Energy efficient as a Prius v

Avto 12 February, 2018
  • Photo courtesy of Kia
    The Kia Niro is part of this new generation of compact cars, which, thanks to their full hybrid powertrain, just little fuel.

    Jacques Welcome

    Sunday, 11 February, 2018 20:03

    Sunday, 11 February, 2018 20:03

    Look at this article

    It pays to know the Kia Niro. It wins especially by the fuel economy in that it allows us to achieve since it is, like a Toyota Prius v, a vehicle of compact size, facilitated by a hybrid powertrain.

    The Niro is a new model of the Korean manufacturer Kia. Launched at the beginning of 2017, he aims for a specific customer : buyers of hybrid vehicles ; motorists ‘ for which the fuel consumption is a determining factor, sometimes even the most important.

    In this niche of the market that the Toyota Prius serves as a cue, the Niro is reflected in a sub-category. His body of utility (other see it as a family gives him a different style than a Prius or a Hyundai Ioniq, but also a safe flexible much larger than the one of these two cars. Having said that, this stylish vehicle has indeed a Prius among its rare models rivals : the Prius v, the family of the range of hybrid cars-compact Toyota. Another model that may be regarded as a rival is the small van Ford C-Max.

    This trio of hybrid vehicles compact brings together models offered at prices that are rather affordable, ranging from approximately 25 000 $ to 35 000 $. Some enthusiasts of automobiles recall that Toyota also offers the RAV4 hybrid, vehicles of comparable size. However, by their higher price (from 35 000 $ to 42 000 $), the RAV4 is designed for a clientele separate, ready to pay more.

    Photo courtesy of Kia

    The trunk converts the Niro is spacious and its layout is clear. There are also small storage spaces under the floor, at the rear.



    Compared to its two rivals, the Niro is good first of all because its range includes the vehicle the more affordable : the Niro L, an entry-level model available from 24 995 $.

    But more importantly, it is through consumption that the Kia stands out, as revealed by the figures published by natural Resources Canada (Nrcan). Compared to its two rivals, the Niro SX Touring, the top model we tested, would be the most efficient with a rating average of 5.4 L/100 km (we got 6.3 L/100 km). The Prius v has an average rating of 5.8 L/100 km, while that of the C-Max is 5.9 L/100 km. But there are even better, because the Niro L, model is the most affordable of the range, managed to match the performance, fuel efficient sedan hatchback Prius two-tenths of a litre with a rating of average fuel consumption of just 4.7 L/100 km.

    At the heart of the “écoperformances” of these different models of the Niro (L, EX and SX), we find a powertrain shared between a 4– cylinder aspirated, direct-injection 1.6 L Atkinson-cycle engine and stop-start at idle, an electric motor of 32 kW powered by a lithium-polymer battery of 1.56 kWh and an automatic transmission with 6 reports. This set provides a net capacity of 139 horsepower perfectly suited to the vocation “green” of the vehicle. This makes the Niro, such as the Prius v and the C-Max also carries out the acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 10 s well counted. But this other performance is of little importance to the typical buyer of this vehicle type, which is concerned more of the frequency of stops at service stations !

    After a few hundred miles of driving, the gasoline engine is not always discreet, and tyres with low rolling resistance do not always manage to hide the defects of the coating. On the other hand, settings wise to the suspension contribute to soften the ride, while the automatic gearbox (which even has a manual mode) is very flexible and well structured, and despite its dual-clutch transmission.

    The model SX Touring, in addition, is well-equipped (heated seats front and rear, leather upholstery, xenon headlights, 18-inch wheels, etc). The layout of its dashboard is well thought out and the finish is neat although there is an overabundance of hard plastic, which some associate with cheap products. The endowment of series a rather attractive of all the models (dual-zone air conditioning, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, CarPlay from Apple and Android Auto, cruise control, etc) compensates for this aspect less rosy.

    Photo courtesy of Kia

    The design of the dashboard of the Kia Niro is elegant and the layout of the controls makes them easier to use.



    The Niro suffers a little also be the last to arrive among a range of products already very provided in the areas of utilities, compact hatchback and vans of all acabits. Several Kia models have a great reputation and some are even among the most popular in their respective categories. One thinks, for example, in Sorento, the Sportage and the Soul, three utilities appreciated by the consumer, among other things, because of their practical design, which are also the best-selling models of the brand in Canada.

    The reduced dimensions of the Niro equate it also to another model popular with Quebecers : the compact hatchback Forte5. These two vehicles are also long, to 5 mm, and they have both a safe convertible. But there stops the similarity. As the buyer for which the useful volume of the trunk is a priority, will soon note the height most important of the body of the Niro (1805 mm against 1450 mm), which gives him a safety deposit box in the useful volume important. Among the compact vehicles of the brand, the Niro dominates. By folding the folders 60/40 (serial) of its rear seat, the useful volume is already attractive to 635 L of his safe passes to 1789 L. This rating outperforms significantly the 1597 L a Forte5, 1565 L a Sportage and 1402 L of a Soul.

    Moreover, by comparing the useful volume maximum of the trunk of the Niro in one of his two rivals Toyota and Ford, it is discovered that this utility is found between the Prius v (1906 L), which has the safe the larger, and the C-Max (1489 L), which has the smallest.

    Of course, driving a hybrid vehicle such as the Niro or his rivals requires a bit of acclimation. The brief moments where they start to roll in freewheel, when you stop pressing the accelerator, requires a control different from the braking. But with the Niro, you get used to it quickly. And then, we see with pleasure that you spend less time manipulating gas pumps to refuel !

    Niro PHEV : more fuel efficient yet

    Photo courtesy of Kia

    Kia Niro PHEV


    A Niro more energy-efficient will be presented in Canada at the auto Show in Toronto next week. It is the Niro PHEV, a version plug-in.

    The PHEV shares the engine of 1.6 L of the Niro hybrid regular, but not its electric motor of 32 kW. He ceded his place to a motor of 44.5 kW, while a lithium-polymer battery, 8.9 kWh and 24.7 Ah replaces that of 1.56 kWh and 6.5 Ah.

    This battery can be recharged from a standard ac outlet or a kiosk at top speed, would allow the PHEV to travel up to 42 km in all-electric mode, according to the spokesperson of the subsidiary, a us Kia. The european branch of Kia, for its part, announced rather a self-optimal of 58 km.

    The truth, which lies somewhere between these two figures will be validated by the first buyers of the Niro PHEV, when it will make its entry in dealerships of the brand during the third quarter of 2018. Its price is not yet known.

    Remember that the auto Show in Toronto will be presented at the Palais des congrès in the greater Toronto area from 16 to 25 February.

    Kia Niro hybrid

    Base price

    24 995 $ (L) ; 27 595 $ (EX) ; 29 TO $ 195 (EX Premium) ; 32 995 $ (SX Touring).

    Transport and preparation

    1740 $


    L4 atmospheric DOHC, 1.6 L ; synchronous electric motor of 32 kW ; battery LiPo of 1.56 kWh ; the net power of 139 hp at 5700 rpm ; net torque of 195 lb-ft at 4000 rpm. Gearbox 6-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive.


    Four-wheel independent Suspension. Disc brakes to all four wheels. Anti-lock braking system series. Tires : 205/60R16 (L and EX) ; P225/45R18 (SX).


    Wheelbase : 2700 mm ; length : 4355 mm ; width : 1805 mm ; height : 1535-1545 mm. Weight : 1409-1467 kg. Tank Volume : 45 litres. Trunk Volume : 635-1789 L. average Consumption (test, SX Touring) : 6.3 L/100 km (L).


    Ford C-Max, Hyundai Ioniq hybrid, Toyota Prius, Toyota Prius v, Toyota’s RAV4 hybrid


    • Trunk large and practical
    • Interior very spacious
    • Reduced consumption
    • Clearly arranged dashboard

    Weak Points

    • Parking brake pedal annoying
    • No grab handle in the ceiling on the driver’s side