2021 Kia Niro hybrid review: Fuel sipper has a lot going for it – World News

2021 Kia Niro hybrid review: Fuel sipper has a lot going for it

Electric cars are expensive, but if you want to reduce your dependence on petrol, there are other options that are more economical.

If you want to do something for the environment but can’t afford an electric car, then Kia’s Niro Hybrid could be the vehicle for you.

Here are five things you need to know about the Kia Niro Hybrid.

It does what it says on the label

The Niro Hybrid is Kia’s first foray into hybrid vehicles and it does not disappoint from the fuel consumption point of view. The official label says it will only sip 3.8 liters of fuel every 100 kms and we saw less than that during a mix of freeway and city driving. It has a 45-litre fuel tank, which gives it a theoretical range of over 1110km. We don’t doubt you can do that if you light the throttle. Fuel consumption stacks up nicely against Toyota’s popular RAV4 hybrid, which uses 4.7L/100km. However, the RAV4 is a huge vehicle. If you want to be even more skittish you can be drawn to the plug-in hybrid version, which uses only 1.3L/100km on the official cycle, thanks to its ability to run up to 58km on power alone.

The price equation doesn’t add up enough

It can be spectacularly efficient but the Niro Hybrid is also very expensive when compared to a conventional petrol SUV of the same size. The more stylish and modern-looking Kia Seltos is cheaper and better equipped, while you can get the bigger, more powerful Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for even less money. Prices start at $41,990 drive-away for the S model, rising to $45,990 for the Sport model. That’s a lot of dough for an SUV that’s based on the same premise as the Seltos. For context, the similarly equipped Seltos Sport with Safety Pack costs $32,790 and the better equipped Seltos Sport Plus costs just $35,290. Again, it’s cheaper than the Nero plug-in hybrid, which starts at $49,990 drive-away.

The list of features is not very long

The Nero Wireless caters to younger buyers with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while rear seat passengers are treated to their own airconditioning vents, which are rare on a car of this size. But the front parking sensors and built-in satellite navigation are missing. It doesn’t have some of the active safety gear, including blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert, that are standard on much cheaper cars.

A new model is on the horizon

Nero arrived in Australia late in its product cycle. A new model arrives in the middle of next year, so you’re effectively buying a run-out model. This means there could be some deals in the new year if you are able to wait. Nero is starting to show its age in some areas. The cabin is quite pleasant but the center screen is smaller than the Seltos and lacks the digital driver readout that the Sportage recently introduced. The exterior styling also looks a bit plain. The cabin has nice room with attractive fabric and imitation leather trim that should wear well.

This fuel is for the misers, not for rewards

The Niro is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine that is complemented by a small electric motor. The power output of the petrol engine is modest (77kW and 147Nm) and you need to push it hard to reach those numbers. A 44.5kW electric motor helps the Nero out of line quite cleverly, boosting the combined power to a more respectable 104kW. Steering and cornering are quite sharp for a City SUV and the suspension does a fair job of shielding passengers from road imperfections, though it can be a bit noisy on rough road surfaces.

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