For the first time, a plug-in hybrid compact crossover is available in the UK. It's the Kia Niro Phev, which joins the existing parallel-hybrid version.
A 1.6 litre, direct-injection, Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and an electric motor provide the car's power. They produce 104 bhp (77 kW / 105 PS) and 59 bhp (44 kW / 60 PS) respectively, giving a combined rating of 139 bhp (104 kW / 141 PS) with 265 Nm (195 lb/ft) of torque. That output is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Energy is stored in an enlarged 8.9 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack. Although total luggage capacity drops slightly to 324 litres as a result, maximum range when running in EV (pure electric) mode is a fairly useful 36 miles (58 kilometres).
Regenerative braking is fitted but, realistically, proper recharging is going to involve finding a suitable socket to plug into. Once one has been located, the process takes two hours and fifteen minutes from fully depleted to fully charged.
Efficiency will undoubtedly become a strong selling point. Officially, the Niro PHEV can achieve 217.3 mpg (1.3 l/100km) on the combined cycle while emitting 29 g/km of carbon dioxide.
As this new model shares a specification with the current Niro '3' trim grade, equipment levels are very impressive. The interior features leather upholstery, heating for the front seats and steering wheel, a power-adjustable driver's seat and dual-zone climate control.
There's also a comprehensive infotainment system that's compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It comprises an 8” touchscreen, satellite navigation, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker JBL Premium audio set-up.
Furthermore, the standard kit list includes smart cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, wireless smartphone charging and 16” alloy wheels with aerodynamic plastic covers.
Prices for the Niro PHEV start at £27,995 (after applying the government's Plug-in Car Grant of £2,500). By comparison, a Niro '3' parallel hybrid costs from £25,135.
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