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In-depth reviews

Kia Niro review - Interior, design and technology

While on-board technology has improved, the Niro's cabin quality isn't class leading

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£29,560 to £42,325
  • Practicality
  • Efficient powertrains
  • Improved infotainment
  • Not fun to drive
  • Interior quality
  • Small boot in plug-in hybrid model
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Kia’s bold new design language has transformed the Niro from a rather bland, unobstructive SUV into one of the best looking family cars you can buy right now. 

The second-generation Niro has a cleaner look to the front end with a set of distinctive angular LED daytime running lights paired with a thin chrome strip above the slim grille. Meanwhile, the Niro’s rear end is more squared-off and features boomerang-style vertical headlights. 

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The C-pillars actually sit away from the bodywork, funnelling air along the side to improve aerodynamic efficiency, according to Kia. Contrasting C-pillars are available on certain models, too, along with more vibrant paint colours, should you wish to make your Niro stand out a bit more.

Inside, we see a step up from the old model in terms of design and technology, but not so much in terms of build quality. The overall layout gives the cabin a bright and airy feel though it’s not quite as stunning as the cabin of the Mazda CX-30. The Niro’s materials and buttons do feel robust on the whole, if not premium to the touch. The centre console is finished in piano black which is just waiting to be scratched, we fear.

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Upgrade to the top-spec 4 models and some of the interior surfaces become a little softer and generally look more expensive, but we still wouldn’t call the cabin’s quality segment-leading. Top-of-the-range cars also come with an openable sunroof.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The entry-level ‘2’ in hybrid or plug-in hybrid guise comes with an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Just like the old Niro, this grows to a 10.25-inch screen in the ‘3’ and ‘4’ with built-in sat-nav. The top spec ‘4’ models also get a head-up display and a 10.25-inch digital dash. 

The digital dash itself is clear and easy to read, but instead of using a dial format for the rev counter or speedo it only offers a numbered readout. The 10.25-inch central screen is also crisp in its resolution and the infotainment system is a doddle to navigate. Only when you quickly jump between menus can it start to lag slightly. 

Beneath the screen, you’ll find a band of touchscreen buttons which can either control the cabin’s climate or at the flick of a button can provide a shortcut menu to the infotainment screen. While we’d prefer physical knobs on the move, the touchpads are responsive and large enough to easily use while driving. 

As standard on the Niro, you’ll find two front USB charge ports (one Type-A, one Type-C) and two Type-C charging ports on the side of the front seats. Top-spec 4 trim adds a sunroof and powered memory seats as standard, too.

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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