First Drive

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

Words ByDoug Revolta

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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.

Read our full Kia Niro review >

The best and worst hybrid cars >


What Car? says...

Rated 3 out of 5


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Kia Niro PHEV

Price Β£27,995 (after government plug-in grant of Β£2500)

Engine 4cyl, 1580cc, petrol

Battery 8.9kWh

Claimed pure electric range 38 miles

Charge time Two hours 15 minutes

Power 139bhp

Torque 195lb ft

Gearbox 6-spd automatic

0-60mph 10.4sec

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.

Read our full Toyota Yaris review

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9. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

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.

Read our full Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV review

Find a great Mitsubishi Outlander deal


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.

Read our full Mercedes C-Class review

Find a great Mercedes C-Class deal

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