Looks – 8/10
On the inside the ‘First Edition’ gets a unique grey leather trim which is a welcome change from dark, black leather interiors. It seems to be commonplace for “eco” models to have light, airy cabins; one of my favourites was that of the Soul EV. What’s also unique to the ‘First Edition’ is the high gloss white interior finishers, but I wasn’t overly sold on this. The rest of the interior is all standard Kia; reasonably high-quality plastics, plush leather steering wheel and grey and silver trim to break up the gloss white. The dials are crisp and feature a 4.2-inch TFT information screen in the middle. In the centre of the dashboard lies an 8-inch touchscreen, and the starter button is nestled neatly under it.
Handling/Performance – 6/10
The Niro has fully-independent suspension all round, which has been tuned to develop steering feel. From the driving seat you can tell. Steering response is direct, with a reasonably sharp turn in. There is a little bit of pitch on corner entry, but body roll is well-managed by what is a good chassis. On the motorway the Kia is smooth, comfortable and soft. Yet thanks to the independent suspension it absorbs bumps well, and that’s something we have a lot of on our pothole-ridden highways. Braking feel takes some getting used to, especially if you’ve not driven a car with a regenerative braking system before. For added composure the Niro features Electronic Stabliity Control (ESC) and Vehicle Stabliity Management systems.
Economy – 10/10
The Niro, as a hybrid, has great green credentials. CO2 emissions start at 88g/km, but rise to 101g/km on the ‘3’ and ‘First Edition’ thanks to bigger alloy wheels. That puts the cars in VED band A and B respectively. First year road tax is free for both, with the latter costing a mere £20 a year from then on. Combined fuel consumption is a respectable 64.2mpg on the ‘First Edition’. Because of the nature of the hybrid system in a Niro, you don’t end up with the same skewed economy figures like the hundred-and-odd mpg you see on other hybrids. The Niro will do its claimed figures in the real world.
Total Score – 38/50