Read Caroline’s Kia Niro review for everything you need to know about buying Kia’s new compact SUV in Ireland.

The Kia Niro was first introduced to Ireland back in 2016. It was a bit of a trendsetter at the time, an exciting new model for a Kia brand clearly on the way up.

Not only was it styled as a crossover – customers love them – but it also spawned a successful Niro plug-in hybrid and the jewel in the crown – the electric ‘e-Niro’.

Now Kia has had a chance to revisit the Niro and create an all-new version. But electrification remains a key theme with plug-in hybrid and EV versions available, and an upcoming full hybrid.

But has the Niro now got the stylish design it deserves to really cement its position in the Irish market? Let’s take a closer look to find out!

The Kia Niro on test for Changing Lanes!
The new Kia Niro on test for Changing Lanes!

What’s so special about the Kia Niro?

The new Kia Niro plug-in hybrid (‘PHEV’) tested for Changing Lanes goes on sale in Ireland priced from €39,700 –  and it’s notable for having more power and more range in EV mode than the model it replaces.

The attraction of the plug-in hybrid is the all-electric driving range of now up to 59 kilometres. At the core of this car is a 1.6-litre petrol engine paired with Kia’s second-generation six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

On the road, it’s more refined than ever, while savvy buyers who can keep the battery topped up will enjoy very low running costs from Niro ownership.

What’s more, the new Niro seems to look the part now of a small, trendy crossover. It’s found direction within the brand’s new generation of vehicles like the Sportage and EV6.

Kia’s design has been evolving over the years and the Niro wears the brand’s avant-garde new design language very well to stand out on the road as something a little bit different.

18-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights come as standard for a stylish presence.

The new Niro will be offered as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric
The new Niro will be offered as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric

Inside the Kia Niro

Inside, there has been a transformation as well. Niro feels more modern and youthful than before, with some very impressive digital displays. A 10.25-inch touchscreen comes as standard and suitably modernises the cabin of the Niro. It’s all very simple and intuitive to use, while the cabin quality feels good as well.

In Ireland the Niro PHEV is available in two trim levels, packed with equipment – the K3 (from €39,700) and the K4 (from €42,700).

Standard features on K3 models include heated front seats, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, wireless phone charger, and Apple Car Play and Android Auto with voice control. There are also lots of standard safety features like lane keep assist, lane follow assist, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot collision avoidance. The Niro is not cheap but that’s a high specification.

Opt for the K4, and in addition there’s power adjustable front seats, heated rear seats, head-up display, 10.25-inch LCD driver display screen and a powered tailgate.

The interior of the new Kia Niro
The interior of the new Kia Niro

The new Niro sits on a new platform and though it looks compact on the outside, it’s surprisingly roomy inside. Naturally, it’s not the widest car so three might feel a squeeze in the back. But for two adults or children, it does feel roomy. The boot can muster 348 litres of space in the plug-in hybrid –  some hatchbacks do it better, though it’s still a decent usable space. The Niro EV actually has considerably more boot space!

On the road in the Niro PHEV

For this new generation of the Niro, Kia has made some suspension and steering improvements for a more enjoyable and responsive drive. There’s also been the addition of more insulation and padding around the vehicle’s structure to reduce engine and road noise.

On the road the Niro PHEV does appear to have grown-up. It feels more driver-focused now despite its efficient powertrain. It’s more refined than before so the cabin is more relaxing, and  comfortable for the most part too.

The power output of the hybrid is a healthy 183hp, and the Niro can certainly provide a good pick up in speed when you need it. The previous Niro hybrid felt less inclined to do this. There is still a bias to efficiency, but it’s a good one – without charging the battery my fuel consumption was less than 5.0 litres per 100 kilometres, which is very impressive.

Rear legroom in the new Niro
Rear seating in the new Niro

Did you like it?

The Kia brand has real momentum in Ireland with bestsellers like the new Kia Sportage and the EV6. Now the brand has a real chance to make impact in the more compact side of the market, with the new Niro boasting some of the most sought after electrified powertrains on the market right now.

The Niro EV review is coming soon, where I will take a closer look at the new generation model that can travel up to 460 kilometres on one battery charge, and comes to market priced a little more than the Niro PHEV at €41,775.

But for now the Kia Niro PHEV moves the game on for the brand’s plug-in hybrid range. Buyers can potentially run the Niro as an electric vehicle with regular charging. But in my experience, this car returns some excellent economy figures when ran even as a standard hybrid – though plugging in regularly is always the best option!

The Kia Niro has moved on a lot from the previous version in terms of design. It seems more comfortable in its skin now, with more kerb appeal. The design might not be for everyone, but it’s a stylish and quirky crossover that has purpose.

Inside, the Niro packs in lots of equipment and a latest generation Kia interior with a modern, digital display. What’s more, it’s a practical offering in the segment.

These cars have excellent technology on board and don’t come cheap. The bias here is still towards efficiency and that is something Niro does very well, in a number of different flavours for Irish consumers!

The Kia Niro plug-in hybrid is on sale from €39,700
The Kia Niro plug-in hybrid is on sale from €39,700

Model tested: Kia Niro K4
1.6-litre petrol electric plug-in hybrid
Power: 183hp
Torque: 265Nm
Top speed: 161 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 9.8 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year


Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year