Kia this week revealed the new Niro, a next-generation model designed for sustainability-conscious consumers.
Based on the third-generation platform, the new Niro benefits from a larger body that implements class-leading interior space and storage capacity. Premium and eco-friendly materials combine to create a minimalist avant-garde feel. Modern digital displays and interior controls have been optimally placed to further enhance the user-friendly operating experience.
At the heart of the car’s eco-friendly credentials are a trio of state-of-the-art electrified powertrains, comprising hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric (BEV) options. PHEV and BEV models will be revealed at a later date.
The HEV features Kia’s highly-efficient Smartstream 1.6-litre GDI petrol engine. The four-cylinder unit produces a maximum output of 77kW along with 144Nm of torque, while improved cooling, friction and combustion technologies ensure maximum fuel efficiency. When combined with the 32kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor, the HEV model produces a combined maximum power output of 104kW. The engine features improved cooling, friction, and combustion technologies, which helps power the HEV model. The powerplant ensures highly competitive fuel efficiency, with the all-new Niro HEV capable of achieving 4.8L/100km.
The 1.6-litre GDI engine is mated to the second-generation 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (6DCT) that has been carefully engineered and optimised to increase efficiency and reduce weight.
The Niro comes equipped with Kia’s Green Zone Drive Mode that automatically activates the electric-only drive operation of the car to ensure zero-emissions mobility in certain environments and situations. For example, when driving in green zones such as residential areas, or nearby schools and hospitals, the Niro HEV model automatically uses electric power based on navigation and driving history data. The driver can also set dedicated green zones into the navigation system to reduce pollution in areas such as near their home or place of work.
Kia’s smart regenerative-braking system enables drivers to choose from a series of regeneration levels to easily slow the car and recuperate kinetic energy to maximise driving range. The system can calculate the amount of regeneration required using radar and road gradient information. The system allows the car to harvest the maximum amount of energy from its brakes while bringing the vehicle to a gentle halt.
The second-generation Niro includes a full complement of Kia’s DriveWise intelligent Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that are designed to avoid potential hazards and improve confidence and convenience behind the wheel.
Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) warns the driver if the risk of a collision is detected with other vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists. The system’s Junction Turning and Junction Crossing functions provide maximum preventative safety when navigating junctions. If the Niro’s turn signal is activated, the system will warn the driver if there is a collision risk with an oncoming vehicle. Similarly, a warning is provided if there is a risk from vehicles approaching from the left or right when the driver is travelling straight across a junction. If either risk increases, the system will warn the driver before automatically applying the brakes to avoid a collision.
Using information from the new Niro’s front view camera and navigation system, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA) delivers a warning and adjusts the speed if the driver travels over the speed limit. Once parked, Safe Exit Assist (SEA) provides a warning when a vehicle is approaching from the rear-side when getting out of the vehicle, with the electronic child lock preventing rear-seat passengers from opening the rear door.
Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) is a feature that enables the vehicle to park itself autonomously, whether or not the driver is in the vehicle. It enables drivers to move their car out of a front-and-back parking space remotely with their key fob.
Other ADAS features include Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), High Beam Assist (HBA), Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control (NSCC), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Highway Driving Assist (HDA), Rear View Monitor (RVM), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA-R) and Front/Rear Parking Distance Warning (PDW-F/R).
A 10-inch head-up display (HUD) system displays key driving information including speed, ADAS data and navigation commands directly onto the front windshield. The ultra-clear graphics are displayed directly ahead of the driver helping to minimise eye movement while driving, enhancing safety and convenience in the process.
An advanced Voice Car Control system featuring Natural Voice Recognition technology allows occupants to control key vehicle systems such as temperature and audio settings without raising an arm. A new Multi-Command feature means passengers can also control multiple functions with one command. Additional convenience is provided by a power tailgate that opens automatically on detecting the user’s smart key.
The Niro is equipped with Kia’s Digital Key 2 Touch system that allows occupants to unlock and start their vehicle via smartphone. Compatible with both iOS and Android devices that feature the Kia Connect App, the system uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to enable drivers to access and start their vehicle without the need to carry the car’s smart key.
Built-in front and rear cameras mounted inside the Niro allow occupants to record high-quality videos of memorable journeys and scenic locations. Users can then save and view the videos on the vehicle’s infotainment screen or via a smartphone. The Niro also features car-to-home, a function that allows users to control home IoT devices such as television, lighting and room temperatures directly from inside the vehicle.
The Kia Connect smartphone app allows users to connect with their vehicle remotely. Drivers can sync calendars, plan journeys with online navigation and access key onboard features including live traffic alerts, local fuel station information and real-time weather forecasts. An End Destination Guidance feature helps customers navigate to their final destination on foot once their Niro is parked using Google Maps and augmented reality (AR) technology. Valet Mode enables customers to monitor their vehicle remotely when it’s being driven by another user, providing added peace of mind.
Due for global market launch later this year, more information on the Niro will be made available in due course.