- Generous equipment
- Comfortable and refined
- Not great to drive
- Underpowered engine
- Not congestion charge exempt
Hybrid crossover is a great family car.
The Kia Niro combines two of the hottest trends in the motoring world right now. First introduced in 2016, the Niro is both a crossover, and an eco-friendly hybrid. Because of this, it’s likely to attract a lot of buyers. Unlike a lot of hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, the Niro is more conventionally styled. So you won’t have to look like an eco-warrior when you’re driving around town. With a practical boot space, well-constructed interior, and low emissions, it’s a winning package. It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but the fact that you can get a cool crossover, without harming the environment, make it a winner in our eyes.
Simple elegant design, and impressive practicality.
If you’ve been in a new Kia recently, you’ll be fairly familiar with what the Niro has to offer. That’s no bad thing, but it doesn’t have the futuristic design of the Prius. There’s plenty of practical storage space however, and you’ll get plenty of kit as standard.
The dashboard design in the Niro is one that favours simplicity, and usability, over flashy design. So although the Niro is most definitely a car that points towards tomorrow, its interior is firmly set in the present tense. Material quality is impressive in all the right areas, with soft-touch materials featuring heavily. There are some harder, cheaper-feeling plastics if you look hard enough, but you’re unlikely to come across them unless you’re nit-picking. Controls are logically laid out, and easy to use. It’s a hybrid car, that won’t leave you baffled when you’re in the driving seat.
Practicality is hugely important for any family buyer looking to purchase a crossover. And the Niro doesn’t disappoint. There’s plenty of head, and legroom in the back seats, though the middle seat is only really suited to children, or for adults on short journeys. The 427-litre boot capacity is comparable with the Niro’s rivals, like the Nissan Qashqai. Though it can’t quite match the 502 litres that the Prius offers. Nevertheless, there’s more than enough room for day-to-day family life.
As with most modern Kias, equipment levels are generous no matter which trim you go for. The entry-level 1 trim comes with alloy wheels, DAB radio, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, a digital instrument cluster, LED daytime running lights, and Android Auto. It’s almost rude to call it entry-level in all honesty. 2 trim adds a 7” touchscreen infotainment system that adds satnav and a reversing camera, as well as automatic wipers, heated electric mirrors, reversing sensors, and improved trim quality. 3 and First Edition trims add even more goodies, but they do take the Niro over the road tax exemption threshold, which is worth considering.
All in all the Niro’s interior is a fantastic blend of simplicity, quality, practicality, and generosity. It’s not the most forward-thinking design, but it does allow normal car drivers to get used to hybrid life, without spending days reading handbooks.
Comfortable, but not a great deal of fun.
Family focused crossovers aren’t known for being great drivers’ cars, and the Niro is no different. This might disappoint some, but for family buyers it won’t make a great deal of difference. This is especially the case when you consider just how easy it is to drive around town. The steering is light and precise, which makes weaving in and out of city centre traffic a breeze. And whilst it does lack feedback and engagement at speed, it never feels anxious or uncomfortable.
Suspension and Chassis
Comfort and refinement are of huge importance for family buyers, and the Niro certainly won’t disappoint. The soft suspension setup allows the Niro to be a relaxed cruiser. Even the worst British roads aren’t a problem for the Niro. Though it’s worth noting that bigger alloy wheels do reduce comfort somewhat. At speed there’s very little in the way of road and wind noise, allowing you to rack up the motorway miles without getting sore ears.
Gearbox options in the Niro come only in one guise. No matter which spec you go for, you’re going to get a 6-speed DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission. For a hybrid, this is a big plus point. You won’t have to deal with the noise that you’d usually get from the CVT automatics usually fitted to hybrids. It feels like a normal car when you’re behind the wheel, and that can only be a good thing, especially for buyers taking their first step into hybrid ownership.
Only one engine. It’s quiet and refined, but it isn’t quick.
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Niro, you’ve only got the one option. Kia has worked hard to make the Niro’s hybrid powerplant work in everyday life. And you can tell. It’s reasonably well balanced, though it could perhaps do with a little more power.
Those interested in flatline speed probably aren’t going to be too impressed with the Niro. The 1.6 GDi petrol engine, combined with the 1.57kWh battery, work together to produce 139bhp. From a standing start, the Niro will also accelerate from 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds. They’re certainly not figures to get hearts racing, but for most situations it works well. Overtaking at speed can make the Niro feel a little sluggish however.
One of the main plus points of the Niro is its eco credentials. Hybrids are hugely popular amongst buyers at the minute, due to their low CO2 emissions. You’ll have to pick your spec carefully however. Go for a 1 or 2 trim model, and you’ll get impressively low 88g/km CO2 emissions. But unfortunately the higher spec 3 and First Edition trims take it just over the magic 100g/km mark. The 2 is the best bet for most, especially when you consider it can achieve up to 74.3mpg. Impressive stuff from Kia.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, but only with the added kit.
Like nearly every car in its class, the Kia Niro easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. But there is a slight catch. It only achieved it with the optional safety pack fitted. With this on board, the Niro scored 91% in adult safety, 80% in child safety, 70% in pedestrian safety, and 81% in safety assist. Hugely impressive.
Standard safety kit includes seven airbags, electronic stability management, and Isofix child seat points. The optional safety pack (which a lot of buyers will go for), adds a huge lineup of the latest electronic safety aids. There really are too many to list. But rest assured. If you’re behind the wheel of a Niro, you know that you and your family will be safe.
Excellent value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation.
The Kia Niro represents great value for money for family buyers. Efficiency does vary between model to model, but go for a Niro in the 1 or 2 trim and you won’t have to pay any road tax at all. Fuel efficiency is similarly impressive, with no model achieving less than 64mpg (though again, the lower spec models achieve 10mpg more). As with all Kias, you’ll get a seven year transferable warranty as standard. So you won’t have to worry about garage costs for a long time yet.
Insurance groups for the Niro again depend on which model you go for. But no matter which model you go for, you’re probably going to be paying less than you would for an equivalent rival. All models bar the most premium 3 trim are in group 12, whilst the luxurious 3 itself finds itself in group 14.
Despite being a relative newcomer to the car market, depreciation is still a factor to consider with the Niro, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as high as ever, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
If you’re on the lookout for a cool, family-focused crossover, and you don’t want to ruin the planet, the Niro might just be the car for you. It might not be as striking as the Prius, nor is the interior technology quite so high-tech, but it’s truly a no-maintenance family car, that will make switching to hybrid as easy as possible. And with exceptional running costs, a practical boot space, impressive safety, and Kia’s unbeatable 7 year warranty, it really is one hell of a car.
Buying a used Kia Niro online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Kia Niro for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Kia Niro. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Kia Niro online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Kia Niro? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Niro, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Kia Niro, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Kia to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.