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Kia turns Niro into a PHEV. Image by Kia.

Kia turns Niro into a PHEV
Plug-in hybrid Kia Niro can do 34 miles in EV mode.
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What's all this about?

Kia has added a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) version of its Niro crossover to the range.

Hold on, I thought the Niro was a hybrid anyway.

It is, a mild parallel hybrid with a 1.6-litre GDI petrol engine (105hp/147Nm) mated to a six-speed DCT gearbox, a 32kW (44hp) electric motor and a lithium-ion battery under the rear seats with a 1.56kWh capacity. All of that leads to a car that can do 101mph flat out, takes 11.5 seconds to achieve 0-62mph, and which has eco-stats of 74.3mpg and 88g/km of CO2 emissions. But this Niro is a PHEV.

So what are the differences?

The battery is bigger, at 8.9kWh, and the electric motor is uprated to 44.5kW (60hp) as well. Peak system outputs remain the same as the Niro Hybrid, stated to be 141hp and 265Nm, but the 0-62mph time has tumbled seven-tenths to 10.8 seconds - and, more importantly, the green numbers have seen a big improvement too. Kia is targeting less than 30g/km for CO2 emissions, which should mean anything in the 150mpg ballpark and above is on the cards. It can also do more than 34 miles on electric power alone, whereas the Hybrid can only really coast in zero-emissions mode.

How else is the Niro PHEV different to the Niro Hybrid?

Outside, a satin chrome grille surround, chrome brightwork with a metallic-blue finish on thin blades in the front and rear bumpers, full LED headlamps, 16-inch aerodynamically optimised alloy wheels and discreet 'Eco Plug-in' badging are the main changes, as well as the plug-in charging point on the nearside front wing. Inside, leather upholstery with blue stitching, blue surrounds for the dashboard air vents and a seven-inch TFT instrument cluster with extra PHEV display screens are the differences, although the boot space has reduced from 427- to 324 litres as a result of the bigger battery.

It sounds promising. When does it go on sale?

Following its debut at the Geneva Motor Show alongside the Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid, the Niro PHEV is expected to go on sale during the third quarter of 2017.

Matt Robinson - 7 Mar 2017

2017 Kia Niro PHEV. Image by Kia.2017 Kia Niro PHEV. Image by Kia.2017 Kia Niro PHEV. Image by Kia.2017 Kia Niro PHEV. Image by Kia.2017 Kia Niro PHEV. Image by Kia.

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