Kia Hybrid Challenge explained
The Kia Hybrid Challenge is to pick the hybrid from the brand’s range that suits your lifestyle, explore its strengths via a test drive and save £1,000. Taking a test drive “has never been more rewarding”, the motor manufacturer suggested. But what is a hybrid?
A hybrid incorporates an internal combustion engine that ensures its range is greater than a fully electric, zero emission, car. Furthermore, petrol is available in any town and refuelling takes minutes. The same cannot be said for electric chargers. In addition, the hybrid is propelled by a small, battery powered, motor that minimises fuel consumption, emissions and running costs.
Kia Niro propulsion, fuel efficiency and emissions
The Kia Niro is such a hybrid and available to test drive. It is also a crossover so blends the fashionable, off-road, look of a sports-utility vehicle with the superior handling, running costs and practicality of a family hatchback. Power comes via a 1.6-litre, 104bhp, petrol engine and the motor. Expect 139bhp in total.
The Niro, therefore, has various techniques to minimise fuel consumption, carbon emissions and running costs. If you start moving and accelerate gently it is only powered by its motor, for example. The petrol engine then contributes if you need more power and helps charge the battery that fuels the electric motor. Expect:
- Average fuel: 64.2 to 74.3mpg (depending on wheel size)
- Carbon emissions: 88 to 101g/km (depending on wheel size)
- 0 to 60mph: 11.1 seconds
- Battery size: 1.56 kWh
- Fuel tank: 45 litres
Further innovations that maximise efficiency include the active air flap behind the front, decorative, grille. At low speed, it opens to direct air towards the radiator that helps cool the petrol engine. At higher speed, in contrast, it closes to improve the vehicle’s aerodynamic efficiency. The flap complements low rolling resistance tyres plus the super-efficient, underbody, aerodynamics.
The Niro does more than sooth your environmental conscience. It is also a practical, easy to live with, workhorse that has 5 seats. Furthermore, cargo capacity is 382-litres so there is lots of room for shopping, family adventures and sports equipment. The underfloor boot storage facilitates, too. Other strengths include:
- Modern, nicely equipped, interior
- Composed handling and ride
- 7 Year warranty
- Wide range of safety features
- 6-speed automatic transmission (with manual mode)
Trims and equipment
Niro 2 is the entry level trim and beautifully equipped for the price. Standard features include: satellite navigation, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, cruise control with speed limiter, Bluetooth, a system to prevent it wandering out of lane plus a reserving camera. Prices start at £23,490.
The Niro 3 trim further optimises your lifestyle. Extras include the: heated steering wheel, wireless phone charger and front parking sensors. Furthermore, it has autonomous emergency braking that monitors the region immediately ahead then brakes automatically if you fail to respond to a hazard. All from £25,240.
The Niro 4 is the top of the range trim. Black leather upholstery is among the premium features that emphasises its status to friends, family and colleagues. Further evidence comes via the heated, ventilated, electric front seats. Prices start at £27,490.
Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
The Niro is also available in an even more capable form. The Plug-In Hybrid version has a far larger battery, for starters. This enables it to travel up to 36 miles on electric power only to further minimise its reliance of expensive, polluting, fossil fuel.
Furthermore, it can be charged by a plug while stationary rather than only on the move. In theory, therefore, you might rarely use its petrol engine if you only make short, low energy, trips at modest speeds. The motor alone might be enough. Strengths include:
- Average fuel: 217.3 mpg
- Carbon emissions: 29g/km
- 0 to 60mph: 10.4 seconds
- Battery size: 8.9 kWh
- Fuel tank: 43 litres
- Trim: 3
- Price: £28,345