KIA Australia has launched its electric future with a three-pronged strategy featuring Hybrid (HEV), Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) and full-electric (EV) versions of the stylish Niro crossover.
The arrival of the Niro in three variants of advanced electric technology represents the end of a long and determined campaign to bring alternate fuel vehicles to Australia. It also marks the beginning of a comprehensive electric future for Kia.
Each of the three powertrains, Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid and Electric will be available in two trims, S and Sport. The Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid drivetrains both feature the Kappa 1.6 GDI internal combustion engine (77.2kW and 147Nm).
This is coupled to a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor. An additional maximum output of 32kW for the Hybrid and 44.5kW for the PHEV with torque of 170Nm in both cases, delivers combined outputs for both Hybrid and PHEV of 104kW and 265Nm.
Energy storage in the Hybrid model is managed by a 240-volt Lithium-Ion polymer battery under the rear seat. The battery has a capacity of 6.5Ah and 1.56kWh and weighs 38.5kg.
For the Plug-In Hybrid, energy is stored in a pair of Lithium-Ion polymer batteries with 360-volts combined, one under the rear seat and an additional battery under the boot panel. They have a combined capacity of 24.7Ah and 8.9kWh with a weight of 117kg.
Both models deliver power to the front wheels through a 6-speed DCT gearbox with the engine/motor workload share determined by driving conditions and the drive mode selections by the driver.
The HEV will return fuel efficiency of 3.8-litres/100km in normal operations while the PHEV (with wider call on the electric motor) returns a combined efficiency of 1.3-litres/100km.
In normal operating conditions the Hybrid system will use pure electric drive from launch and during gentle acceleration, such as in stop-start city traffic. While under full acceleration the engine works with the electric motor to provide optimum drive.
At constant cruising speeds the default is power assist mode, with the petrol engine providing the main drive. Excess torque created in these circumstances can be stored by the battery.
During deceleration the regenerative braking system harvests energy and stores it in the battery. For PHEV models, the driver can select one of three operating modes. Automatic will select either pure electric or hybrid as the most appropriate.
Selecting full EV mode will see full application of the battery power, but with the ability of the petrol motor to kick in and assist when additional power is required such as when overtaking. The PHEV has a pure electric range of 58km.
The dedicated fully electric Niro runs a similar but more powerful permanent magnetic electric motor sporting 150kW and 395Nm and is powered by a larger capacity 356-volt Lithium-Ion battery.
You will find this battery stored under the vehicle floor to give optimum centre of gravity and balance, with the 457kg battery pack capable of a range of 455km (WLTP) with capacity of 180Ah and 64kWh.
The EV Niro can be driven in four selectable drive modes, each of which changes certain characteristics including air-conditioning function and the electric motor torque profile. The driver can choose default settings for climate control and energy recuperation.
As with all Kia models, the Niro family will come highly-specced across all three drivetrains in both S and Sport models. Standard features include an electronic parking brake with auto hold function and regenerative braking.
There are 16-inch aerodynamic alloy wheels for Hybrid and PHEV, roof rails, halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights as well, on a long list of inclusions. An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system supports wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Standard Bluetooth multi-connection functionality, an AM/FM tuner with digital radio and six-speaker sound system, a 4.2-inch supervision driver’s instrument cluster and drive mode select for Eco/Sport is also present.
Comfort and convenience features are abundant, with partial cloth and leather seats (eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and six-way passenger seat adjustment including height), keyless entry, and powered folding mirrors.
Rear parking sensors, a rear view camera with dynamic guidelines, tilt and telescopic adjustable steering, auto temperature control and a leather steering wheel are also included.
Specific to the EV S model are 17-inch aerodynamic alloy wheels, a dial type shifter, 7-inch supervision driver’s instrument cluster, expanded drive mode select with Eco/Eco+/Normal/Sport and steering wheel paddle shifters.
It also scores electro chromatic rear-view mirror and single zone air conditioning. Across the range there are seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep and lane follow assist, smart cruise control and driver attention alert.
Stepping up to the Sport will add LED headlights, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with inbuilt navigation, paddle shifters, premium seats, alloy sports pedals, auto front windows, electro chromatic rear-view mirror, blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.
The EV gains an 8-speaker JBL premium sound system. The Hybrid model will be available in eight colours, with three being exclusive to HEV and PHEV variants. EV owners can elect to have their vehicle in the exclusive Yacht Blue.
Pricing for the Hybrid starts at $39,990 for the S with Sport at $43,890. The PHEV is priced from $46,590 for the S and $50,490 for Sport while the range-topping Electric model starts at $62,590 for the S and $65,990 for Sport.
Kia’s 7-Year unlimited kilometre warranty, 7-Year capped price servicing and 7-Year roadside assist will apply across the Niro range, with the exception of the high voltage battery and electric motor which are covered by a 7-Year 150,000km warranty.