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Kia unwraps second-gen Niro

Electric, hybrid & PHEV options expected when new Niro lands mid-2022

25 Nov 2021

THE Kia Niro has been on sale in Australia for less than 12 months, but the Korean brand has pulled the covers off an all-new model at the Seoul Mobility Show.  


Due in Australia in mid-2022, the small SUV is endowed with striking looks that reference the quirky HabaNiro concept from 2019 and it will again be offered in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric configurations. 


Although pricing and specifications for Down Under have yet to be revealed, the Niro is expected to rival the upcoming Haval Jolion Hybrid, Hyundai Kona Electric (which shares its powertrain with the Niro), as well as the forthcoming Skoda Enyaq iV. 


The current Kia Niro is priced from $39,990 to $70,990 (excluding on-road costs).


Kia says the second-gen Niro is “completely new”, but, surprisingly, it’s not based on the brand’s E-GMP platform. Instead, the model utilises an evolution of the current Niro’s architecture, with electric models powered by a single 150kW/395Nm electric motor (mated with a 64-kWh lithium-ion battery) that drives the front wheels.

The current all-electric Niro offers an optimal driving range of 455km (WLTP), which is 29km fewer than the claim for the Kona EV. The petrol-electric hybrid features a 1.56kWh lithium-ion battery, a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (77kW/147Nm) and a single electric motor (32kW/170Nm) mated with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Niro hybrid is claimed to consume 3.8L/100km.


The plug-in hybrid Niro variant, meanwhile, utilises a larger 8.9-kWh battery pack and 45kW/170Nm single electric motor to offer a combined system output figure of 104kW/265Nm. The Niro PHEV is claimed to consume as little as 1.3L/100km of petrol in combined running and can travel up to 58km on electric power alone.


The revised hybrid and PHEV powertrains will scour data from the on-board sat nav system to switch between petrol and electric power where appropriate, Kia says, the system referred to as Greenzone Drive Mode.


Stylistically, the more aerodynamic next-gen Niro incorporates the Tiger Face frontal design and two-tone C-pillars of the HabaNiro concept to great effect. The C-pillars also house vertically stacked tail-lights in a Boomerang shape (similar to the front DRLs of the all-new Sportage). Up front, the LED headlights and DRLs (the latter are said to mimic a human heartbeat when in operation) are housed in separate pods. 


Electric versions are further differentiated by a small central door in the front bumper, which houses the charging socket.


Inside, the new Niro features opposing horizontal and diagonal design motifs that Kia says “create a calming yet irregular aesthetic”. The dashboard is dominated by a widescreen instrument panel and infotainment array, while a smaller touchscreen provides access to the climate control and HVAC functions. Physical buttons and a rotary-style drive selector are relegated to the asymmetric centre console.


In keeping with its eco-savvy image, Kia has utilised a number of recycled and environmentally friendly materials in the new Niro’s cabin. The headlining is made “from old wallpaper”, the lightweight seats incorporate fibres from eucalyptus leaves and the paint on the door cards is reportedly entirely free of petrochemicals.


Kia Australia will outline specification and pricing details of the new Niro closer to the model’s local launch.

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