2017 Kia Niro PHEV review – verdict
The Kia Niro PHEV is a plug-in version of the Korean brand's hybrid SUV that promises improved fuel economy, a longer range on electric power and company-car-tax-friendly CO2 emissions...
If you can utilise the Niro PHEV’s electric range and have easy access to chargers, then you’ll enjoy low running costs. However, if you regularly travel farther afield, then the benefits of this model begin to dwindle.
It’s dynamically very similar to the hybrid, but it has a smaller boot and costs more to buy outright. There are plenty of conventional SUVs, including the Seat Ateca and Nissan Qashqai, that offer good fuel economy but are significantly cheaper.
As a company car option, on the other hand, the Niro PHEV's staggeringly low CO2 emissions mean it falls into a very low benefit-in-kind tax bracket, making it a tempting prospect.
Just make sure you also consider the more comfortable Hyundai Ioniq PHEV and the better-handling Mini Countryman PHEV, because these both fall into the same company car tax bracket.
What Car? says...
Rated 3 out of 5
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Kia Niro PHEV
Price £27,995 (after government plug-in grant of £2500)
Engine 4cyl, 1580cc, petrol
Claimed pure electric range 38 miles
Charge time Two hours 15 minutes
Torque 195lb ft
Gearbox 6-spd automatic
Top speed 107mph
Official economy 217.3mpg
CO2, tax band 29g/km, 9%
The top 10 hybrids
Everyone from Toyota to Porsche sells hybrid cars these days, but which models should you consider and which should you avoid? Here we count down the top 10 – and reveal the models that are best to steer clear of.
10. Toyota Yaris Hybrid
No brand is more closely associated with hybrids than Toyota, the company behind that icon of green motoring, the Prius. However, a cheaper option is the Yaris Hybrid, which combines small car nimbleness with hybrid efficiency. Generous standard equipment and a spacious and practical interior add to the Yaris Hybrid’s appeal, while a plasticky dashboard and jittery ride count against it.
Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV has been a staggering success in the UK, selling even better here than in its home market of Japan. Its popularity is partly down to the fact that it’s an SUV – and demand for those is sky-high; partly because it’s a plug-in hybrid, which means it qualifies for the government’s subsidy to buyers of electric cars; and partly because, unlike most hybrids, it’s no more expensive than the diesel alternative.
8. Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 h
Back in 2015, this Mercedes-Benz C-Class hybrid won a What Car? twin test against its closest rival, the Lexus IS300h. Despite Lexus’ huge experience in the world of hybrids, the C-Class’s ultra-low CO2 emissions of 94g/km give it lower running costs than the IS. The Mercedes also feels more agile than the Lexus and is plusher inside. It’s a very smart company car choice.