The second generation of the Kia Niro was presented as a compact SUV last year. With a total of three engine types, customers can choose between full hybrids, plug-in hybrids and purely electric cars. After the extensive European test in 2022, we have now taken a close look at the electric version. The new generation is based on the current K platform, which means that the vehicle has grown by 6 cm in length and 2 cm in wheelbase. There are also some innovations in the area of assistance systems.
The new generation
The second generation sets new accents in the design of the radiator grille, the hood and the revision of the headlights and taillights. The more distinctive and lower-seated headlights provide very good illumination of the road. In the side view, there is a color accentuation of the C-pillar and the rear lights, which are now mounted vertically and mounted at the top, make the stainless steel appear even higher.
In the interior, the division into the instrument section behind the steering wheel and the integrated information display is even tidier than in the previous model. The front seats offer good lateral support and can be quickly adjusted electrically to suit your needs. The adjustable lumbar support can be fixed to your own needs. Instead of a selector lever, Kia relies on the rotary control for automatic selection with visual feedback. In addition to the set maximum speed from the adaptive control, the head-up display includes the current speed and the permissible maximum speed. A pleasant treat on long journeys is the navigation-based cruise control system with stop-and-go function. In addition, blind spots are continuously monitored and vehicles in them are clearly signalled.
We already carried out the long-distance test in the direction of Italy in the EV predecessor model in the summer. These qualities are also implemented in the current model. At 475 liters, the trunk is significantly more spacious than in the plug-in hybrid. This means that there is enough space for standard suitcases for air travel in hand luggage, and up to 4 compact suitcases can be stowed away easily. Underneath there is an intermediate floor in which the charging cable can be stowed away.
We have already been able to achieve a high degree of efficiency in terms of consumption values. In summer, a good 300 kilometers can be covered at recommended motorway speeds, with consumption leveling off at 19 to 22 kWh per 100 km. In the city area, the values in summer are significantly lower, here 14 to 16 kWh are usual. The very good drag coefficient of 0,29 reflects the good aerodynamics.
Fine adjustments with memory functions
If you are going on a trip and know your driving preferences, you can familiarize yourself with all the detailed settings for your own driving feeling before setting off. In the high-contrast central information display, all relevant driving functions can be fine-tuned via the Vehicle settings menu item. Starting from the power saving settings through the Head-Up Display to the usable driver assistance systems, you can create your own individual configuration. All selected settings are saved permanently and are therefore always available even after the vehicle has been restarted. This is exemplary and reduces the adjustments to changed sections of the route.
When it comes to infotainment Kia on the high-resolution touch display and expands the classic displays with driving and permissible maximum speeds in the head-up display with navigation information. This means that the correct exits are clearly marked. This works much better than with the voice output of the navigation, which it is better to switch off.
With a tap of your finger, the nearest charging stations can be displayed directly from the navigation menu, filtered according to specific criteria. The charging connection on the front of the vehicle simplifies the journey to the charging stations and the connection of the charging plug. Unfortunately, the Kia Niro only takes a middle place when it comes to superchargers compared to the competition. You need a good hour on the Supercharger to charge the battery from under 20 to 80 percent. In our tests, the maximum charging power was between 65 and 75 kW. On the long-distance one has to rely on longer stops. We have already achieved double the charging capacity with competitor models based on the 400-volt architecture.
Kia Niro sales figures in Europe (all variants)
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After the long-distance test of the new model, noticeable improvements in the assistance systems and in the technical equipment are noticeable. In terms of value for money, you get a technically mature Kia Niro that conveys a relaxed driving experience on long journeys. In the long term, the level of charging management should be significantly increased in order to significantly reduce the charging times on the superchargers.
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