Kia Niro (2016-2022)

Kia's Niro hybrid is a cleaner, greener alternative to diesel but it comes at a premium

Strengths & Weaknesses


Low emissions
Hybrid system is efficient
Doesn't look like an obviously 'green' car


Ride is a bit firm
Expensive compared to a diesel
Steady, rather than exciting performance

Kia Niro prices from £15,595   Finance from £302 per month

The Toyota Prius has become one of the world’s best-selling cars thanks to its hybrid technology, which recovers energy that’s usually lost when you’re braking, stores it in a battery and then uses it to boost acceleration, alongside a conventional engine.

The Niro is Kia’s answer to the Prius and works in exactly the same way, using the car's electric power so that the engine doesn't need to work as hard, reducing the fuel used.

This results in official fuel economy figures of 74.3mpg and low carbon dioxide emissions, so business users can benefit from low company car tax rates.

It could also result in low running costs for owners, but it all depends on how you use it. If you’re regularly caught in stop-start town traffic, then the battery will recover plenty of energy that would otherwise be wasted, and provide acceleration, cutting fuel consumption.

Kia also offers a plug-in hybrid version of the Niro, which uses a bigger battery and a more powerful electric motor alongside the petrol engine. You can plug this into a power source to charge the battery, which is where it gets its name from. This gives the plug-in hybrid Niro the ability to travel more than 35 miles on electric power alone, an ability that provides the kia with even better fuel economy figures.

But however impressive the electric car experience is, if you make lots of long-distance journeys without much stopping, you might well be better off buying a new diesel family car, such as a Vauxhall Astra or Skoda Octavia, which shouldn't be affected by many forthcoming diesel charges.

These cars are cheaper, but have similar fuel economy figures to the Niro and are likely to prove more efficient on higher-speed roads. If you’ve been put off diesel by concerns about air quality, then even an efficient petrol car is likely to perform as well as the Niro outside of town.

The Niro is roughly the same length as a family car, so there’s space inside for five adults. It’s taller than most rivals, though, which means that there’s plenty of headroom.

It’s comfortable to ride in, even if the car can jolt over potholes and the weight of the battery and motor does make the car feel heavy in corners. The smooth automatic gearbox helps to make the car comfortable, if not particularly exciting to drive.

Even the styling is more reserved than that found on Kia's recent offerings, such as the Sportage, with the Niro opting for a fairly standard crossover shape that's easy on the eye, if slightly dull from some angles.

Regardless, the car comes very well equipped, with entry level models sporting 16-inch alloy wheels, dual automatic air-conditioning, LED daytime running lights, digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The safety functionality offered across the range is also impressive, with Lane Keep Assist, Hill Start Assist and cruise control coming as standard. There's the ability to add Autonomous Emergency Braking and an adaptive cruise control system to all models for an additional fee.

Last Updated 

Friday, September 25, 2020 - 10:00

Key facts 

7 years / 100,000 miles
Boot size: 
421 litres
£100 to £140 in first year, £140 thereafter / Pre-April 2017 cars: free to £20

Best KIA Niro for... 

Kia Niro Plug-in hybrid
Withan official electric range of 36 miles the Plug-in hybrid is the most economical. Official fuel economy is 217.3mpg...but expect more like 65 if you regularly do longer journeys
Kia Niro '3' 1.6GDi 6DCT
A nice balance of affordable price tag, low running costs and impressive standard kit, this '2' spec level hits the sweet spot.


  • 2016 The Kia Niro goes on sale
  • 2021 Connect special edition, sitting between '2' and '3', adds 10.25-inch touchscreen, connected car services, and free premium paints

Understanding KIA Niro car names 

  • Niro
  • Trim level
  • Engine
    1.6 GDi + Electric motor
  • Gearbox
    6 Speed Automatic DCT
  • Trim level
    There are four trims in total ('1', '2', '3' and '4'). Each trim level adds more equipment but commands a higher price.
  • Engine
    All Hybrid models come with the 1.6-litre petrol and electric motor powertrain. The plug-in hybrid offers the prospect of some electric-only running, while the all-electric e-Niro has now petrol assistance at all.
  • Gearbox
    The six-speed automatic gearbox comes as standard on Hybrid models

KIA Niro Engines 

1.6 GDi hybrid, 1.6 GDi plug-in hybrid

The 1.6-litre GDi engine used in the Kia Niro is a hybrid unit used by both Kia and Hyundai in their hybrid models. In the standard hybrid model, the petrol engine is combined with an electric motor to produce 141hp and improve overall efficiency of the car, increasing fuel economy and reducing exhaust emissions.

The electric power is seamlessly integrated into the system, so most drivers won't even feel the difference between the Niro and a standard petrol car, other than when electric-only mode is use when coasting, at slow speeds or under braking. A dial located in the instrument cluster informs drivers of exactly what mode is currently selected (Charge, Eco, Power and Off) and a digital display can reveal the flow of power at any one time.

It's not the most powerful engine you'll come across, progress isn't exactly swift but the power and performance is more than enough to carry out the occasional overtaking manoeuvre and comfortably cruise at motorway speeds.

The plug-in hybrid version of the Niro uses the same engine as the ‘standard’ hybrid, but with the addition of a larger battery that can be charged up to deliver up to 36 miles of electric zero-emission driving.

1.6 GDi

Petrol/electric motor





1.6 GDi

Plug-in hybrid petrol/electric motor





KIA Niro Trims 

2, 3, 4

Kia's trim level naming convention couldn't be simpler and it makes a refreshing change from the Allures, Pops and other discombobulating monikers plastered across some rival machines.

Even entry-level '2' models have been lavished with an impressive array of standard equipment. That means alloy wheels, a high gloss black radiator grille with chrome surrounds and LED daytime running lights festoon the exterior. Inside, there’s dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth smartphone pairing, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity and an Aux-in slot for MP3 players takes care of the sounds.

Going on to the '3' trim level adds full leather upholstery, a slightly larger eight-inch touchscreen media display, a wireless mobile phone charging tray for compatible devices and a punchy JBL premium sound system.

Unfortunately, this trim level also adds 18-inch alloy wheels, which don't do the ride quality or fuel economy figures any favours, but the heated front seats and steering wheel, stainless steel scuff plates and electronically adjustable front seats are all welcome additions.

'4' adds a raft of safety technology, inlcuding adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, and blind spot detection.

KIA Niro Reliability and warranty 

Kia has built a solid reputation for reliability and customer care; with its unique transferable seven-year/100,000-mile warranty making other manufacturers sit up and take notice.

But unlike its sister company Hyundai, which offers a 5-year warranty on its hybrid vehicles and an eight-year warranty on their battery packs, Kia is sticking to its guns and offering seven years across the board.

This makes it one of the most impressive warranty packages available and trumps the Toyota Prius by two years, which should not only take the sting out of the plummeting residual values typically found on hybrids but also bring greater peace of mind to owners looking to sell in the future.

Used KIA Niro 

With Kia’s all-encompassing seven-year warranty, used versions of the Niro should offer much of the same peace of mind you’d get with buying a brand-new car, at least for a few years.

There are currently 111 Kia Niros available on BuyaCar, with prices ranging from £15,595 to £30,950 for nearly-new models.

Monthly finance payments start from £302 per month.

A limited number of 'First Edition' cars were offered to the keenest customers and these come with all the bells and whistles, plus a unique grey leather trim, a keyless ignition system, heated outer rear seats, an electronic sunroof and the additional safety package with Autonomous Emergency Braking and smart cruise control. These are rarer, but make a good second-hand buy.