2021 Kia Niro here this year with hybrid, plug-in, electric power

After numerous setbacks, Kia Australia will finally introduce its first electric car this year, the Niro, which will also come in hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.

3 months ago
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William Stopford
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The Kia Niro is finally making its way to Australia.

The small crossover will be available to order from the second quarter of this year, with Kia Australia introducing it in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure-electric variants.

We’re getting the current generation of Niro, treated to a mid-cycle update, instead of holding out for the next-generation SG2 model that’s been spied testing.

The Niro will give Kia a rival to the similarly three-pronged Hyundai Ioniq range, plus the Hyundai Kona Electric and the recently introduced MG ZS EV.

The e-Niro – not to be confused with a famous Robert – uses the same electric powertrain as the Kona Electric, with a 64kWh battery pack and a front-mounted electric motor with 150kW of power and 395Nm of torque.

The DE-series Niro (yes, that’s its internal code) was introduced in 2017 as a hybrid, with a plug-in hybrid following in 2018 and the e-Niro following thereafter.

The hybrid models are powered by a naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine producing 103kW of power and 265Nm of torque, mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The regular hybrid uses a 1.56kWh lithium-ion battery while the plug-in has a larger, heavier 8.9kWh battery which affords it a claimed electric-only range of 48km.

Despite the SUV styling, the Niro crossover is front-wheel drive-only.

The hybrids were given a facelift for model year 2020, with tweaked front-end styling and some changes to the interior that included the option of a larger, 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Yet to be confirmed for Australia is the quirky e-Soul.

“We’d like to get as many EVs into the country as possible but until there’s a defined plan from the Australian Government, KMC will supply markets that have a strategy in place, whether that’s a CO2 strategy or an EV strategy,” said Kia Australia chief operating officer Damien Meredith.

“Until that’s fixed in Australia, our supplies are going to be quite limited.”

Kia will also soon roll out its first model on the Hyundai Motor Group’s new e-GMP architecture, designed specifically for electric vehicles.

Dubbed the CV, it’s on Kia Australia’s wish list but not yet locked in.

“We haven’t got a precise green light on but it’s looking positive. Europe and North America will be the first global regions to receive this product,” said Kia Australia product planning head Roland Rivero.

“We are working with KMC [Kia Motors Corporation] to get CV to Australia but at the moment that’s not confirmed.”

What definitely won’t be coming here are any of the mild-hybrid variants offered in Europe, including the Rio and Sportage, with Kia Australia categorically ruling them out.

These models are needed in Europe to help meet much tougher emissions standards there.

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