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Small SUV of the Year 2022: Kia Niro

The Kia Niro is the 2022 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the Renault Captur and Toyota Yaris Cross commended

When it comes to electrification in the small SUV sector, Kia is the king of the class. The Korean brand has consolidated what it learnt with the first-generation Niro SUV and has developed the recipe even further with this new model.

A fresh platform means there’s more space inside than ever, making the Niro a practical machine no matter which powertrain you opt for; there’s little in the way of compromise, given that the three powertrain options all have to package a battery.

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The new chassis underneath delivers impressive comfort and a supple ride, equipping the new Niro with all the qualities a small SUV needs in 2022 – and it’s wrapped in a much smarter-looking body than before, sporting Kia’s latest design language and a bold side blade that’s customisable on the pure-electric version.

The most affordable model is the self-charging hybrid, which packs a 1.32kWh battery and an electric motor that work in conjunction with a 1.6-litre petrol engine to deliver impressive efficiency. The plug-in hybrid has an 11.1kWh battery for an electric-only range of up to 40 miles, while the electric Niro EV packs a 64kWh unit for a claimed range of up to 286 miles.

In-car tech is shared with the brand’s Sportage SUV, so it comes packed with features. Connectivity is brilliant, while the pair of screens boast sharp graphics and fast responses.

Our choice

Kia Niro EV 3 (£38,495)

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Electric is the way to go in the Niro range – it’s the smoothest and quietest powertrain, and it’s a bargain for company car users, too. We’d go for the 3 trim thanks to its large 10.25-inch touchscreen and all-round parking sensors. With a £4,000 deposit on a three-year PCP, it costs £483 a month.

Commended

Renault Captur

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Last year’s winner takes a deserved commendation this year. The Captur is available as a full hybrid and plug-in, so there’s plenty of efficiency potential, while smart looks, a flexible cabin and a fine balance between comfort and handling mean it’s still one of the best small SUVs on the market.

Toyota Yaris Cross

Toyota is on a roll with its small cars. The Yaris Cross shares its platform and hybrid tech with the Yaris supermini, but it’s wrapped up in a smart SUV package that adds a little more practicality, but not too much to the price. This compact urban SUV is the right vehicle at the right time for the Japanese brand.

The 2022 New Car Awards are brought to you in association with Hankook tyres

New Car Awards 2022: the winners

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