up to speed. on Highway.

As with the old e-Niro, you can adjust the brake regenerative settings with the paddles behind the steering wheel – and the most powerful configuration brings the car to a natural stop, allowing you to drive with just the side pedals. right around town if you think far enough ahead at traffic lights and intersections. If you need to use the brakes, modulation is an improvement on previous-generation vehicles, but the transition between recovery and disc and cushion still takes a bit of getting used to. You should be able to make progress smoothly enough, in a timely manner.

Kia’s chassis engineers have clearly been briefed on making sure the Niro EV doesn’t roll too hard, and you can feel how solid the basic setup is as soon as you stop the car. It can run the risk of becoming wobbly at low speeds – so we wanted to try an example of 18-inch wheels on UK roads – but once you’re up and running, it will helps you isolate yourself from road imperfections, while remaining with direct steering.

There’s no major involvement here, but even with a surprisingly high driving position (for all its crossover looks, the EV cabins below give a SUV– like the seat configuration), the Niro is a car you can rely on. With good body control and Sport mode selected to improve throttle response, you could even call it fast.

The improvement is solid enough, with wind noise and electric motor whine both nicely suppressed. And while there’s a bit of movement through the chassis from the road surface below, any tire bangs are less noticeable than on the e-Niro.

Our pre-production prototype still has some interior trim made from coarser plastic, so we’ll keep the fire burning when it comes to cabin quality. But despite that, in-car technology should look familiar to anyone driving today Sorento or latest Sport – or, really, the EV6. That means you get sharp, clear screens with solid user interfaces and quick response times.

It’s good to see that key features like heating and ventilation still have their own buttons, although they’re contained within a touch panel that can be switched to audio controls. It’s a new feature that should work fine – as long as you don’t need to constantly change the path and cabin temperature.

The boot, meanwhile, comes in at 475 liters – comfortably eclipsing what’s offered in a regular one VW Golf – and this capacity increases to 1,392 liters when the second row of seats is folded down. There’s also a 20-liter shallow front trunk that’s handy to keep the wet charging cable separate from your shopping spree. It’s a pity that you have to access it via the normal bonnet release, mind; Touching down the edge of the pit so the footrest feels like an obvious departure from internal combustion engine vehicles.

Model: Kia Niro EV4
Price: £40,495
Drive system: Electronic motor 64.8kWh batt./1x
Power / Torque: 201bhp / 255Nm
Transmission process: Single-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
Max speed: 104mph
Range: 286 miles
Charger: 80kW (10-80% 45 minutes)
On sale: Now

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