The Kia Niro and Renault Captur are stylish five-door crossovers that are ideal for active families with an eye on the environment as both models are available in hybrid or plug-in hybrid guise.
Each model boasts a wide range of well-equipped trims and they have both seen significant updates this year.
Competitively priced, these cars in PHEV form, offer buyers the chance to sample how plug-in technology works before taking the giant leap to electrification. If they like it, then Niro will very soon be on sale in a fully electrified format too. Unfortunately there are no plans in the pipeline for a BEV Captur to date.
Price and Performance
The crossover sector is a difficult place to pitch for sales with an ever-increasing number of new models being launched into the sector. It is made even more complicated as there are compact crossovers, mid-sized models and fully-fledged full-sized SUVs all competing for sales.
But both the Kia Niro and Renault Captur have already established themselves with earlier generation models.
The second-generation Niro has just gone on sale and customers can choose from hybrid versions that sees a 1.6-litre petrol engine working with a 1.3kWh battery to deliver a combined 139bhp. Alternatively, the PHEV models feature a 1.6-litre engine that works alongside a larger 11.1kWh battery to develop 180bhp.
All cars have a six-speed automatic transmission and there are trim levels called ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘4’ with prices ranging from £27,745 to £33,990 for the HEV and £33,525 to £39,770 for the PHEV.
The Kia Niro HEV, dependant on model, can complete the 0-60mph sprint in speeds as fast as 10.4 seconds and tops out at 102mph. The pricier Niro PHEV can sprint from 0-60mph in 9.6 seconds and maxes out at 104mph.
An important factor to take into consideration is that Kia does not have optional extras. You simply pick the model that suits your requirements so there will be no nasty shocks at the check-out.
By comparison, the Renault Captur HEV also sees a 1.6-litre petrol engine working with a 1.2kWh battery and there are well-equipped grades called Evolution, Techno, Limited Edition, Rive Gauche and E-Tech engineered to pick from, with prices ranging from £24,795 to £28,395. The 0-62mph sprint time for this car is 10.6 seconds and it maxes out at 106mph.
The Captur PHEV features a 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine with a 9.8kWh battery and two electric motors. It is available in trims called Techno and E-Tech engineered costing from £31,295 to £33,295.
This plug-in model can complete the 0-62mph sprint in 10.1 seconds with a top speed of 107mph.
The Captur does look slightly more favourable when it comes to cost, but there is very little to separate the Niro and Captur when it comes to performance, so customers will likely be driven by brand awareness.
Crossover models need to cover all the practicality bases well and both these models do just that.
The Kia Niro HEV has a boot that can swallow 451 litres, increasing to 1,445 litres with the split-folding rear seats dropped flat. The capacity is slightly less on the Niro PHEV at 348 litres and 1,342 litres respectively.
There is a good offering of storage compartments within the Niro too, including a glovebox, front and rear cup holders, a central cubby box and practically-sized door bins with a section to put a bottle.
The clever packaging of the battery pack means boot space within the Renault Captur has not been compromised too much. It can accommodate 305 litres of kit with an extra 40 litres of space beneath the boot floor to store the charging cables. Drop the rear seats and this limit increases to 1,149 litres. Storage inside the Captur PHEV is 221 litres, rising to 1,118 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
Once again, both versions of the Captur have plenty of storage compartments within the cabin.
With elevated seating, both the Niro and Captur offer easy access to child seats and either model would be ideal for anyone with mobility issues too.
However, the Niro wins this section with its superior boot capacity.
Both the Kia Niro and Renault Captur are on sale right now with HEV or PHEV powertrains, although the Niro will be fully electrified next month too offering even more choice to customers.
According to official figures, under WLTP testing, depending on what model is driven, the Niro HEV can deliver up to a combined 64.2mpg with carbon emissions from100g/km. The Niro PHEV can deliver a combined 353mpg (weighted) with just 18g/km – once again dependant on model. This mpg figure would only be achievable if the car was driven the majority of the time in EV mode and charged regularly.
The Renault Captur also makes for interesting reading when it comes to efficiency and day-to-day running costs with the HEV models delivering up to 60.1mpg with carbon emissions of 106g/km and the Captur PHEV offering up to 217.3mpg with just 30g/km of CO2.
Just like the Niro, the WLTP tested mpg of the PHEV model is a little pie in the sky unless those EV-only miles are used regularly.
With slightly superior running costs, the Kia Niro scored better in the Efficiency section.
We have been searching for the best PCP offers on these models via the main Kia and Renault websites and here is what we found.
The Kia Niro ‘4’ HEV is available with zero deposit, but a £500 dealer contribution. There will be 36 payments of £586 with an optional final payment of £16,076. This would add up to a total bill of £37,678 for a car with an OTR price of £33,990.
Those looking for a Niro ‘4’ PHEV can also get a PCP offer with no deposit but the same £500 dealer contribution. This is followed by 36 monthly payments of £712 and an optional final payment of £17,873. The total spend would be £44,024 for a car that costs £39,770 OTR.
The Renault website also featured all manner of customer PCP offers. For example, the Captur HEV Rive Gauche has a zero deposit with a £1,500 dealer contribution. There will be 36 monthly payments of £404 with the optional final bill of £14,751. This would add up to a total £30,811 for a car with an OTR cost of £27,595.
The Captur PHEV in E-Tech engineered guise has the same customer/dealer contribution as the HEV and there will be 36 monthly payments of £529 with the optional final charge of £15,407. The OTR cost of this car is £33,595 but customers buying via this PCP scheme pay £36,938.
However, it is possible you will find offers via different dealerships or online portals, so it’s certainly worth shopping around.
So, which takes your fancy?
Both the Kia Niro and Renault Captur have their own individual appeal and it’s quite difficult to separate them. The Captur is cheaper to buy, but the Niro offers better day-to-day efficiency and has superior storage limits. It also has the advantage of a fully-electrified version due out this month.
We have driven both the 2022 Kia Niro and 2021 versions of the Captur and both perform nicely when put through their paces. They are easy on the eye and feature all the mod cons we demand these days.
Hopefully we have offered some guidance about these two models, but customers will often have their favoured carmaker and little will make them change their minds.