After revealing the bolder exterior of the redesigned Kia Niro, the Korean brand has detailed the hybrid version.

    It goes on sale in Korea this month, with the new Niro range set for a local launch in the third quarter of 2022.

    Kia is releasing information on the redesigned plug-in hybrid and electric versions at a later date.

    Under the bonnet is the ‘Smartstream’ 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, which Kia says boasts improved cooling, friction and combustion technologies.

    The engine produces 77kW of power and 144Nm of torque and is mated with a 32kW electric motor, for a total system output of 104kW – the same as in the outgoing car.

    The transmission is a second-generation six-speed dual-clutch automatic.

    The Niro features a Green Zone Drive Mode, which automatically activates the electric-only drive operation when in residential areas or near schools. This feature relies on both navigation and driving history data.

    The driver can also set ‘green zones’ in the navigation system.

    The regenerative braking system can also use radar and road gradient information to calculate the amount of regeneration required, while the driver can choose from a series of regeneration levels.

    Kia says the Niro is all-new and is based on a “third-generation” platform. Suspension is MacPherson strut up front and four-link at the rear.

    Kia says the new suspension gives the new car improved responsiveness, stability and ride comfort, while a new steering system helps improve steering feel.

    There’s also more insulation in the vehicle’s structure to lower noise levels.

    The Niro has grown, and now measures 4420mm long, 1825mm wide and 1545mm tall on a 2720mm wheelbase.

    That makes it 65mm longer, 20mm wider, 10mm taller and on a 20mm longer wheelbase than the outgoing model.

    Boot space is up 15L to 451L (VDA), thanks largely to the repositioning of the 12V battery alongside the high-voltage battery under the rear seats.

    The Niro packs the latest of Kia’s active safety and driver assist features. This includes lane-keep assist and Lane Following Assist, automatic high-beam, active blind-spot and rear cross-traffic assist and Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist.

    Highway driving has been made easier with a Highway Driving Assist feature plus navigation-based adaptive cruise control, while the autonomous emergency braking includes junction turning and junction crossing functions.

    Remote Smart Parking Assist allows you to move the car forward and back using the key fob, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist adjusts the speed if you’re exceeding the speed limit, and Safe Exit Assist will activate the rear door child locks if it detects occupants are about to step into the path of a vehicle.

    Exterior styling is crisper than before and inspired by the 2019 HabaNiro concept, with distinctive design elements like colour-contrast C-pillars, boomerang tail lights and ‘heartbeat’ daytime running lights.

    Its drag coefficient is 0.29.

    It’ll be offered with a choice of nine exterior colours: Cityscape Green, Snow White Pearl, Aurora Black Pearl, Mineral Blue, Interstellar Grey, Orange Delight, Runway Red, and Steel Grey.

    There’s also a choice of six contrasting colours for the c-pillars, plus up to three different finishes for the cladding.

    Three different interior colours will be offered, at least in the home market: Charcoal, Medium Grey, and Petrol and Light Warm Grey. The available ambient lighting offers 74 colour combinations.

    There’s a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, below which sit touch-capacitive switches for the climate control. A rotary dial shifter sits on the centre console.

    Also present are a digital instrument cluster and a 10-inch head-up display.

    Voice prompts can be used to change temperature and audio settings, and multiple functions can be adjusted with one command.

    A power tailgate is available, while Kia Connect app connectivity allows you to unlock and start your vehicle using your smartphone.

    Kia also says built-in front and rear cameras inside the Niro allow you to record videos, which can be saved and viewed via either the infotainment screen or your smartphone.

    There’s been a focus on sustainability inside the Niro, with a headliner made from recycled wallpaper, seats made from Bio PU with Tencel from eucalyptus leaves, and water-based paint used on the door panels that’s free of benzene, toluene, and xylene isomers.

    The new model replaces a model that was first introduced in 2016 but only made its way to Australia in 2021.

    Despite launching mid-year, the Niro outsold its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Ioniq hatchback, which also offers a choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains.

    Kia sold 742 Niros against 484 Ioniqs.

    MORE: Everything Kia Niro

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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