The next-generation Kia Niro is just months away from an Australian launch, but it looks like the family could be missing a member.
According to Kia Australia’s local preview page for the all-new Niro, the company says the new-generation crossover will be “available in two, distinct identities – a hybrid and a fully electric”. Notably, the PHEV is left out in this description.
CarExpert reached out to Kia’s local division, but the company declined to comment further. Presumably, we’ll find out the full details at the Niro’s Australian media launch in due course.
It’s possible that Kia is choosing to focus on the Niro Hybrid (HEV) and Niro EV in order to better cater to Australian tastes. For reference, the Niro’s 2021 yearly sales figure of 742 units was made up of 465 Niro Hybrids, 217 Niro EVs, and just 60 Niro Plug-in Hybrids.
Further, PHEV sales in general continue to flounder here partly due to the lack of European-style incentives and CO2 targets. To the end of April, Australian sales of EVs sit at 7618 cars, hybrid sales are 26,982, while PHEVs tally just 1675 units.
Power in the new Niro Plug-in Hybrid comes from a 1.6-litre petrol engine teamed with an electric motor and 11.1kWh lithium-ion battery, quoting system outputs of 134kW/265Nm.
By comparison, the Niro Hybrid features the same 1.6-litre petrol engine but with a less powerful electric motor and smaller 1.32kWh battery pack, making for combined outputs of 103kW/265Nm.
The Niro Hybrid and Niro Plug-in Hybrid both drive the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Fuel consumption figures for both models are still to be confirmed, though Kia will no doubt want to better the outgoing generation’s 58km (NEDC) EV range claim for the PHEV.
Other than the overhauled design inside and out, the new Niro will bring more technology and more eco-friendly materials compared to its predecessor, with an available dual 10.25-inch instrument and infotainment display unit expected as well as Kia’s latest and greatest assistance suite. Read more here.
The new Niro is also expected to introduce Kia Connected services to the Australian market, which includes an array of net-based remote services and functions accessible via a smartphone app. Read more on that here.
With the PHEV all but confirmed to be axed in Australia, the new Niro range will be more spaced out than the current line-up.
If the previous-generation range is anything to go by, the new Niro Hybrid will play in the $40,000-$45,000 bracket while the Niro EV could be anywhere between $55,000 and $65,000 depending on which variants are brought in. Remember, Kia didn’t bring the 39.2kWh short range Niro EV like Hyundai did for the Kona Electric.
The Niro PHEV would have plugged that gap, but high-grade versions of the Niro Hybrid could fill the void left behind if Kia tries to expand its offering to better compete with the Toyota C-HR Hybrid and RAV4 Hybrid.
More details will come in the lead-up to the new Niro’s launch later this year, currently due in the third quarter of 2022. Stay tuned to CarExpert for all the latest.
MORE: Everything Kia Niro