Toyota, the king of the hybrid, is no longer alone. The Korean Hyundai-Kia arrives, ready to dispute its primacy. With serious assets. The mechanics is indeed remarkably arranged. No jerks, nothing. All just a few vibrations if one abruptly. The car starts electrically in a gentle manner and the engine is switched on smoothly. Nothing to do with the horrible “stop and start” whose brutal jerk exasperates with each restart. Everything here is felted. Very nice.
The car is naturally not very dynamic. Performance is not a priority. But, the secret boot of this Niro, it is a formidable box with double clutch. So, on road and highway, the operation is pleasant. A damn contrast to the annoyance of a Toyota Prius or the recent C-HR, the engine of which is racing, echoed at every go-around.
Consumption close to a diesel
The Kia behaved like any other car. In Sport mode, the car follows the rhythm of traffic without problems. And the box retrograde efficiently on winding path. In short, road and motorway driving is by no means a punishment. Despite a vivacity that remains very average.
And consumption? As always with hybrids, the driving is double-sided. If one rolls slowly without ever really accelerating, the result is interesting. But this is true for any car. On the other hand, as soon as one drives normally, to get into the traffic without being honked by the big Scania behind, it climbs. And the mechanic is whipped all the more because it is naturally lymphatic.
We consumed just under 7 liters per cent. This is very good for a gasoline-powered vehicle … and equivalent to a good diesel of the same category. However, we drive with lead free, more expensive at the pump than diesel! But, in return, in the city, one pollutes all the same less.
An excellent chassis but a fuzzy direction
The chassis is excellent. Security is assured. The car is quite agile and very efficient. The behavior is even almost too good compared to the modest performance of the car. And if Audi or Mercedes dare to mount mediocre Korean Hankook tires on their luxury cars, the Niro of our test had enormous envelopes … Michelin. Despite the large 18-inch wheels of our Premium Peak version, the suspensions preserve the vertebrae.
Handling is only praiseworthy. Too bad the direction, a little light and inconsistent, strikes the accuracy. On highway in high wind, the feeling of floating is thus unpleasant. On the other hand, this gentle direction turns without complaint. The maneuvers in the car parks are facilitated by that.
Discretion first and foremost, no shock
For its Niro, Kia chose a body of “SUV” discreet, balanced proportions. We prefer this classic classic to the noisy forms of a Toyota Prius or, worse, an arch-aggressive C-HR! Even sobriety inside. It is clear, rational, without spooks. A little to the Volkswagen. Plastics are not refined.
But, as on Japanese cars, they are sturdy and well assembled. We prefer the qualitative homogeneity of this set to the contrast, which the French are fond of, between beautiful materials in the most visible parts and light plastics elsewhere. Too bad, the atmosphere is black, rather sad.
The ergonomics are good, everything is at hand. We just deplore a few badly thought out details, such as the windscreen wiper marketing indicator, which replaces a few seconds to display the speed at which you drive. At the beginning of a radar, take care not to handle the windscreen wipers! On the other hand, if the rear-view mirrors fold back into the parking area, they unfold as soon as they approach the car, preventing them from slipping in to access the car in an underground car park where the space is counted. Not smart. But, apart from these missteps, no unpleasant surprises.
A very, very provided equipment
The Kia Niro is made for those who want to ride more “green” but without noise. In fact, only those who know the vehicle will know. Because the words “hybrid” are not very visible on the bodywork. This is a wise, well thought-out car, constructed with seriousness. At 26,990 euros, this vehicle is not expensive and yet is well equipped.
The Active at 28,990 euros offers in addition the leather upholstery, the central armrest, the back-up camera, the GPS. What more? Finally, at 32,990 “our” Premium model mainly offers leather upholstery and other trinkets. Active is enough. With the added bonus of a more suave tire than the sporty Premium. A Kia is also guaranteed seven years or 150,000 kilometers. Good to take.
Test Model price : Kia Niro Premium: 32,990 EUR
Engine power : 141 hp (gasoline-electric)
Dimensions : 4.35 meters (length) x 1.80 (width) x 1.54 (above)
Qualities : pleasant dual-clutch gearbox, mechanical hushed, handling quality, vehicle wise and well thought out, bloated equipment
Defects : blurred direction sad inside, not so low consumption
Competitors : Toyota C-HR Hybrid Distinctive: 31,500 euros; Seat Ateca TSi DSG Xcellence: 31,485 euros; Nissan Qashqai dCi 130 X-Tronic Tekna: 35.150 euros