New 2022 Kia Niro electric and hybrid SUV unveiled

The next generation of Kia's family SUV will continue to be available with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric power; more details and prices will be announced closer to launch

This is the all-new, second-generation Kia Niro, set to arrive in the UK during 2022. The popular family SUV has received a significant styling update, a new infotainment setup and features recycled materials in the cabin. Like its predecessor, the new Niro will be offered with a choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric drivetrains. 

The styling of the latest Niro has been heavily influenced by the brand’s Habaniro concept from 2019, with the new SUV unveiled at the 2021 Seoul Mobility Show in Korea sporting vertical tail-lights and a few other design elements inspired by that concept. But the new Niro also shares some styling cues with the recently unveiled Kia Sportage SUV, including a version of the Korean brand’s ‘tiger face’ grille that’s flanked by slim LED daytime running lights. 

Inside, the cabin has a lot more in common with the Kia EV6 electric car, with the dual-screen infotainment setup and two-spoke steering wheel looking to have been taken directly from the zero-emissions coupe-SUV. Extensive use has also been made of sustainable materials inside, including recycled wallpaper for the headlining and seats made from bio-materials.

Kia has yet to announce any specific details about the hybrid or battery-electric powertrains that’ll be available in the new Niro, but has revealed that the hybrid models will offer a ‘Greenzone Drive Mode’. This will automatically switch the car from petrol to electric power when it recognises that you’re driving through ‘green zones’ like residential areas, or near schools or hospitals. Owners can also register their home and workplace as ‘green zones’ in the car’s navigation system as well.

DrivingElectric understands the new Niro will use an updated version of the previous car’s underpinnings rather than the new E-GMP platform, which is reserved for the brand’s pure-electric models like the EV6 and the two zero-emissions SUVs that'll follow it up. The three powertrains are likely to be transferred over, too, albeit with some performance and efficiency upgrades.

The all-new Niro will go up against a huge array of mid-size family SUVs when it goes on sale next year, with the plug-in hybrid version facing competition from the likes of the Renault Captur E-TECH, SEAT Leon e-Hybrid and MG HS. The fully electric version, meanwhile, will rival the likes of the Hyundai Kona Electric, the MG ZS EV and the Vauxhall Mokka-e. It has not yet been confirmed whether the 'e-Niro' name will be retained for the second generation of the car, or if it'll adopt the 'Niro EV' name used in most markets apart from the UK.

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