New Niro

PRESS PACK

GENERAL

Kia Niro Press Pack 2018

THE NEW NIRO ON (JUST OVER) A PAGE                                                

General

  • Kia's first dedicated hybrid and first hybrid of any description in the UK
  • Slots into a market expected to reach 700,000 a year in Europe by 2020
  • Unique crossover/SUV styling for the compact hybrid segment
  • The practicality and showroom appeal of a crossover with the fuel efficiency of a hybrid
  • Three-model line-up in UK with grades ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘4’
  • Plug-in hybrid version (PHEV) added to the range in 2017

Body

  • Based on an all-new platform exclusively for electrified cars
  • Five-door, five-seater front-wheel-drive crossover
  • Low drag co-efficient of 0.29, despite standard roof rails
  • At 4,355mm long, slots between the Ceed hatchback and Sportage SUV in size
  • Batteries located under the rear seat for low centre of gravity and ideal packaging
  • Made up of 53 per cent advanced high-strength steel
  • Bonnet, tailgate panel, front bumper back beam and several chassis components in aluminium to save weight
  • Signature design cues like 'tiger-nose' grille ensure Niro is easily recognisable as a Kia

Interior

  • Long, 2,700mm wheelbase and width of 1,805mm create ample space for five adults
  • Shapely front seats save 1.3kg each and offer excellent all-round support
  • Dashboard split into upper display area and lower control area with fewer, simpler switches
  • Horizontal trim line on dashboard emphasises width and space inside
  • Luxurious soft-touch materials and trim details attest to high-quality fit and finish
  • Under-seat battery positioning allows for a capacious 373-litre boot with uninterrupted rectangular shape and low loading lip

Powertrain and running gear

  • Petrol-electric hybrid with six-speed auto dual-clutch automatic gearbox (6DCT) in place of more common continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • 1.6-litre Kappa direct-injection (GDi) combustion engine developing 104bhp and 147Nm of torque, supported by a 32kW (43bhp) electric motor with 170Nm of torque
  • Combined power output 139bhp, with 265Nm of torque in first gear
  • Parallel hybrid drive system with brake energy recovery: normally the two power units work together, but able to run in all-electric mode for short distances in some circumstances
  • Combined fuel economy of up to 58.9mpg, with CO2 emissions starting at 86g/km
  • Petrol engine uses Atkinson cycle combustion process to make greater use of energy
  • Cooled exhaust gas recirculation, direct injection, long-stroke engine and exhaust heat recovery to speed warm-up also aid efficiency
  • 6DCT transmission employs low-friction bearings and low-viscosity oils, and includes Manual Sports driving mode
  • Transmission-Mounted Electric Device ensures 6DCT works more efficiently with hybrid powertrain
  • All-independent suspension and wide stance improve stability, responsiveness, steering feel and ride comfort
  • Low drag co-efficient, 6DCT transmission and extensive measures to reduce noise, vibration and harshness ensure impressive refinement
  • New electric parking brake replaces foot-operated parking brake

Technology and safety

  • Wireless phone charger on grade ‘3’ upwards
  • New Telematics system with UVO Connect Services on grade ‘3’ upwards
  • Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ standard, giving access to navigation, music, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition through smartphone apps
  • Advanced active safety technologies include Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Adaptive Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Lane Departure and Lane Keeping Assist on all models, with Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert standard on grade ‘4’
  • DAB radio standard, with eight-speaker JBL® sound system on grade ‘4’
  • New 10.25-inch Touchscreen multimedia system Satellite Navigation with European Mapping & Traffic Messaging Channel (TMC) on grades ‘3’ and ‘4’
  • New LED headlights with bi-function projection on grade ‘4’
  • Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW) on grade ‘4’

INTRODUCTION

  • Kia's first dedicated hybrid to go on sale in the UK
  • Delivers low-cost, high-efficiency motoring in a stylish crossover package
  • Built on an all-new platform and featuring an all-new powertrain
  • Fuel economy of up to 58.9mpg with CO2 emissions from 86g/km
  • Available with the latest connectivity and driver assistance features

Niro is not your run-of-the-mill hybrid. It delivers the high efficiency and low running costs of a petrol-electric car with the style, practicality and desirability of a compact crossover. It is based on an all-new platform which will only ever be used for electrified vehicles, and has an all-new powertrain featuring a 1.6-litre, 104bhp internal combustion engine and a 32kW (43bhp) electric motor driving through a six-speed auto dual-clutch automatic transmission.     

The compact five-door, five-seater Niro was a joint design between Kia's studios at Namyang in Korea and Irvine, California. The sleek crossover profile has a low drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.29, while extensive use of high-strength steel and aluminium in the body construction helps to trim the minimum kerb weight to as low as 1,500kg. Both are significant factors in Niro's low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Niro is not a hair-shirt fuel-saving car, however. Its horizontally structured interior exhibits the high-quality fit and finish now apparent in every model from Kia, and it is available with the latest connectivity and active safety technologies, including a Telematics System with UVO Connect Services, wireless smartphone charging, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist detection, smart adaptive cruise control and Lane Keeping Assist, blind spot and rear cross traffic warning systems. It also offers Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ which, via pre-downloaded apps, links smartphones to navigation, music, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition services.    

Hybrid sales in the UK and mainland Europe have doubled over the past five years and are expected to reach 700,000 annually by the end of the decade. Niro ensures Kia is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this growing demand. It is offered in the UK in a three-strong model range – designated grades ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘4’ – all featuring a high standard specification.

For 2019, Kia has made a number of improvements to the Niro, its best-selling electrified crossover range of ultra-low emission vehicles. The upgraded Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models made their global debut at the Geneva International Motor Show 2019.

The Niro, which combines crossover style practicality with ultra-low hybrid emissions, has been enhanced for 2019 with a new exterior design and a more upscale, high-quality interior. The Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models also feature Kia’s advanced new UVO CONNECT telematics system, which brings additional ‘connected’ functionality to the car.

Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe, comments: “The Niro has become a key growth driver for Kia in Europe and is a cornerstone of our electrified product strategy. Its cool crossover design, high versatility, and low emissions and running costs make it an attractive proposition for both private and business buyers. New enhancements to quality and design, and the adoption of our ‘connected’ UVO system, will make the Niro family an even more compelling proposition.”

DESIGN AND PACKAGING

Dedicated hybrid vehicles, as opposed to those developed from a combustion-engined car, have previously involved compromises in design, mainly to achieve the lowest air-drag figure possible. That is why the majority have adopted a tear-drop hatchback profile – practical and efficient, but uninspiring and not what customers demand in a market increasingly attuned to SUVs and crossovers.

Kia was adamant it could overcome the design limitations of other dedicated hybrids without sacrificing practicality, versatility and aerodynamic efficiency. The result is Niro, a hybrid with a modern, attractive crossover body style and ample room for five people plus their luggage. The remarkable feat is that this has been achieved with a drag co-efficient (Cd) of 0.29, despite the standard roof rails.

To make this possible, Kia designers took a reverse approach during the creation of Niro: design an attractive, sporty, stylish and tough-looking crossover, then fine-tune the aerodynamics to suit the requirements of a hybrid. This novel way of going about things has resulted in a crossover which is appealing in its own right which also serves as a highly efficient hybrid.

Enhancements for 2019

Retaining its stylish crossover design, the upgraded Kia Niro features a handful of design updates for 2019. The refreshed design aligns the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid variants of the range with the appearance of the all-new all-electric e-Niro.

The Niro’s distinctive and iconic ‘tiger-nose’ grille has been updated, new bumpers at the front and rear give it a more purposeful appearance and more confident stance on the road. The standard projection headlamps have been redesigned, incorporating Kia’s unique ‘ice-cube’ design. On the LED lights full LED headlamps are available on the grade ‘4’ model. The bumper features new LED daytime running lights below the headlamps with a unique double-arrow layout, as well as LED fog lamps on grades ‘3’ and ‘4’.

At the rear of the car, newly-redesigned LED lights give the Niro a more distinctive and modern light signature. The new bumper design is finished with a silver-painted skid plate and incorporates new light reflectors and rear fog lamps in the corners.

The Niro Hybrid now provides more variant options to buyers, offered with a choice of a re-designed 16-inch alloy wheel design on grade ‘2’, as well as an all-new 18-inch dual-tone diamond-cut alloy wheel on grades ‘3’ and ‘4’.

Exterior styling

From any angle, Niro exudes dynamism and strength. The body line linking the roof, glasshouse and bonnet adds crossover-style volume to the car, while a wide bumper with bold lines and the now-familiar 'tiger-nose' grille adds a distinctive Kia family look. Body cladding on the lower edge of the front and rear bumpers, along the sides and around the wheel arches emphasises Niro's crossover credentials, but there are also subtleties which illustrate the attention to detail of the design and engineering teams to make Niro a legitimate hybrid.

An active air flap in the lower front grille opens and closes according to the cooling requirements of the powertrain, so that Niro is running in the most efficient aerodynamic configuration in all circumstances, and there are air curtains, like gills, in the front corners of the car. These channel air away from the front wheel arches to reduce turbulence in those areas, again to aid aerodynamic efficiency. A specially shaped roof leading into a rear spoiler channels air over the car in the most efficient manner. Even the stylish 16-inch alloy wheels with plastic covers on grade ‘2’ have been designed with aerodynamics in mind.

The tailgate area is equally clean-looking and sits over a diffuser which aids airflow under the car. The C-shaped rear lamps are mounted immediately beneath the tailgate glass, while the contours of the wide and deep tailgate emphasise the smooth aerodynamic shape of Niro. Even the location of the standard rear-vision camera reduces drag: it is housed within the rear wiper mounting so as not to impede air exiting the rear. The rear corners of the car have been refined in minute detail to reduce drag without worsening visibility. There are specially profiled door mirror casings and – as an example of the attention to detail of Kia's engineers – covered holes in the roof rails, which sit flush on the bodywork.

The design of Niro was a joint effort between Kia's studios at Namyang in Korea and Irvine, California. Niro features the subtly sculpted surfaces and sharp lines that are now Kia design hallmarks. A wide stance gives pointers to the car's stability and low centre of gravity, while a long bonnet, short overhangs, elevated headlights and a rising shoulder line are other Kia distinguishing features. The body tapers towards the rear, where bold wheel arches, a squared-off bumper and the high-mounted C-shaped tail light clusters emphasise Niro's crossover stance.

At 4,355mm long, 1,805mm wide and 1,535mm tall, the compact Niro sits between the Ceed hatchback and the Sportage SUV in size. Yet with a 2,700mm wheelbase and short front and rear overhangs it provides generous interior space.

Enhanced interior

Inside, Kia has introduced a series of visual and material upgrades for 2019, creating a more upscale atmosphere and enhancing cabin quality. The top of the dashboard is finished in high-quality soft-touch coating, while the dashboard and instrument panel feature elegant new gloss black trim with satin chrome highlights. Kia is also introducing a new 10.25-inch TFT widescreen for the main display on grades ‘3’ and ‘4’. The car is fitted with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system on the grade ‘2’ model. A 4.2-inch TFT (Thin Film Transistor) full-colour supervision cluster is standard on grades ‘2’ and ‘3’ with a 7.0-inch TFT Colour Display on grade ‘4’.

Inside information

Aerodynamic considerations posed many challenges for the teams tasked with Niro's packaging. It was determined early on that Niro would be a compact hybrid crossover – shorter than the Sportage SUV, but longer than the cee'd hatchback. There had to be a limit on height to reduce drag, but this was not to be at the expense of a raised seating position. And space, versatility, ease of entrance and visibility were not to suffer in any way. The result is one of Kia's most efficiently packaged cars ever.

Thanks to the long, 2,700mm wheelbase there is generous space for five people. There is up to 1,059mm of legroom in the front and 950mm in the rear; the class-leading headroom of up to 1,018mm in front and 993mm behind is greater than in many C-segment SUVs; the 1,805mm wide body provides 1,423mm of shoulder room for the two front occupants and only slightly less, at 1,402mm, in the rear. At the same time there is 373 litres of luggage space with all five seats occupied, thanks to the location of the battery pack beneath the rear seat. This expands to 1,371 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded. The 45-litre fuel tank is located alongside the battery pack beneath the rear seat.

The ergonomic fascia and information clusters follow what is becoming a modern theme for Kia, starting with a wide dashboard set out on horizontal lines. There is an upper display sector with the instrument panel and infotainment screen at the same height for instant, easier reading, separated by a cabin-wide trim line from the lower control area, where the heating and ventilation and driver assistance switches are located.

Inside the cabin, every last nook and cranny has been used for storage of personal items, and in grades ‘3’ and ‘4’ there is a tray for wireless charging of mobile devices.

The Niro now has an electric park brake in place of the previous foot-operated parking brake to release more space for oddments in the centre console, and is fitted in the UK with a tyre mobility kit rather than a spare wheel to reduce weight and ensure the boot is as large as possible. Space-saving front seats with special foam-backed covers and slim headrests contribute to the car's exceptional roominess and also save 1.3kg each thanks to their high-strength steel frames, yet they are still able to cushion occupants against bumps and vibrations as a result of high-density foam and profiled springs and pads.

There is smart black cloth and leather upholstery on grade ‘2’ and black all-leather upholstery on grades ‘3’ and ‘4’. Elsewhere, all models feature high-gloss black inserts in the steering wheel, dashboard and door panels, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear shifter, a 8.0- or 10.25-inch touchscreen system and satin chrome interior door handles further attest to the quality of Niro.

DYNAMICS

No compromises in safety, comfort and refinement

By re-engineering some existing components, Kia has been able to ensure that Niro has a unique chassis specifically designed for a hybrid, while being the equal of the brand's other compact models for ride comfort, handling and refinement.

Niro's driving characteristics begin with fully independent suspension all round, based on MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link arrangement with dual lower arms at the rear. It has been tuned to deliver maximum on-centre steering feel, high-speed stability and immediate response to steering inputs. Because each rear wheel is able to absorb bumps independently, shocks are less likely to be transmitted to the cabin than with a cheaper torsion beam rear axle, while the wide stance and low centre of gravity enhance stability.

Capitalising on the experience gained through the development of previous generations of Optima hybrid (neither sold in the UK) plus the Soul EV, Kia has been able to give Niro consistent and linear deceleration and brake feel unusual in an electrified car.

All-disc brakes are used, ventilated at the front, and there is a new electric park brake in place of the previous foot-operated item. The anti-lock braking system includes Brake Assist, which ensures maximum retardation in an emergency stop, regardless of the force applied to the pedal by the driver.

Steering is via Kia's proven column-mounted motor-driven power-assisted system (C-MDPS), which gives the car a compact turning circle of 10.6 metres and requires less than 2.7 turns of the wheel between the extremes of lock. The steering gear has been mounted well forward and features an increased gear ratio and a larger electric motor for greater self-centring and responsiveness. Niro's agility is also helped by aluminium front suspension knuckles, lower arms and brake calipers, all of which save weight and counter inertia.

Niro ‘2’ has 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/60 R16 tyres, while grades ‘3’ and ‘4’ are fitted with 18-inch alloys and 225/45 R18 tyres.

Niro's exceptional refinement proved particularly challenging to perfect because of the hybrid powertrain. Contributing towards this are asymmetric engine mounts to minimise powertrain movements at the attachment points in the subframe, high-density under-bonnet insulation, an acoustic shield with a special support structure to improve the sound of the combustion engine when accelerating in the most commonly used speed ranges, and the adoption of a 6DCT gearbox in place of a CVT

Road noise is minimised by high-insulation rigid bushes in the front subframe, high-strength steel in the rear wheel arches and additional insulation in the A- and B-pillars. The low drag co-efficient (Cd) of 0.29 contributes towards the suppression of wind noise, aided by laminated windscreen glass, a cowl over the front windscreen wipers, specially profiled door mirror casings and – as an example of the attention to detail of Kia's engineers – covers over the holes in the roof rails, which sit flush with the bodywork.

There will be no combustion engine-only version of Niro. Its all-new platform has been engineered exclusively for electrified vehicles, with a plug-in hybrid version (PHEV) introduced in 2017 and an all-electric version, the e-Niro, launched in 2018. 

The platform has been designed to accommodate present and future electrical components within a compact vehicle footprint without intrusion into the spacious interior and luggage area. A slightly raised crossover-style seating position makes getting in and out easier and provides a superior view out.

The structure is particularly strong and includes 53 per cent advanced high-strength steel, which ensures that rigidity and safety do not compromise weight. This is aided by extensive use of aluminium for the bonnet, tailgate panel, front bumper back beam and several chassis elements, including the front knuckles, front lower arms and brake calipers. The aluminium bonnet and tailgate alone save 11kg when compared with comparable steel components. The front seats save 1.3kg each thanks to their high-strength steel frames, yet they are still able to cushion occupants against bumps and vibrations as a result of their high-density foam, while specially profiled springs and pads provide high levels of thigh, hip and side support.

As a result of all this, Niro's minimum kerbside weight is from 1,500 to 1,521kg, depending on model specification. To ensure body integrity and rigidity in critical areas, hot-stamped steel is used to reinforce the A- and B-pillars, roof rails and wheel arches.

The battery pack is housed beneath the rear seat, with no intrusion into the boot, as is the 45-litre fuel tank.

ENGINES

The phrase 'clean-sheet-of-paper car' is much over-used, but in the case of Niro it is totally apt. Niro is a dedicated hybrid, not an adaptation of a combustion-engined car, and while it employs modified chassis components from other models where feasible, to keep down manufacturing and ownership costs, the vast majority of it is all-new.

That includes the platform on which it is based – designed purely for electrified vehicles – and the combustion engine and transmission which, unlike those in most other hybrid vehicles, is a six-speed auto dual-clutch automatic (6DCT) rather than a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), improving smoothness, efficiency and refinement.

Atkinson Cycle combustion engine

The petrol engine is a normally aspirated 1.6-litre direct-injection (GDi) unit from the Kappa family, specifically engineered for use in hybrid cars. It is a long-stroke 16-valve unit with an aluminium cylinder head and block and a steel oil pan. The engine's dimensions are unchanged, with a 72mm cylinder bore and a 97mm piston stroke, and it develops an identical 104bhp at 5,700rpm and 147Nm of torque at 4,000rpm, but in Niro it marks the first combination of an Atkinson combustion cycle, cooled exhaust gas recirculation, direct petrol injection and a long-stroke specification for maximum efficiency.

The Atkinson cycle engine was invented by James Atkinson, of Hampstead, at the dawn of the motoring age (he first filed for patents in the mid-1880s), but it is now proving to be an ideal solution for emissions-reducing hybrid cars in the 21st century.

It works on the principle of completing all four stages of the combustion process (intake, compression, ignition and exhaust) on just one rotation of the crankshaft, rather than the two required in the more common Otto cycle engine. At the same time the compression ratio is reduced, and the intake stroke is shorter than the power stroke, therefore requiring less fuel to turn the engine over.

While this inevitably reduces the amount of power the engine can develop, it is less important in a hybrid car which has the assistance of an electric motor, and which in any case aims to maximise efficiency rather than outright performance. With the benefit of continuously variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust sides of the engine, the Kappa unit is easily able to achieve the variations in compression ratio and piston stroke required by the Atkinson Cycle. In Niro, efficiency is further aided by an exhaust heat recovery system which speeds the engine warm-up process.

The Kappa Atkinson cycle engine features isolated cooling technology which prevents the cylinder head and block from overheating while reducing knocking and friction. Sodium, which has high thermal conductivity, is used in the hollow exhaust valves, and friction losses have been reduced through tapered roller bearings and low viscosity oil. The engine's thermal efficiency of 40 per cent is among the best in the global auto industry.      

The power electronics system

In Niro, the combustion engine is paired with a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor developing 32kW (43bhp) from 1,798 to 2,500rpm, and 170Nm of torque from rest to 1,798rpm. Power to the motor comes from a 240-volt lithium-ion polymer battery capable of storing 1.56kWh of electrical energy. Together, the two power units produce a maximum 139bhp at 5,700rpm, with 265Nm of torque available in first gear from 1,000 to 2,400rpm. The result is extremely brisk acceleration from standstill and in typical urban scenarios, where Niro is most likely to be found, with effortless cruising ability at the speeds permitted in the UK. Acceleration from standstill to 60mph is achieved in 11.1 seconds, and the car has a top speed of 101mph.

Niro's battery pack is light and the whole hybrid battery system weighs just 33kg, and has up to 50 per cent greater power density and 13 per cent greater energy efficiency than the systems in rival hybrid cars.

Niro's battery cells have a ceramic coating between the cathode and anode sides, a Voltage Protection Device, a dedicated battery management system and an integrated control system, all to improve safety, minimise fire risk and ensure reliability and ease of maintenance.  

Niro is a parallel hybrid, which means that most of the time the petrol and electric power units work together. However, it can operate in all-electric mode for short distances when setting off, under gentle acceleration and when descending slopes or braking. A brake energy recovery system recoups energy normally dissipated as heat and stores it in the batteries for use later. The switch between all-electric, hybrid or petrol engine-only modes is seamless and varies according to the load being placed on the powertrain.

This advanced power system ensures Niro is capable of up to 58.9mpg, with CO2 emissions from only 88g/km, with the 16-inch wheels and tyres fitted to grade ‘2’. The respective figures for grades ‘3’ and ‘4’, which have 18-inch wheels and wider tyres, are 54.3mpg and 101g/km.

Model

Total power bhp

Total torque Nm

0–60 sec

Max speed mph

Combined mpg (WLTP)

CO2 g/km (NEDC 2.0)

‘2’ 1.6 GDi 6DCT hybrid 

139

265

11.1

101

58.9

86

‘3’ 1.6 GDi 6DCT hybrid

139

265

11.1

101

55.4

99

‘4’ 1.6 GDi 6DCT hybrid

139

265

11.1

101

55.4

99

 

A dual-clutch automatic transmission instead of the more common CVT

Niro employs a dual-clutch automatic transmission rather than the continuously variable automatic (CVT) more commonly found in hybrid cars. The in-house 6DCT gearbox is based on the 7DCT transmission fitted to some other Kia models, and uses a dry dual clutch to keep weight to a minimum and reduce the friction losses through viscosity which occur in wet dual-clutch systems. The gearbox has been specially engineered to work with hybrid powertrains. It is smoother, more efficient and quieter than a CVT.

In normal operation the 6DCT transmission changes gear automatically, with no need for intervention from the driver. One clutch operates the odd-numbered gears (first, third and fifth) and the other clutch is responsible for the even-numbered gears (second, fourth and sixth). The 6DCT is able to work automatically in both Eco and Sport modes, with the latter delaying upchanges until the power unit has attained higher revs for greater performance. But there is also a Manual mode, accessed by sliding the lever to the side when in the Drive position. The driver is then able to up- or down-change at will by rocking the gear selector forwards or backwards.  

The layout and gear train have been designed for light weight and compact size, while special bearings and low-viscosity oil reduce friction, promoting greater efficiency, reducing reaction times and minimising noise. A new Transmission-Mounted Electric Device (TMED) allows the full output of both power units to be transferred in parallel to the drive wheels with minimal energy losses. This differs from the power-split system typical of CVT transmissions, which convert a portion of engine output for delivery through the electric motor, resulting in a loss of energy. TMED allows the hybrid system to access battery power directly at higher speeds for swifter response.

TECHNOLOGY

The cabin features a range of technologies to enhance comfort and convenience for occupants. The infotainment system is a touchscreen system, with DAB radio with MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth® and Kia Connected Services powered by TomTom®. The system enables full smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™.

Grade ‘2’ features an 8.0-inch touchscreen system with a reversing camera and Kia Connected Services featuring TomTom®. Grade ‘3’ and ‘4’ models feature a brand-new 10.25-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system with European mapping and Traffic Messaging Channel and Telematics system with UVO Connect Services. In addition, a wireless mobile phone charger is standard on grade ‘3’ and ‘4’ and an 8-speaker JBL® premium sound system with subwoofer, external amp and front centre speaker is fitted to grade ‘4’

The Niro is among the first Kia models in Europe to offer the brand’s innovative UVO CONNECT telematics system, connecting drivers to the world around to provide them with useful information during a drive.

Standard on grades ‘3’ and ‘4’ and accessible via the 10.25-inch touchscreen and the owner’s smartphone, UVO CONNECT features a new Kia Live system, which uses its own SIM card to retrieve and update live data.

The second element of the UVO system is the UVO App, designed for compatibility on Android and Apple smartphones. The app offers users peace of mind with a range of features to provide diagnostic data about their car and the trips they take. The app also enables owners to activate a range of remote functions and features remotely. Users can remotely send route directions to their car before a journey; check the location of their vehicle, and access vehicle reports and diagnostic notifications.

The 10.25-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system features with Bluetooth® multi-connection as standard, enabling occupants to connect two mobile devices at once, as well as Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. Its advanced split-screen functionality lets users control or monitor different vehicle features at the same time, customising the screen with a series of different widgets. This allows the driver to have a single display (such as navigation or powertrain information) or combine numerous elements on-screen at the same time. This means the driver can follow navigation directions or keep track of energy flow through the hybrid powertrain, while passengers can simultaneously choose their favourite songs or check the weather forecast.

The technology has been developed to comply with the latest European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ensuring the highest levels of data privacy and protection.

The top two grades also have a wireless mobile phone charger, located in the centre console tray, which uses inductive charging to power the batteries of compatible electronic devices. Occupants are therefore able to recharge mobile phones or MP3 players without the inconvenience of wires and connectors, which frequently change when new devices are introduced. The wireless charger features foreign object detection, switches on automatically when a phone is placed upon it and displays the phone's charge status in the instrument cluster. An in-built safety system prevents overheating, while drivers and passengers are warned if they are about to leave the car with the phone still on the charging pad.

The Niro is among the first Kia models in Europe to offer the brand’s innovative UVO CONNECT telematics system, connecting drivers to the world around to provide them with invaluable information during a drive.

Android Auto™ works with Android smartphones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher and connects the user's smartphone to the car's infotainment system. Through pre-downloaded apps, it then gives access to a variety of services such as Google Maps navigation, Google Play music, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition. Apple CarPlay™ functions with iPhone 5 or newer and enables full Siri voice control of the phone's apps and functions while linking the car to Apple Maps, calls and text dictation, music streaming and audiobooks.

Standard technologies include full Bluetooth® smartphone integration, as well as automatic headlights, rain sensing front wipers, smart entry system on all versions. In addition, there are electrically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors and a reversing camera with rear parking sensors. Heated front seats and steering wheel, as well as front parking sensors are fitted to grade ‘3’ models, while grade ‘4’ editions add heated rear outer seats, ventilated front seats, a tilting and sliding power sunroof, ambient lighting, LED headlights with bi-function projection and electric driver’s seat with memory functionality for both the seats and mirrors. There’s also a 7.0-inch full TFT colour display cluster for the driver to view the car’s instruments.

SAFETY

The latest Niro offers the best of what Kia has to offer in advanced active driver aids. Every version has Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) that can not only detect cars, but also pedestrians and cyclists, in addition to a Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) with Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Adaptive Smart Cruise Control with stop and go and a Speed Limiter.

Grade ‘4’ models also feature powerful LED headlights with bi-function projection, Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW). With these features fitted, Niro has been awarded a five-star crash-test rating by Euro NCAP.

Preventive safety

Niro's Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian and cyclist detection system brings the car to a halt if the driver fails to react to a potential accident. It uses short- and long-wave radars to monitor the proximity of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in front of the car. If the sensors detect an imminent collision and the driver does not respond, the brakes are applied automatically. The system is split into three main categories:

City, which can avoid low-speed urban accidents at up to 13mph.

Inter-Urban, which operates between 31mph and 50mph.

Pedestrian, which detects pedestrians and other vulnerable road users such as cyclists at up to 44mph.

Smart Cruise Control maintains the distance to the car ahead, automatically slowing and accelerating in accordance with the flow of traffic.

Lane Keep Assist uses a camera behind the rear-view mirror to 'film' the lane ahead of the car. It then passes this information to an electronic control unit which detects the lane and markings. If the control unit recognises that Niro has left its lane with no indicator activated, it issues sound and visual alerts to the driver and steers the car back into its lane if necessary.

The Blind Spot Detection system ensures the driver does not stray into the path of an overtaking vehicle, while the Rear Cross Traffic Alert prevents the driver from reversing out of a driveway or parking space when there is a vehicle approaching from the side. It achieves this by using sensors to monitor the sides of the car, using the Blind Spot Detection radar, to alert the driver.

Electronic Stability Control and Vehicle Stability Management, which collectively control skids when cornering or accelerating on surfaces with uneven levels of grip, are standard, while Hill-start Assist prevents the car from rolling backwards when setting off on gradients.

Passive safety provisions start with the rigidity of the body structure, which is reinforced in critical areas and features crumple zones front and rear and anti-intrusion beams at the sides. There are seven airbags, including one to protect the driver's knees; all-round height-adjustable headrests; height-adjustable front seat belts with an automatic tightening device in the event of emergency braking; ISOFIX child seat top tethers and anchors; and doors which unlock automatically after an impact.

SPECIFICATION HIGHLIGHTS

All versions of the Niro are well equipped and feature an extensive package of convenience and safety items which becomes progressively more comprehensive with every step up the range.

Grade ‘2’ models feature 16-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, automatic headlight control, electrically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors with LED indicators, black part cloth and leather upholstery, a leather trimmed steering wheel and gearshift, dual automatic air conditioning, all-round electric windows and an auto-dimming rear view mirror, in addition to a new electric park brake with autohold, a six-speaker DAB radio with MP3 compatibility and 7.0-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlayTM and Android AutoTM with voice control, Bluetooth® with music streaming, Kia Connected Services featuring TomTom® Traffic, speed cameras, local search and weather updates, reversing camera and rear parking sensors. A fast-charging USB port for smartphones and other devices is included in the centre console.

Key safety equipment includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with car, pedestrian and cyclist detection, Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), Lane Follow Assist (LFA), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), seven airbags and ISOFIX child seat top tethers and anchor fixings.

Chrome coated exterior door handles give an upmarket appearance and are combined with body coloured and high gloss door mirrors, a matt black radiator grille, as well as black side sill and wheel arch body mouldings and beltline mouldings. LED daytime running lights ensure that you’re seen in poor visibility, and these are included with LED rear combination lights.

Both the front passenger and driver’s seat are height adjustable, and the steering wheel features tilt and telescopic adjustment. High gloss black trim on the steering wheel, door inserts, lower console and central fascia gives a smart appearance, with satin finish interior door handles. To aid practicality when carrying awkward loads, the rear seats fold down in a 60:40 fashion.

A 4.2-inch supervision instrument cluster with TFT LCD colour display is provided as standard on all models, with a trip computer that provides distance, fuel consumption and average speed information in a handy readout.

For security, an alarm system and engine immobiliser is included, as well as locking wheel nuts, a visible vehicle identification number (VIN), deadlocks for the doors and speed sensing auto door locking that can be activated by the dealer.

Move up to grade ‘3’ and extra equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED front fog lights, black leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat including lumbar support, a heated steering wheel, aluminium door scuff plates and front parking sensors. A new 10.25-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system with European mapping and Traffic Messaging Channel (TMC) is now standard equipment, as well as a Telematics system with UVO Connect Services and wireless mobile phone charger.

The top-of-the-range grade ‘4’ model features a tilting and sliding electric sunroof, LED headlights with bi-function projection, memory functionality for the driver’s seat and door mirrors, heated rear outer seats, ventilated front seats, ambient lighting, aluminium pedals, LED cabin and luggage area lighting, 7.0-inch full TFT LCD colour display cluster and an eight-speaker JBL® premium sound system with subwoofer, external amp and front centre speaker. Safety equipment has been enhanced, too, with the inclusion of Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW), Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear-Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).

WARRANTY AND AFTER-CARE

Kia set a new benchmark in 2007 when it launched the cee'd with an industry-best seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. That demonstration of faith in the quality and reliability of Kia products was subsequently extended to every model.

A major benefit is that it is transferable to subsequent owners at no charge, as long as the seven-year time limit has not been reached and the mileage is below 100,000.

The mechanical warranty is supported by a 12-year anti-perforation warranty and a five-year paint warranty.

Servicing is required every 10,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes soonest. The New Niro is available with Kia’s ‘Kia Care’ service plans, which have been developed to provide customers with a wide range of service plan options for any Kia model within the first seven years of the vehicle’s life – matching its industry-leading seven-year warranty.

The service plans feature a comprehensive range of options including the original, traditional, first, third and fifth services and those in between, but in addition a customer can now purchase services up to and including the seventh service which matches the full length of the warranty. The plans are available for all Kia owners and can be purchased at any point of ownership for cars up to five years old.

The Kia Promise was introduced to give customers the best ownership experience by giving them access to seven key benefits. The Kia Promise is activated after purchase and is done by simply registering on the online portal, MyKia. Along with the industry leading seven-year/100,000 mile warranty, other benefits of the Kia Promise include complimentary seven day insurance and £250 Insurance Excess Return for one year; easy to use Click & Collect on Genuine Kia accessories; convenient online service booking; Family-Like Care and Accident AfterCare. Every new Kia also comes with complimentary Roadside Assistance for 12 months. When a customer registers on MyKia, Kia Roadside Assistance Plus, the highest level of cover provided by the RAC, can be unlocked, which includes onward travel and European cover.

FIVE MINUTES WITH PAUL PHILPOTT

Burning questions that you would love to ask our President and CEO

  1. How important is the Niro in the UK?

The Niro accounts for around 6 per cent of total sales in the UK, and is the fourth best-selling nameplate in the Kia portfolio. Last year, we sold more than 6,400 Niro models in the UK, and with the alternative fuel market continuing to grow, we expect the Niro to continue to take a significant portion of the hybrid market sales.

  1. What sales targets have you set for the new Niro for the UK market?

We never release sales or production targets for individual models; however, we expect the updated Niro to outsell its predecessor.

  1. And what sales targets have you set for the Kia brand as a whole in the UK?

Next year is likely to be another challenging year, until we get some certainty around Brexit, but we fully expect to reach another new sales record in 2019, of in excess of 96,000 units. During 2018, we achieved sales growth of 2.73 per cent to 95,764 sales, in a market that was down by 7 per cent. And this was achieved in a year when the cee’d was on runout, the Sportage was transitioning through its mid-life facelift and of course the industry faced challenges with the transition from NEDC to WLTP.

  1. What message would you like to send to potential diesel customers?

With the introduction of the latest emissions regulations, specifically the upcoming Euro 6d TEMP standards, Kia diesel engines have never been cleaner. They are fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) active emissions control technology to regulate emissions. For higher mileage users, diesel cars make total sense, delivering low running costs and exceptional fuel economy. But if buyers are unsure as to the future of diesel power, we have a range of hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, in addition to pure electric vehicles that deliver high levels of efficiency as an alternative to our cutting edge diesel engines.

  1. How important are fleet sales for the Niro?

A wide range of different models has always been an essential element in our plan for sustainable fleet and business growth and the Niro gives us a credible entrant in the alternative fuel segment. Kia’s strategy in the business market in the UK has been to deliver compelling choices for business users where residual values contribute to excellent operating costs. The Niro delivers the technology, safety, reliability, practicality and appeal that the fleet market demands in a highly satisfying, efficient package.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We've anticipated what you're likely to ask us

  1. What is the importance to Kia of hybrid vehicles?
  2. The first reason is that the hybrid market is growing rapidly, not just in the UK but in Europe, too, and we want a share of it. But of greater significance, all manufacturers have to lower average CO2 emissions to 95g/km or less in Europe by 2020-21, and electric and electrified vehicles are essential to achieve this. We also have our own internal targets of a 25 per cent reduction in average corporate CO2 emissions, based on 2014 levels, by 2020.

 

  1. Why a dedicated hybrid rather than one based on an existing model?
  2. It makes a statement of our intent to be a leading manufacturer in the production of low- or zero-emissions cars. Dedicated hybrids also avoid the compromises found in hybrids based on existing models, such as loss of boot space and a reduced payload. The important thing was that our dedicated hybrid had to have the showroom appeal of any other Kia and reflect market tastes, hence our decision to create a crossover-style kind of car. We have hybrids based on existing models with the Optima and Optima Sportswagon plug-in hybrids.

 

  1. What level of sales is Niro achieving in the UK, and is it mostly a fleet or a retail car?
  2. In 2018, we sold more than 6,400 examples of the Niro Hybrid, including over 1,200 examples of the Niro Plug-in Hybrid. Around 60 per cent of sales are to fleets. Our research shows that buyers are primarily shopping for a compact crossover with style, practicality and high technology content, but they are also fully aware of and interested in the benefits of hybrids.

  

  1. Is Niro on sale at every Kia dealership, and can all dealers service it because of the extra safety demands when working with electric components?
  2. Every Kia dealer has at least one technician plus a Kia Master Technician trained in handling the high-voltage systems associated with electrified cars, so Niro is sold at and can be serviced at any Kia dealership. Model-specific training is also provided at two-day courses to coincide with the launch of each Kia electric and hybrid vehicle.

 

  1. When the Niro was first launched, a ‘1’ variant was available. Why has that been discontinued?
  2. It was deleted from the model line-up early in 2018 to reduce model range complexity. Just three per cent of buyers opted for the ‘1’ variant in 2017, with customers preferring to choose better equipped editions of the Niro.

 

  1. Which are the best-selling versions?
  2. The most popular is the ‘2’ variant, which accounts for more than 53 per cent of all sales, followed by the ‘3’ edition that represents almost 27 per cent.

 

  1. Under the new WLTP emissions test, how will official CO2 emissions from the Niro compare to its predecessor?
  2. As with the majority of other manufacturers, we expect official WLTP CO2 (converted back to NEDC 2.0) ratings to come in slightly higher than earlier models tested under NEDC conditions.

Ends

For further information on Kia please visit www.kiapressoffice.com or contact:

 

Stephen Kitson
Director of Corporate Communications

 

E: skitson@kia.co.uk   

T: 01932 832075 M: 07795 011 936

 

Daniel Sayles
Press Relations Manager

E: dsayles@kia.co.uk  

T: 01932 832073 M: 07747 149 149

 

Sara Robinson     
Senior Press Officer

E: srobinson@kia.co.uk

T: 01932 832072 M: 07919 482 332

 

Moyosola Fujamade
Press Officer (events)

E: mfujamade@kia.co.uk  

T: 01932 832069 M: 07471 216 343

 

Lauren Martin

Press Officer (press fleet)

 

E: lmartin@kia.co.uk

T: 01932 832071  M: 07557 268 252

Melissa Lodge
Press Office Assistant

 

E: mlodge@kia.co.uk   

T: 01932 832079 M: 07795 011 475

 

 

Follow Kia on Twitter @KiaUKPR

Follow Kia at www.facebook.com/kiamotorsuk

Watch Kia at www.youtube.com/kiamotorsuk

 

 

GENERAL

Kia Niro Press Pack 2018

THE NEW NIRO ON (JUST OVER) A PAGE                                                

General

  • Kia's first dedicated hybrid and first hybrid of any description in the UK
  • Slots into a market expected to reach 700,000 a year in Europe by 2020
  • Unique crossover/SUV styling for the compact hybrid segment
  • The practicality and showroom appeal of a crossover with the fuel efficiency of a hybrid
  • Three-model line-up in UK with grades ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘4’
  • Plug-in hybrid version (PHEV) added to the range in 2017

Body

  • Based on an all-new platform exclusively for electrified cars
  • Five-door, five-seater front-wheel-drive crossover
  • Low drag co-efficient of 0.29, despite standard roof rails
  • At 4,355mm long, slots between the Ceed hatchback and Sportage SUV in size
  • Batteries located under the rear seat for low centre of gravity and ideal packaging
  • Made up of 53 per cent advanced high-strength steel
  • Bonnet, tailgate panel, front bumper back beam and several chassis components in aluminium to save weight
  • Signature design cues like 'tiger-nose' grille ensure Niro is easily recognisable as a Kia

Interior

  • Long, 2,700mm wheelbase and width of 1,805mm create ample space for five adults
  • Shapely front seats save 1.3kg each and offer excellent all-round support
  • Dashboard split into upper display area and lower control area with fewer, simpler switches
  • Horizontal trim line on dashboard emphasises width and space inside
  • Luxurious soft-touch materials and trim details attest to high-quality fit and finish
  • Under-seat battery positioning allows for a capacious 373-litre boot with uninterrupted rectangular shape and low loading lip

Powertrain and running gear

  • Petrol-electric hybrid with six-speed auto dual-clutch automatic gearbox (6DCT) in place of more common continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • 1.6-litre Kappa direct-injection (GDi) combustion engine developing 104bhp and 147Nm of torque, supported by a 32kW (43bhp) electric motor with 170Nm of torque
  • Combined power output 139bhp, with 265Nm of torque in first gear
  • Parallel hybrid drive system with brake energy recovery: normally the two power units work together, but able to run in all-electric mode for short distances in some circumstances
  • Combined fuel economy of up to 58.9mpg, with CO2 emissions starting at 86g/km
  • Petrol engine uses Atkinson cycle combustion process to make greater use of energy
  • Cooled exhaust gas recirculation, direct injection, long-stroke engine and exhaust heat recovery to speed warm-up also aid efficiency
  • 6DCT transmission employs low-friction bearings and low-viscosity oils, and includes Manual Sports driving mode
  • Transmission-Mounted Electric Device ensures 6DCT works more efficiently with hybrid powertrain
  • All-independent suspension and wide stance improve stability, responsiveness, steering feel and ride comfort
  • Low drag co-efficient, 6DCT transmission and extensive measures to reduce noise, vibration and harshness ensure impressive refinement
  • New electric parking brake replaces foot-operated parking brake

Technology and safety

  • Wireless phone charger on grade ‘3’ upwards
  • New Telematics system with UVO Connect Services on grade ‘3’ upwards
  • Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ standard, giving access to navigation, music, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition through smartphone apps
  • Advanced active safety technologies include Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Adaptive Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Lane Departure and Lane Keeping Assist on all models, with Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert standard on grade ‘4’
  • DAB radio standard, with eight-speaker JBL® sound system on grade ‘4’
  • New 10.25-inch Touchscreen multimedia system Satellite Navigation with European Mapping & Traffic Messaging Channel (TMC) on grades ‘3’ and ‘4’
  • New LED headlights with bi-function projection on grade ‘4’
  • Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW) on grade ‘4’

INTRODUCTION

  • Kia's first dedicated hybrid to go on sale in the UK
  • Delivers low-cost, high-efficiency motoring in a stylish crossover package
  • Built on an all-new platform and featuring an all-new powertrain
  • Fuel economy of up to 58.9mpg with CO2 emissions from 86g/km
  • Available with the latest connectivity and driver assistance features

Niro is not your run-of-the-mill hybrid. It delivers the high efficiency and low running costs of a petrol-electric car with the style, practicality and desirability of a compact crossover. It is based on an all-new platform which will only ever be used for electrified vehicles, and has an all-new powertrain featuring a 1.6-litre, 104bhp internal combustion engine and a 32kW (43bhp) electric motor driving through a six-speed auto dual-clutch automatic transmission.     

The compact five-door, five-seater Niro was a joint design between Kia's studios at Namyang in Korea and Irvine, California. The sleek crossover profile has a low drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.29, while extensive use of high-strength steel and aluminium in the body construction helps to trim the minimum kerb weight to as low as 1,500kg. Both are significant factors in Niro's low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Niro is not a hair-shirt fuel-saving car, however. Its horizontally structured interior exhibits the high-quality fit and finish now apparent in every model from Kia, and it is available with the latest connectivity and active safety technologies, including a Telematics System with UVO Connect Services, wireless smartphone charging, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist detection, smart adaptive cruise control and Lane Keeping Assist, blind spot and rear cross traffic warning systems. It also offers Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ which, via pre-downloaded apps, links smartphones to navigation, music, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition services.    

Hybrid sales in the UK and mainland Europe have doubled over the past five years and are expected to reach 700,000 annually by the end of the decade. Niro ensures Kia is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this growing demand. It is offered in the UK in a three-strong model range – designated grades ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘4’ – all featuring a high standard specification.

For 2019, Kia has made a number of improvements to the Niro, its best-selling electrified crossover range of ultra-low emission vehicles. The upgraded Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models made their global debut at the Geneva International Motor Show 2019.

The Niro, which combines crossover style practicality with ultra-low hybrid emissions, has been enhanced for 2019 with a new exterior design and a more upscale, high-quality interior. The Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models also feature Kia’s advanced new UVO CONNECT telematics system, which brings additional ‘connected’ functionality to the car.

Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer for Kia Motors Europe, comments: “The Niro has become a key growth driver for Kia in Europe and is a cornerstone of our electrified product strategy. Its cool crossover design, high versatility, and low emissions and running costs make it an attractive proposition for both private and business buyers. New enhancements to quality and design, and the adoption of our ‘connected’ UVO system, will make the Niro family an even more compelling proposition.”

DESIGN AND PACKAGING

Dedicated hybrid vehicles, as opposed to those developed from a combustion-engined car, have previously involved compromises in design, mainly to achieve the lowest air-drag figure possible. That is why the majority have adopted a tear-drop hatchback profile – practical and efficient, but uninspiring and not what customers demand in a market increasingly attuned to SUVs and crossovers.

Kia was adamant it could overcome the design limitations of other dedicated hybrids without sacrificing practicality, versatility and aerodynamic efficiency. The result is Niro, a hybrid with a modern, attractive crossover body style and ample room for five people plus their luggage. The remarkable feat is that this has been achieved with a drag co-efficient (Cd) of 0.29, despite the standard roof rails.

To make this possible, Kia designers took a reverse approach during the creation of Niro: design an attractive, sporty, stylish and tough-looking crossover, then fine-tune the aerodynamics to suit the requirements of a hybrid. This novel way of going about things has resulted in a crossover which is appealing in its own right which also serves as a highly efficient hybrid.

Enhancements for 2019

Retaining its stylish crossover design, the upgraded Kia Niro features a handful of design updates for 2019. The refreshed design aligns the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid variants of the range with the appearance of the all-new all-electric e-Niro.

The Niro’s distinctive and iconic ‘tiger-nose’ grille has been updated, new bumpers at the front and rear give it a more purposeful appearance and more confident stance on the road. The standard projection headlamps have been redesigned, incorporating Kia’s unique ‘ice-cube’ design. On the LED lights full LED headlamps are available on the grade ‘4’ model. The bumper features new LED daytime running lights below the headlamps with a unique double-arrow layout, as well as LED fog lamps on grades ‘3’ and ‘4’.

At the rear of the car, newly-redesigned LED lights give the Niro a more distinctive and modern light signature. The new bumper design is finished with a silver-painted skid plate and incorporates new light reflectors and rear fog lamps in the corners.

The Niro Hybrid now provides more variant options to buyers, offered with a choice of a re-designed 16-inch alloy wheel design on grade ‘2’, as well as an all-new 18-inch dual-tone diamond-cut alloy wheel on grades ‘3’ and ‘4’.

Exterior styling

From any angle, Niro exudes dynamism and strength. The body line linking the roof, glasshouse and bonnet adds crossover-style volume to the car, while a wide bumper with bold lines and the now-familiar 'tiger-nose' grille adds a distinctive Kia family look. Body cladding on the lower edge of the front and rear bumpers, along the sides and around the wheel arches emphasises Niro's crossover credentials, but there are also subtleties which illustrate the attention to detail of the design and engineering teams to make Niro a legitimate hybrid.

An active air flap in the lower front grille opens and closes according to the cooling requirements of the powertrain, so that Niro is running in the most efficient aerodynamic configuration in all circumstances, and there are air curtains, like gills, in the front corners of the car. These channel air away from the front wheel arches to reduce turbulence in those areas, again to aid aerodynamic efficiency. A specially shaped roof leading into a rear spoiler channels air over the car in the most efficient manner. Even the stylish 16-inch alloy wheels with plastic covers on grade ‘2’ have been designed with aerodynamics in mind.

The tailgate area is equally clean-looking and sits over a diffuser which aids airflow under the car. The C-shaped rear lamps are mounted immediately beneath the tailgate glass, while the contours of the wide and deep tailgate emphasise the smooth aerodynamic shape of Niro. Even the location of the standard rear-vision camera reduces drag: it is housed within the rear wiper mounting so as not to impede air exiting the rear. The rear corners of the car have been refined in minute detail to reduce drag without worsening visibility. There are specially profiled door mirror casings and – as an example of the attention to detail of Kia's engineers – covered holes in the roof rails, which sit flush on the bodywork.

The design of Niro was a joint effort between Kia's studios at Namyang in Korea and Irvine, California. Niro features the subtly sculpted surfaces and sharp lines that are now Kia design hallmarks. A wide stance gives pointers to the car's stability and low centre of gravity, while a long bonnet, short overhangs, elevated headlights and a rising shoulder line are other Kia distinguishing features. The body tapers towards the rear, where bold wheel arches, a squared-off bumper and the high-mounted C-shaped tail light clusters emphasise Niro's crossover stance.

At 4,355mm long, 1,805mm wide and 1,535mm tall, the compact Niro sits between the Ceed hatchback and the Sportage SUV in size. Yet with a 2,700mm wheelbase and short front and rear overhangs it provides generous interior space.

Enhanced interior

Inside, Kia has introduced a series of visual and material upgrades for 2019, creating a more upscale atmosphere and enhancing cabin quality. The top of the dashboard is finished in high-quality soft-touch coating, while the dashboard and instrument panel feature elegant new gloss black trim with satin chrome highlights. Kia is also introducing a new 10.25-inch TFT widescreen for the main display on grades ‘3’ and ‘4’. The car is fitted with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system on the grade ‘2’ model. A 4.2-inch TFT (Thin Film Transistor) full-colour supervision cluster is standard on grades ‘2’ and ‘3’ with a 7.0-inch TFT Colour Display on grade ‘4’.

Inside information

Aerodynamic considerations posed many challenges for the teams tasked with Niro's packaging. It was determined early on that Niro would be a compact hybrid crossover – shorter than the Sportage SUV, but longer than the cee'd hatchback. There had to be a limit on height to reduce drag, but this was not to be at the expense of a raised seating position. And space, versatility, ease of entrance and visibility were not to suffer in any way. The result is one of Kia's most efficiently packaged cars ever.

Thanks to the long, 2,700mm wheelbase there is generous space for five people. There is up to 1,059mm of legroom in the front and 950mm in the rear; the class-leading headroom of up to 1,018mm in front and 993mm behind is greater than in many C-segment SUVs; the 1,805mm wide body provides 1,423mm of shoulder room for the two front occupants and only slightly less, at 1,402mm, in the rear. At the same time there is 373 litres of luggage space with all five seats occupied, thanks to the location of the battery pack beneath the rear seat. This expands to 1,371 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded. The 45-litre fuel tank is located alongside the battery pack beneath the rear seat.

The ergonomic fascia and information clusters follow what is becoming a modern theme for Kia, starting with a wide dashboard set out on horizontal lines. There is an upper display sector with the instrument panel and infotainment screen at the same height for instant, easier reading, separated by a cabin-wide trim line from the lower control area, where the heating and ventilation and driver assistance switches are located.

Inside the cabin, every last nook and cranny has been used for storage of personal items, and in grades ‘3’ and ‘4’ there is a tray for wireless charging of mobile devices.

The Niro now has an electric park brake in place of the previous foot-operated parking brake to release more space for oddments in the centre console, and is fitted in the UK with a tyre mobility kit rather than a spare wheel to reduce weight and ensure the boot is as large as possible. Space-saving front seats with special foam-backed covers and slim headrests contribute to the car's exceptional roominess and also save 1.3kg each thanks to their high-strength steel frames, yet they are still able to cushion occupants against bumps and vibrations as a result of high-density foam and profiled springs and pads.

There is smart black cloth and leather upholstery on grade ‘2’ and black all-leather upholstery on grades ‘3’ and ‘4’. Elsewhere, all models feature high-gloss black inserts in the steering wheel, dashboard and door panels, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear shifter, a 8.0- or 10.25-inch touchscreen system and satin chrome interior door handles further attest to the quality of Niro.

DYNAMICS

No compromises in safety, comfort and refinement

By re-engineering some existing components, Kia has been able to ensure that Niro has a unique chassis specifically designed for a hybrid, while being the equal of the brand's other compact models for ride comfort, handling and refinement.

Niro's driving characteristics begin with fully independent suspension all round, based on MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link arrangement with dual lower arms at the rear. It has been tuned to deliver maximum on-centre steering feel, high-speed stability and immediate response to steering inputs. Because each rear wheel is able to absorb bumps independently, shocks are less likely to be transmitted to the cabin than with a cheaper torsion beam rear axle, while the wide stance and low centre of gravity enhance stability.

Capitalising on the experience gained through the development of previous generations of Optima hybrid (neither sold in the UK) plus the Soul EV, Kia has been able to give Niro consistent and linear deceleration and brake feel unusual in an electrified car.

All-disc brakes are used, ventilated at the front, and there is a new electric park brake in place of the previous foot-operated item. The anti-lock braking system includes Brake Assist, which ensures maximum retardation in an emergency stop, regardless of the force applied to the pedal by the driver.

Steering is via Kia's proven column-mounted motor-driven power-assisted system (C-MDPS), which gives the car a compact turning circle of 10.6 metres and requires less than 2.7 turns of the wheel between the extremes of lock. The steering gear has been mounted well forward and features an increased gear ratio and a larger electric motor for greater self-centring and responsiveness. Niro's agility is also helped by aluminium front suspension knuckles, lower arms and brake calipers, all of which save weight and counter inertia.

Niro ‘2’ has 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/60 R16 tyres, while grades ‘3’ and ‘4’ are fitted with 18-inch alloys and 225/45 R18 tyres.

Niro's exceptional refinement proved particularly challenging to perfect because of the hybrid powertrain. Contributing towards this are asymmetric engine mounts to minimise powertrain movements at the attachment points in the subframe, high-density under-bonnet insulation, an acoustic shield with a special support structure to improve the sound of the combustion engine when accelerating in the most commonly used speed ranges, and the adoption of a 6DCT gearbox in place of a CVT

Road noise is minimised by high-insulation rigid bushes in the front subframe, high-strength steel in the rear wheel arches and additional insulation in the A- and B-pillars. The low drag co-efficient (Cd) of 0.29 contributes towards the suppression of wind noise, aided by laminated windscreen glass, a cowl over the front windscreen wipers, specially profiled door mirror casings and – as an example of the attention to detail of Kia's engineers – covers over the holes in the roof rails, which sit flush with the bodywork.

There will be no combustion engine-only version of Niro. Its all-new platform has been engineered exclusively for electrified vehicles, with a plug-in hybrid version (PHEV) introduced in 2017 and an all-electric version, the e-Niro, launched in 2018. 

The platform has been designed to accommodate present and future electrical components within a compact vehicle footprint without intrusion into the spacious interior and luggage area. A slightly raised crossover-style seating position makes getting in and out easier and provides a superior view out.

The structure is particularly strong and includes 53 per cent advanced high-strength steel, which ensures that rigidity and safety do not compromise weight. This is aided by extensive use of aluminium for the bonnet, tailgate panel, front bumper back beam and several chassis elements, including the front knuckles, front lower arms and brake calipers. The aluminium bonnet and tailgate alone save 11kg when compared with comparable steel components. The front seats save 1.3kg each thanks to their high-strength steel frames, yet they are still able to cushion occupants against bumps and vibrations as a result of their high-density foam, while specially profiled springs and pads provide high levels of thigh, hip and side support.

As a result of all this, Niro's minimum kerbside weight is from 1,500 to 1,521kg, depending on model specification. To ensure body integrity and rigidity in critical areas, hot-stamped steel is used to reinforce the A- and B-pillars, roof rails and wheel arches.

The battery pack is housed beneath the rear seat, with no intrusion into the boot, as is the 45-litre fuel tank.

ENGINES

The phrase 'clean-sheet-of-paper car' is much over-used, but in the case of Niro it is totally apt. Niro is a dedicated hybrid, not an adaptation of a combustion-engined car, and while it employs modified chassis components from other models where feasible, to keep down manufacturing and ownership costs, the vast majority of it is all-new.

That includes the platform on which it is based – designed purely for electrified vehicles – and the combustion engine and transmission which, unlike those in most other hybrid vehicles, is a six-speed auto dual-clutch automatic (6DCT) rather than a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), improving smoothness, efficiency and refinement.

Atkinson Cycle combustion engine

The petrol engine is a normally aspirated 1.6-litre direct-injection (GDi) unit from the Kappa family, specifically engineered for use in hybrid cars. It is a long-stroke 16-valve unit with an aluminium cylinder head and block and a steel oil pan. The engine's dimensions are unchanged, with a 72mm cylinder bore and a 97mm piston stroke, and it develops an identical 104bhp at 5,700rpm and 147Nm of torque at 4,000rpm, but in Niro it marks the first combination of an Atkinson combustion cycle, cooled exhaust gas recirculation, direct petrol injection and a long-stroke specification for maximum efficiency.

The Atkinson cycle engine was invented by James Atkinson, of Hampstead, at the dawn of the motoring age (he first filed for patents in the mid-1880s), but it is now proving to be an ideal solution for emissions-reducing hybrid cars in the 21st century.

It works on the principle of completing all four stages of the combustion process (intake, compression, ignition and exhaust) on just one rotation of the crankshaft, rather than the two required in the more common Otto cycle engine. At the same time the compression ratio is reduced, and the intake stroke is shorter than the power stroke, therefore requiring less fuel to turn the engine over.

While this inevitably reduces the amount of power the engine can develop, it is less important in a hybrid car which has the assistance of an electric motor, and which in any case aims to maximise efficiency rather than outright performance. With the benefit of continuously variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust sides of the engine, the Kappa unit is easily able to achieve the variations in compression ratio and piston stroke required by the Atkinson Cycle. In Niro, efficiency is further aided by an exhaust heat recovery system which speeds the engine warm-up process.

The Kappa Atkinson cycle engine features isolated cooling technology which prevents the cylinder head and block from overheating while reducing knocking and friction. Sodium, which has high thermal conductivity, is used in the hollow exhaust valves, and friction losses have been reduced through tapered roller bearings and low viscosity oil. The engine's thermal efficiency of 40 per cent is among the best in the global auto industry.      

The power electronics system

In Niro, the combustion engine is paired with a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor developing 32kW (43bhp) from 1,798 to 2,500rpm, and 170Nm of torque from rest to 1,798rpm. Power to the motor comes from a 240-volt lithium-ion polymer battery capable of storing 1.56kWh of electrical energy. Together, the two power units produce a maximum 139bhp at 5,700rpm, with 265Nm of torque available in first gear from 1,000 to 2,400rpm. The result is extremely brisk acceleration from standstill and in typical urban scenarios, where Niro is most likely to be found, with effortless cruising ability at the speeds permitted in the UK. Acceleration from standstill to 60mph is achieved in 11.1 seconds, and the car has a top speed of 101mph.

Niro's battery pack is light and the whole hybrid battery system weighs just 33kg, and has up to 50 per cent greater power density and 13 per cent greater energy efficiency than the systems in rival hybrid cars.

Niro's battery cells have a ceramic coating between the cathode and anode sides, a Voltage Protection Device, a dedicated battery management system and an integrated control system, all to improve safety, minimise fire risk and ensure reliability and ease of maintenance.  

Niro is a parallel hybrid, which means that most of the time the petrol and electric power units work together. However, it can operate in all-electric mode for short distances when setting off, under gentle acceleration and when descending slopes or braking. A brake energy recovery system recoups energy normally dissipated as heat and stores it in the batteries for use later. The switch between all-electric, hybrid or petrol engine-only modes is seamless and varies according to the load being placed on the powertrain.

This advanced power system ensures Niro is capable of up to 58.9mpg, with CO2 emissions from only 88g/km, with the 16-inch wheels and tyres fitted to grade ‘2’. The respective figures for grades ‘3’ and ‘4’, which have 18-inch wheels and wider tyres, are 54.3mpg and 101g/km.

Model

Total power bhp

Total torque Nm

0–60 sec

Max speed mph

Combined mpg (WLTP)

CO2 g/km (NEDC 2.0)

‘2’ 1.6 GDi 6DCT hybrid 

139

265

11.1

101

58.9

86

‘3’ 1.6 GDi 6DCT hybrid

139

265

11.1

101

55.4

99

‘4’ 1.6 GDi 6DCT hybrid

139

265

11.1

101

55.4

99

 

A dual-clutch automatic transmission instead of the more common CVT

Niro employs a dual-clutch automatic transmission rather than the continuously variable automatic (CVT) more commonly found in hybrid cars. The in-house 6DCT gearbox is based on the 7DCT transmission fitted to some other Kia models, and uses a dry dual clutch to keep weight to a minimum and reduce the friction losses through viscosity which occur in wet dual-clutch systems. The gearbox has been specially engineered to work with hybrid powertrains. It is smoother, more efficient and quieter than a CVT.

In normal operation the 6DCT transmission changes gear automatically, with no need for intervention from the driver. One clutch operates the odd-numbered gears (first, third and fifth) and the other clutch is responsible for the even-numbered gears (second, fourth and sixth). The 6DCT is able to work automatically in both Eco and Sport modes, with the latter delaying upchanges until the power unit has attained higher revs for greater performance. But there is also a Manual mode, accessed by sliding the lever to the side when in the Drive position. The driver is then able to up- or down-change at will by rocking the gear selector forwards or backwards.  

The layout and gear train have been designed for light weight and compact size, while special bearings and low-viscosity oil reduce friction, promoting greater efficiency, reducing reaction times and minimising noise. A new Transmission-Mounted Electric Device (TMED) allows the full output of both power units to be transferred in parallel to the drive wheels with minimal energy losses. This differs from the power-split system typical of CVT transmissions, which convert a portion of engine output for delivery through the electric motor, resulting in a loss of energy. TMED allows the hybrid system to access battery power directly at higher speeds for swifter response.

TECHNOLOGY

The cabin features a range of technologies to enhance comfort and convenience for occupants. The infotainment system is a touchscreen system, with DAB radio with MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth® and Kia Connected Services powered by TomTom®. The system enables full smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™.

Grade ‘2’ features an 8.0-inch touchscreen system with a reversing camera and Kia Connected Services featuring TomTom®. Grade ‘3’ and ‘4’ models feature a brand-new 10.25-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system with European mapping and Traffic Messaging Channel and Telematics system with UVO Connect Services. In addition, a wireless mobile phone charger is standard on grade ‘3’ and ‘4’ and an 8-speaker JBL® premium sound system with subwoofer, external amp and front centre speaker is fitted to grade ‘4’

The Niro is among the first Kia models in Europe to offer the brand’s innovative UVO CONNECT telematics system, connecting drivers to the world around to provide them with useful information during a drive.

Standard on grades ‘3’ and ‘4’ and accessible via the 10.25-inch touchscreen and the owner’s smartphone, UVO CONNECT features a new Kia Live system, which uses its own SIM card to retrieve and update live data.

The second element of the UVO system is the UVO App, designed for compatibility on Android and Apple smartphones. The app offers users peace of mind with a range of features to provide diagnostic data about their car and the trips they take. The app also enables owners to activate a range of remote functions and features remotely. Users can remotely send route directions to their car before a journey; check the location of their vehicle, and access vehicle reports and diagnostic notifications.

The 10.25-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system features with Bluetooth® multi-connection as standard, enabling occupants to connect two mobile devices at once, as well as Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. Its advanced split-screen functionality lets users control or monitor different vehicle features at the same time, customising the screen with a series of different widgets. This allows the driver to have a single display (such as navigation or powertrain information) or combine numerous elements on-screen at the same time. This means the driver can follow navigation directions or keep track of energy flow through the hybrid powertrain, while passengers can simultaneously choose their favourite songs or check the weather forecast.

The technology has been developed to comply with the latest European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ensuring the highest levels of data privacy and protection.

The top two grades also have a wireless mobile phone charger, located in the centre console tray, which uses inductive charging to power the batteries of compatible electronic devices. Occupants are therefore able to recharge mobile phones or MP3 players without the inconvenience of wires and connectors, which frequently change when new devices are introduced. The wireless charger features foreign object detection, switches on automatically when a phone is placed upon it and displays the phone's charge status in the instrument cluster. An in-built safety system prevents overheating, while drivers and passengers are warned if they are about to leave the car with the phone still on the charging pad.

The Niro is among the first Kia models in Europe to offer the brand’s innovative UVO CONNECT telematics system, connecting drivers to the world around to provide them with invaluable information during a drive.

Android Auto™ works with Android smartphones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher and connects the user's smartphone to the car's infotainment system. Through pre-downloaded apps, it then gives access to a variety of services such as Google Maps navigation, Google Play music, hands-free calls and texts and voice recognition. Apple CarPlay™ functions with iPhone 5 or newer and enables full Siri voice control of the phone's apps and functions while linking the car to Apple Maps, calls and text dictation, music streaming and audiobooks.

Standard technologies include full Bluetooth® smartphone integration, as well as automatic headlights, rain sensing front wipers, smart entry system on all versions. In addition, there are electrically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors and a reversing camera with rear parking sensors. Heated front seats and steering wheel, as well as front parking sensors are fitted to grade ‘3’ models, while grade ‘4’ editions add heated rear outer seats, ventilated front seats, a tilting and sliding power sunroof, ambient lighting, LED headlights with bi-function projection and electric driver’s seat with memory functionality for both the seats and mirrors. There’s also a 7.0-inch full TFT colour display cluster for the driver to view the car’s instruments.

SAFETY

The latest Niro offers the best of what Kia has to offer in advanced active driver aids. Every version has Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) that can not only detect cars, but also pedestrians and cyclists, in addition to a Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) with Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Adaptive Smart Cruise Control with stop and go and a Speed Limiter.

Grade ‘4’ models also feature powerful LED headlights with bi-function projection, Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW). With these features fitted, Niro has been awarded a five-star crash-test rating by Euro NCAP.

Preventive safety

Niro's Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian and cyclist detection system brings the car to a halt if the driver fails to react to a potential accident. It uses short- and long-wave radars to monitor the proximity of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in front of the car. If the sensors detect an imminent collision and the driver does not respond, the brakes are applied automatically. The system is split into three main categories:

City, which can avoid low-speed urban accidents at up to 13mph.

Inter-Urban, which operates between 31mph and 50mph.

Pedestrian, which detects pedestrians and other vulnerable road users such as cyclists at up to 44mph.

Smart Cruise Control maintains the distance to the car ahead, automatically slowing and accelerating in accordance with the flow of traffic.

Lane Keep Assist uses a camera behind the rear-view mirror to 'film' the lane ahead of the car. It then passes this information to an electronic control unit which detects the lane and markings. If the control unit recognises that Niro has left its lane with no indicator activated, it issues sound and visual alerts to the driver and steers the car back into its lane if necessary.

The Blind Spot Detection system ensures the driver does not stray into the path of an overtaking vehicle, while the Rear Cross Traffic Alert prevents the driver from reversing out of a driveway or parking space when there is a vehicle approaching from the side. It achieves this by using sensors to monitor the sides of the car, using the Blind Spot Detection radar, to alert the driver.

Electronic Stability Control and Vehicle Stability Management, which collectively control skids when cornering or accelerating on surfaces with uneven levels of grip, are standard, while Hill-start Assist prevents the car from rolling backwards when setting off on gradients.

Passive safety provisions start with the rigidity of the body structure, which is reinforced in critical areas and features crumple zones front and rear and anti-intrusion beams at the sides. There are seven airbags, including one to protect the driver's knees; all-round height-adjustable headrests; height-adjustable front seat belts with an automatic tightening device in the event of emergency braking; ISOFIX child seat top tethers and anchors; and doors which unlock automatically after an impact.

SPECIFICATION HIGHLIGHTS

All versions of the Niro are well equipped and feature an extensive package of convenience and safety items which becomes progressively more comprehensive with every step up the range.

Grade ‘2’ models feature 16-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, automatic headlight control, electrically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors with LED indicators, black part cloth and leather upholstery, a leather trimmed steering wheel and gearshift, dual automatic air conditioning, all-round electric windows and an auto-dimming rear view mirror, in addition to a new electric park brake with autohold, a six-speaker DAB radio with MP3 compatibility and 7.0-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlayTM and Android AutoTM with voice control, Bluetooth® with music streaming, Kia Connected Services featuring TomTom® Traffic, speed cameras, local search and weather updates, reversing camera and rear parking sensors. A fast-charging USB port for smartphones and other devices is included in the centre console.

Key safety equipment includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with car, pedestrian and cyclist detection, Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), Lane Follow Assist (LFA), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), seven airbags and ISOFIX child seat top tethers and anchor fixings.

Chrome coated exterior door handles give an upmarket appearance and are combined with body coloured and high gloss door mirrors, a matt black radiator grille, as well as black side sill and wheel arch body mouldings and beltline mouldings. LED daytime running lights ensure that you’re seen in poor visibility, and these are included with LED rear combination lights.

Both the front passenger and driver’s seat are height adjustable, and the steering wheel features tilt and telescopic adjustment. High gloss black trim on the steering wheel, door inserts, lower console and central fascia gives a smart appearance, with satin finish interior door handles. To aid practicality when carrying awkward loads, the rear seats fold down in a 60:40 fashion.

A 4.2-inch supervision instrument cluster with TFT LCD colour display is provided as standard on all models, with a trip computer that provides distance, fuel consumption and average speed information in a handy readout.

For security, an alarm system and engine immobiliser is included, as well as locking wheel nuts, a visible vehicle identification number (VIN), deadlocks for the doors and speed sensing auto door locking that can be activated by the dealer.

Move up to grade ‘3’ and extra equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED front fog lights, black leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat including lumbar support, a heated steering wheel, aluminium door scuff plates and front parking sensors. A new 10.25-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system with European mapping and Traffic Messaging Channel (TMC) is now standard equipment, as well as a Telematics system with UVO Connect Services and wireless mobile phone charger.

The top-of-the-range grade ‘4’ model features a tilting and sliding electric sunroof, LED headlights with bi-function projection, memory functionality for the driver’s seat and door mirrors, heated rear outer seats, ventilated front seats, ambient lighting, aluminium pedals, LED cabin and luggage area lighting, 7.0-inch full TFT LCD colour display cluster and an eight-speaker JBL® premium sound system with subwoofer, external amp and front centre speaker. Safety equipment has been enhanced, too, with the inclusion of Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW), Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear-Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).

WARRANTY AND AFTER-CARE

Kia set a new benchmark in 2007 when it launched the cee'd with an industry-best seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. That demonstration of faith in the quality and reliability of Kia products was subsequently extended to every model.

A major benefit is that it is transferable to subsequent owners at no charge, as long as the seven-year time limit has not been reached and the mileage is below 100,000.

The mechanical warranty is supported by a 12-year anti-perforation warranty and a five-year paint warranty.

Servicing is required every 10,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes soonest. The New Niro is available with Kia’s ‘Kia Care’ service plans, which have been developed to provide customers with a wide range of service plan options for any Kia model within the first seven years of the vehicle’s life – matching its industry-leading seven-year warranty.

The service plans feature a comprehensive range of options including the original, traditional, first, third and fifth services and those in between, but in addition a customer can now purchase services up to and including the seventh service which matches the full length of the warranty. The plans are available for all Kia owners and can be purchased at any point of ownership for cars up to five years old.

The Kia Promise was introduced to give customers the best ownership experience by giving them access to seven key benefits. The Kia Promise is activated after purchase and is done by simply registering on the online portal, MyKia. Along with the industry leading seven-year/100,000 mile warranty, other benefits of the Kia Promise include complimentary seven day insurance and £250 Insurance Excess Return for one year; easy to use Click & Collect on Genuine Kia accessories; convenient online service booking; Family-Like Care and Accident AfterCare. Every new Kia also comes with complimentary Roadside Assistance for 12 months. When a customer registers on MyKia, Kia Roadside Assistance Plus, the highest level of cover provided by the RAC, can be unlocked, which includes onward travel and European cover.

FIVE MINUTES WITH PAUL PHILPOTT

Burning questions that you would love to ask our President and CEO

  1. How important is the Niro in the UK?

The Niro accounts for around 6 per cent of total sales in the UK, and is the fourth best-selling nameplate in the Kia portfolio. Last year, we sold more than 6,400 Niro models in the UK, and with the alternative fuel market continuing to grow, we expect the Niro to continue to take a significant portion of the hybrid market sales.

  1. What sales targets have you set for the new Niro for the UK market?

We never release sales or production targets for individual models; however, we expect the updated Niro to outsell its predecessor.

  1. And what sales targets have you set for the Kia brand as a whole in the UK?

Next year is likely to be another challenging year, until we get some certainty around Brexit, but we fully expect to reach another new sales record in 2019, of in excess of 96,000 units. During 2018, we achieved sales growth of 2.73 per cent to 95,764 sales, in a market that was down by 7 per cent. And this was achieved in a year when the cee’d was on runout, the Sportage was transitioning through its mid-life facelift and of course the industry faced challenges with the transition from NEDC to WLTP.

  1. What message would you like to send to potential diesel customers?

With the introduction of the latest emissions regulations, specifically the upcoming Euro 6d TEMP standards, Kia diesel engines have never been cleaner. They are fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) active emissions control technology to regulate emissions. For higher mileage users, diesel cars make total sense, delivering low running costs and exceptional fuel economy. But if buyers are unsure as to the future of diesel power, we have a range of hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, in addition to pure electric vehicles that deliver high levels of efficiency as an alternative to our cutting edge diesel engines.

  1. How important are fleet sales for the Niro?

A wide range of different models has always been an essential element in our plan for sustainable fleet and business growth and the Niro gives us a credible entrant in the alternative fuel segment. Kia’s strategy in the business market in the UK has been to deliver compelling choices for business users where residual values contribute to excellent operating costs. The Niro delivers the technology, safety, reliability, practicality and appeal that the fleet market demands in a highly satisfying, efficient package.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We've anticipated what you're likely to ask us

  1. What is the importance to Kia of hybrid vehicles?
  2. The first reason is that the hybrid market is growing rapidly, not just in the UK but in Europe, too, and we want a share of it. But of greater significance, all manufacturers have to lower average CO2 emissions to 95g/km or less in Europe by 2020-21, and electric and electrified vehicles are essential to achieve this. We also have our own internal targets of a 25 per cent reduction in average corporate CO2 emissions, based on 2014 levels, by 2020.

 

  1. Why a dedicated hybrid rather than one based on an existing model?
  2. It makes a statement of our intent to be a leading manufacturer in the production of low- or zero-emissions cars. Dedicated hybrids also avoid the compromises found in hybrids based on existing models, such as loss of boot space and a reduced payload. The important thing was that our dedicated hybrid had to have the showroom appeal of any other Kia and reflect market tastes, hence our decision to create a crossover-style kind of car. We have hybrids based on existing models with the Optima and Optima Sportswagon plug-in hybrids.

 

  1. What level of sales is Niro achieving in the UK, and is it mostly a fleet or a retail car?
  2. In 2018, we sold more than 6,400 examples of the Niro Hybrid, including over 1,200 examples of the Niro Plug-in Hybrid. Around 60 per cent of sales are to fleets. Our research shows that buyers are primarily shopping for a compact crossover with style, practicality and high technology content, but they are also fully aware of and interested in the benefits of hybrids.

  

  1. Is Niro on sale at every Kia dealership, and can all dealers service it because of the extra safety demands when working with electric components?
  2. Every Kia dealer has at least one technician plus a Kia Master Technician trained in handling the high-voltage systems associated with electrified cars, so Niro is sold at and can be serviced at any Kia dealership. Model-specific training is also provided at two-day courses to coincide with the launch of each Kia electric and hybrid vehicle.

 

  1. When the Niro was first launched, a ‘1’ variant was available. Why has that been discontinued?
  2. It was deleted from the model line-up early in 2018 to reduce model range complexity. Just three per cent of buyers opted for the ‘1’ variant in 2017, with customers preferring to choose better equipped editions of the Niro.

 

  1. Which are the best-selling versions?
  2. The most popular is the ‘2’ variant, which accounts for more than 53 per cent of all sales, followed by the ‘3’ edition that represents almost 27 per cent.

 

  1. Under the new WLTP emissions test, how will official CO2 emissions from the Niro compare to its predecessor?
  2. As with the majority of other manufacturers, we expect official WLTP CO2 (converted back to NEDC 2.0) ratings to come in slightly higher than earlier models tested under NEDC conditions.

Ends

For further information on Kia please visit www.kiapressoffice.com or contact:

 

Stephen Kitson
Director of Corporate Communications

 

E: skitson@kia.co.uk   

T: 01932 832075 M: 07795 011 936

 

Daniel Sayles
Press Relations Manager

E: dsayles@kia.co.uk  

T: 01932 832073 M: 07747 149 149

 

Sara Robinson     
Senior Press Officer

E: srobinson@kia.co.uk

T: 01932 832072 M: 07919 482 332

 

Moyosola Fujamade
Press Officer (events)

E: mfujamade@kia.co.uk  

T: 01932 832069 M: 07471 216 343

 

Lauren Martin

Press Officer (press fleet)

 

E: lmartin@kia.co.uk

T: 01932 832071  M: 07557 268 252

Melissa Lodge
Press Office Assistant

 

E: mlodge@kia.co.uk   

T: 01932 832079 M: 07795 011 475

 

 

Follow Kia on Twitter @KiaUKPR

Follow Kia at www.facebook.com/kiamotorsuk

Watch Kia at www.youtube.com/kiamotorsuk

 

 



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