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Kia’s new Niro has arrived in Australia, with the brand ditching its plug-in hybrid powertrain and instead launching with conventional hybrid and pure EV variants.
The Hybrid will set you back $44,380 (S) or $50,030 (GT-Line) respectively. And yes, you can buy a lot of RAV4 Hybrid ($36,990 — $52,700) for that money, should you be lucky enough to actually get one of those.
Then there’s the Full Electric model. It too is available in S or GT-Line, and it’s priced at $65,300 or $72,100 respectively. For reference, the brand’s flagship electric vehicle, the EV6, can be yours (for now, at least) for $67,990 in Air guise, or $74,990 for the GT-Line in RWD.
If that seems very closely positioned to the brand's dedicated EV flagship, the short answer is that Kia says material costs have soared since the launch of the EV6, so much so that, if that model was launched today, it would be considerably more expensive. That and the fact that Kia Australia can only secure limited examples of the Niro per month, shared between hybrid and EV, means they don’t exactly have bulk-buying negotiating power with HQ.
So what do you get for your investment?
The range starts with the Hybrid S, which gets cloth and artificial seat trim, LED DRL’s and LED rear taillights (but halogen headlights), a 4.2-inch digital driver display and and 8.0-inch central touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a six-speaker stereo. You also get dual-zone climate, 16-inch alloys and electric mirrors and windows.
Stepping up to the Hybrid GT-Line adds a whole bunch of nice stuff, including twin 10.25-inch screens (one for the driver, the other for multimedia), bigger 18-inch alloys, perforated bio-leather seats, LED headlights, a better steering wheel and heated and ventilated front seats.
The Full Electric trim levels largely match the hybrid’s specifications, except both ride on 17-inch alloys, and even the S model gets the twin-screen infotainment set-up, The All Electric GT-Line also gets a better eight-speaker stereo, a sunroof, and what the brand calls a Premium Relaxation Front Passenger Seat — which tilts back so you can get comfy while charging.
The Niro is also predictably wrapped in eco-friendly materials — like recycled bottles in the headliners, and eucalyptus tree fibres in the seats.
The Hybrid models pair a 1.6-litre engine with a 1.32kWh battery and electric motor for a combined output of 104kW and 265Nm. It gets a six-speed DCT auto and front-wheel drive. A sprint to 100km/h is pretty leisurely, taking more than 10 seconds.
The All Electric model gets a big 64.8kWh battery and a front-mounted motor that produces 150kW and 255Nm, the latter of which arrives instantaneously, helping drop the sprint to 100km/h to just 7.8secs - and that’s despite carrying almost half a tonne of battery with you.
Kia reckons the hybrid car will sip 4.0-litres per hundred kilometres on the combined cycle, and – GOOD NEWS – the 42-litre tank will sip cheap 91RON fuel.
The Niro EV will deliver 460kms in driving range when fully charged. And when it does come time to plug in, a 7kW Wall Box at home will take nine hours and 25 minutes to go from empty to full, or a 100kW DC charger, like this one, will take 45 minutes to go from 10 to 80 percent.
“This is an exciting time for the Kia brand and particularly for the team at Kia Australia,” says Kia’s Chief Operating Officer, Damien Meredith.
“We are very pleased with the design, features, technology and eco credentials of the all-New Niro range and it might just take Australian new car buyers by surprise."