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In-depth reviews

Kia Niro review - MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

Good economy and low emissions are a given, but they're not quite on par with a Prius just yet

With prices starting at just under £23,500 and topping out at around £31,000 for the plug-in version, the Kia Niro is priced to compete against the Toyota Prius. However, take the Niro 2 as an example when compared to the Toyota Prius Business Edition. Apart from the inclusion of sat-nav as standard on the Niro 2, the car isn’t nearly as well equipped as the Toyota.

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All models getting cruise and climate control, however, as well as a multifunction steering wheel and electric windows. Entry-spec 2 models add extras such as sat-nav, a leather-trimmed wheel, part-leather seat trim and an auto-dimming rear view mirror. But like the rest of the Kia range, there aren’t many options, so if you want extra kit you’ll have to trade up to the 3 for around £2,000 extra. The PHEV model is based on this 3 trim, although to minimise running costs, it swaps the range-topper's 18-inch wheels for smaller 16-inch versions. Otherwise, the specs are near enough identical.

Look beyond list prices and the Kia doesn’t make as much financial sense as the Toyota, either. For starters, the standard car's CO2 emissions of 88g/km make it a more expensive company car choice. On the plus side, we recorded an excellent 59.6mpg fuel return while testing a Niro, compared to 57.8mpg for a Prius on a similar test route.

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The Kia’s wheel size has an effect on CO2 emissions, however. Go the higher spec 3 and 4, and these get bigger 18-inch alloys, which push the emissions figure up to 101g/km. In comparison, the latest Prius has emissions of 70-76g/km. You can specify the higher spec models with smaller wheels to achieve lower emissions figures, though.

The PHEV is clearly more competitive, emitting just 29g/km of CO2, while managing a 36-mile electric range and a claimed 217.3mpg. You'll need regular access to a plug in order to realise those numbers, but on paper it's very frugal indeed.

Insurance groups

Two out of the four standard Niro models sit in insurance Group 12. The Niro 3 is the exception, as it sits in Group 14. That's because it has more desirable kit than the Niro 2, but it doesn't feature autonomous emergency braking like the Group 12-rated Niro 4. The plug-in Niro slots between these models in Group 13.

Depreciation

Our experts don't predict the Niro will hold on to much of its value after three years or 60,000 miles. In fact, no model is expected to retain more than around 40 per cent of its original price – which isn't very good. The PHEV model won't even manage 30 per cent. Compare that to the Prius’s impressive figure of around 50 per cent and things look worse still.

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