Despite healthily undercutting the Toyota Prius on price, the Niro offers plenty of standard equipment. Entry-level 2 trim features dual-zone air conditioning, a front USB port and a sunglasses compartment, as well as safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and automatic emergency braking.
Moving up to mid-level 3 – our recommended trim – adds full leather upholstery plus a heated steering wheel and heated electric seats, as well as the upgraded infotainment discussed earlier. This is the only trim available on the plug-in hybrid Niro, and it’s also worth noting that the PHEV model is priced considerably higher than the standard hybrid.
Top 4 trim gives you rear heated seats, ambient lighting, speed limit notification and blindspot monitoring.
As we mentioned earlier, the hybrid Niro can return official CO2 emissions of just 86g/km. However, that figure increases to 100g/km if you opt for the larger 18in wheels. Although we couldn’t match the Niro’s official 76.3mpg economy, we still saw more than 64mpg on a mixed test route. By comparison, the most frugal petrol Seat Ateca can manage only 42.8mpg, but bear in mind that its starting price is a few thousand pounds less than the Niro’s.
While the hybrid can only drive in electric mode at low speeds and for short distances (in start-stop traffic or when parking, for example), the PHEV Niro can cover up to 30 miles on electric power alone – far enough to suit short commutes to a tee. The battery takes just over two hours to charge from empty to full using a domestic wall box. You’ll need to really make the most of its hybrid capabilities to realise Kia’s official fuel economy figure of 217.3mpg, though.
Kia came sixth out of 31 manufacturers in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, although the Niro itself finished in the bottom half of the hybrid and electric table. Every Niro comes with Kia’s seven-year/100,000-mile warranty.
The Kia Niro was given five stars by Euro NCAP back in 2016, its result helped by a then-optional automatic emergency braking system that has since become standard. Disappointingly, though, the security experts at Thatcham rated the previous-generation Niro just three out of five stars for resistance to being broken into and four out of five for resistance to outright theft.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here