New 2022 Kia Niro EV electric and Niro hybrid SUV: details, specs, prices and first-look video

The successor to the current Kia e-Niro has a range of up to 287 miles and £34,995 starting price; hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions remain part of the Niro line-up as well

The all-new Kia Niro EV will start from just under £35,000 when it arrives in the UK later this year, alongside two new Niro hybrids. The latest Niro Hybrid starts from £27,745, while the new Niro PHEV is priced from  £32,775.

Like its predecessor, this Niro is being offered with either hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully electric power, but the newcomer sits on a new platform, plus Kia has made improvements to each Niro’s powertrain. The popular family SUV has also received a significant styling update, while inside there’s a new infotainment setup and some recycled trim materials.

Key rivals for the e-Niro's successor include the Hyundai Kona Electric, Volkswagen ID.3 and the recently unveiled Smart #1. Meanwhile, the new Niro Hybrid and Niro PHEV face off against the likes of the Renault Captur E-TECH and Toyota C-HR in the hugely popular hybrid family SUV class.

The old model was called the 'e-Niro' in the UK, however, this new version will adopt the 'Niro EV' moniker previously used in most markets outside of this country. Pre-orders for the new Niro range are now open, with UK deliveries set to begin later this year.

New Kia Niro powertrains

The current e-Niro’s successor will use a 64.8kWh battery for up to 287 miles of driving on a full charge, according to Kia – only slightly more than the 282 miles the current model can manage. But, topping up from 10-80% battery capacity now takes 43 minutes from a suitably fast rapid charger. In lower temperatures, if you select a charging point as your destination in the Niro EV’s sat-nav, the car will automatically preheat its battery to shorten charge time.

The new pure-electric Niro will have the same 201bhp electric motor output as its predecessor, but with a lower maximum torque figure of 255Nm. Performance has taken a slight dip, with the new Niro EV capable of 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds, compared to the current 64kWh e-Niro’s 7.5-second 0-62mph time.

Then there’s the 2022 Niro Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV), which gets a new electric motor and a power increase over its predecessor – 180bhp compared to the current car's 139. There's also an increase in battery size (from 8.9 to 11.1kWh) resulting in a longer electric driving range of up to 40 miles, versus the outgoing car’s 30. CO2 emissions also see a reduction, from 31 to as low as 23g/km. Fuel-economy figures for the new Niro PHEV haven’t been disclosed yet, but we do know it’s capable of 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds.

Finally, the new Niro Hybrid (above) will use a 1.6-litre petrol engine with "improved cooling, friction and combustion technologies" coupled to an electric motor for a 139bhp power output. Kia says the improvements have helped it to achieve fuel consumption of just under 59mpg in Korean-market testing, however, a figure from the WLTP testing used for European markets hasn’t been disclosed yet. CO2 emissions for the Niro hybrid are now as low as 104g/km, while 0-62mph will take 10.4 seconds – over a second quicker than the current model.

The hybrid and plug-in hybrid Niros 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’, such as residential areas, or near schools or hospitals. Owners can also register their home and workplace as ‘green zones’ in the car’s navigation system.

In addition, reversing in the new Niro Hybrid and Niro PHEV is taken care of by the car’s electric motor, as Kia has removed the reverse gear from their six-speed dual-clutch transmissions to save weight.

Interior and technology

Inside, the new Niros feature a dual-screen infotainment setup, consisting of one 10.25-inch central touchscreen for media and other functions, plus a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel. That two-spoke steering wheel looks to have been taken directly from the Kia EV6 electric coupe-SUV, as does the switchable panel for the climate control/shortcut buttons. A 10-inch head-up display will be offered as well.

Extensive use has been made of sustainable materials inside, including recycled wallpaper for the headlining, while the Niro’s vegan leather seat upholstery contains Tencel – a natural fibre derived from eucalyptus trees.. Other features available include remote parking assistance, which enables the car to autonomously move in and out of tight spaces. Vehicle-to-load (V2L) functionality lets you use the electric Niro’s battery to power electrical appliances, which is something we’ve previously seen on the flagship EV6.

Kia has also added more insulation and padding into the latest Niro to reduce unwanted road noise, as well as engine noise in the hybrid models. Kia’s suite of DriveWise advanced driver assistance systems now features, too; this includes forward collision avoidance, lane-keeping assistance, highway driving assistance and driver attention warnings, among other safety kit. 

Design and practicality

The exterior styling of the latest Niro has been heavily influenced by the brand’s Habaniro concept from 2019; it sports vertical tail-lights and a few other design elements inspired by that prototype. But the new Niro also shares styling cues with the latest Sportage, including a version of the brand’s ‘tiger face’ grille flanked by slim LED daytime running lights.

Size-wise, the latest Niro is slightly larger overall than its predecessor, with Kia claiming the 20mm increase in wheelbase and new proportions have boosted cabin and boot space. Luggage capacity in the new electric Niro stands at 475 litres and there’s an additional 20 litres under the bonnet. That figure expands further to 1,392 litres with the rear seats folded down. The plug-in hybrid Niro has a 348-litre boot and a maximum capacity of 1,342 litres with the seats down, while seats-up and seats-down numbers for the regular hybrid are 451 litres and 1,445 litres respectively.

Prices, trim levels and equipment

The new Kia Niro is offered in three trim levels simply named 2, 3 and 4. However, equipment lists for the hybrid and electric models in the same spec do vary slightly. 

The Niro EV starts from £34,995 in 2 trim, and comes as standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, rear parking sensors and camera, dual-height boot floor, 10.25-inch digital driver’s display, eight-inch touchscreen, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

Upgrading to the 3 adds £2,750 to the electric Niro’s price tag, but adds a 10.25-inch central touchscreen, front parking sensors, wireless phone charger, highway driving assist, vehicle-to-load charging capability and the option of a heat pump to more efficiently warm up the cabin. 

The range-topping 4 adds a head-up display, artificial leather upholstery, heated rear seats and vented front seats, power tailgate, sunroof, a Harmon/Kardon sound system and the option of a contrasting C-Pillar finish. Prices for the Niro EV in 3 and 4 spec start from £37,745 and £40,495 respectively.

In 2 spec, the Niro Hybrid starts from £27,745, while the Niro Plug-In is priced at £32,775. These models get 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, eight-inch touchscreen, 4.2-inch digital screen for the instrument panel, cloth seats and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

The 3 trim Hybrid models come with 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10.25-inch central touchscreen, four-inch screen for the gauge cluster, heated seats and steering wheel, driver lumbar support, wireless smartphone charger and privacy glass. Range-topping 4 trim versions feature a head-up display, 10.25-inch digital driver’s display and power tailgate among other features.

The Niro Hybrid in 3 and 4 spec are priced at £30,495 and £33,245 respectively, while the Niro Plug-In starts from £35,525 and £38,775 in the same trims. There’s eight paint colours for customers to choose from, plus grey or black contrasting C-Pillar designs.

Future Kia EV plans

The new Niro EV is just one of 14 electric cars Kia will launch by 2027, at a rate of two a year. Eventually, the Korean brand’s EV line-up will include a seven-seater SUV called the EV9, two pickup trucks, an affordable entry-level EV and some commercial vehicles, too. Sister brand Hyundai also has plans for a range of 11 electric cars, while luxury spinoff brand Genesis will offer a total of six EVs – the first to go on sale in the UK being the GV60 coupe-SUV.

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