Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Kia Niro review - Interior, design and technology

Conventional crossover styling will be appealing to buyers who don't like the radical Prius

While the boldly styled Toyota Prius wears its eco-friendly credentials on its sleeve, the Kia Niro favours a more low-key approach. With its traditional compact family hatchback proportions, subtly raised ride height and tough-looking black wheelarch surrounds, the Kia follows a template set by fashionable, conventionally powered crossover models. 

It lacks the instant head-turning appeal of a Prius, but this more conventional shape gives the Kia plenty of showroom appeal. Its smattering of off-roader styling cues and less adventurous design approach will be a big draw to buyers who want hybrid efficiency without shouting about it. Better still, the plug-in variant is even more discreet – with the only clues to its 36-mile EV range being an additional filler cap by the nearside front wheel.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Go for the e-Niro, and the big indicator of its purely electric drive is the removal of the hybrid's grille. That leaves a blank piece of bodywork - much like Hyundai has done with its Ioniq and Kona Electrics - and there's a charging socket hidden behind the offset panel in the nose.

The subtle design continues inside, where the Niro feels far more mainstream than a Prius. Yet what it lacks in flair, the interior makes up for with solidity. Everything seems robustly built, while most of the materials have a high-quality look and feel.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

For instance, soft-touch plastic covers the top of the dashboard, and the use of gloss black trim inserts and metal-effect air vent surrounds helps give the cabin an upmarket lift. One eco-minded feature is that you can set the climate controls to focus solely on the driver if you're travelling one-up - this is an eco feature that was first seen on the Kia Soul EV.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The Niro 2 gets a seven-inch touchscreen sat-nav system, while the Niro 3 gets a larger eight-inch nav. Both are pretty easy to get along with, and have clear graphics and straightforward destination input.

The only clue to the Niro’s petrol-electric underpinnings is the unique instrument cluster, which features a full-colour 4.2-inch TFT screen and a power meter in place of the traditional rev counter.

This set-up allows you to monitor the energy flow between the batteries, electric motor, engine and wheels, plus it generates numerous fuel use statistics. And as a bit of fun, there’s a neat graphic that ‘grows’ a tree as you drive more efficiently.

Niro 2 cars get two USB sockets, while the Niro 3 also adds a wireless phone charging pad and eight-speaker JBL sound system with subwoofer in the boot.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

SEAT Leon vs Volkswagen Golf vs Ford Focus
Family hatchbacks

SEAT Leon vs Volkswagen Golf vs Ford Focus

The Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and SEAT Leon are all long established hatchbacks - we find out which is best among the latest crop
11 Jul 2020
New Skoda Octavia vRS 2020 ride review
Skoda Octavia vRS Hatchback

New Skoda Octavia vRS 2020 ride review

We get our first taste of 242bhp Skoda Octavia vRS with Skoda tech development boss Christian Strube in the driver’s seat
10 Jul 2020
Suzuki Jimny axed from Europe over emissions regulations
Suzuki Jimny - off road
Suzuki Jimny

Suzuki Jimny axed from Europe over emissions regulations

Tightening emissions rules mean the Suzuki Jimny will be pulled from the European market in the coming months
8 Jul 2020