2022 Kia Niro to accelerate EV transition
Kia's popular Niro crossover has been entirely redesigned from the ground up to meet the complex and diverse needs of today's environmentally-conscious car users. Three state-of-the-art electrified powertrains, sustainable interior materials and exceptional safety performance combine to ensure the all-new version surpasses customer expectations. The redesigned Niro is an intrinsic model in Kia's growing eco-friendly line-up, which will include 14 BEV models by 2027.
The C-CUV segment is one of the most competitive, with a dizzying array of comparable models on offer. The all-new Niro illustrates Kia's fresh approach to the traditional CUV and provides key differentiators to make it stand out in a crowded segment. A perfect blend of form and function ensures that the new Niro provides a safe, family-friendly vehicle with favourable economic and environmental credentials that will encourage many people to take a meaningful first step into electrification.
The all-new Niro smooths the transition to sustainable mobility via a choice of low- and zero-emission powertrains: hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric (BEV). The HEV and PHEV models feature Kia's super-efficient Smartstream 1.6-litre GDI gasoline engine. The battery electric Niro provides environmental and practical benefits with a 463km* (WLTP) electric-only range.
Jason Jeong, President of Kia Europe, said, "Kia has redesigned Niro to provide people with a clearer path to clean mobility. The range of eco-friendly powertrains will encourage even the most hesitant customers to make the switch to more sustainable forms of movement.
"The already popular Niro benefits from Kia's latest tech advancements and can meet the mobility needs of all drivers, attracting new people to the brand. The current Niro family is Kia's third best-seller, and the new version will further extend Niro's position as a volume model within the Kia portfolio and help accelerate Kia's global sales of eco-friendly vehicles to two million units in 2030."
At 4,420mm long, 1,825mm wide, and up to 1,570 high, the clean-sheet redesign of new Niro is formulated on Kia's third-generation ‘K' platform. The 2,720mm wheelbase and enhanced design proportions inside the cabin reward occupants with class-leading interior space and storage capacity.
Premium-effect recycled materials adorn the cabin, to augment the interior space and underline Niro's sustainable credentials. The dash and driver controls feature minimal clutter and smooth lines to ensure a distraction-free yet intuitive user experience. A head-up display (HUD) system enhances safety and convenience on the move, while a suite of new safety systems brings the latest advancements in protection to this family-friendly crossover.
The second-generation Niro benefits from a full complement of Kia's DriveWise intelligence Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) which operate to avoid potential hazards on the road and bring peace of mind to all. Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) warns and stops the vehicle of possible incidents with other road users or pedestrians, while Junction Turning and Junction Crossing functions provide an added layer of safety when negotiating turns and even stops the vehicle when there is crossing traffic from left or right. These are two of many safety systems included in Kia's DriveWise technology that combine to improve confidence and convenience behind the wheel.
Each and every enhancement on all-new Niro has been curated for maximum customer benefit. "Niro currently occupies an important position in the Kia line-up, providing an accessible electrified model at volume. It is a crucial model for Kia, and therefore it was a natural progression that, following our re-brand, Niro also received a re-brand of its own. The all-new Niro will offer existing customers the Kia heritage they value while also broadening the brand's appeal to new environmentally-conscious buyers," concluded Jason Jeong.
Sustainability made simple
With all-new Niro, Kia has simplified the customer decision-making process, providing three distinct powertrain options designed to meet the demands of every customer's lifestyle. At the core of this strategy lies a trio of eco-friendly powertrains.
The PHEV and HEV models benefit from Kia's exceptional Smartstream 1.6 GDI gasoline engine paired with Kia's second-generation six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (6DCT). The innovations on the second-generation GDI engine include low-friction ball bearings, gears optimised for transmission efficiency, and the removal of the reverse gear that saves 2.3kg alone. Reverse motion is instead drawn solely from the electric motor, helping to eliminate tailpipe emissions during reverse manoeuvres.
The four-cylinder unit produces a combined maximum power output of 141PS when combined with the HEV's 32kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor. A 62kW e-motor in the PHEV version results in combined maximum power of 183PS and provides an electric-only range covering up to 65km (WLTP combined, with 16-inch wheels) of zero-emission journeys, adequate for most daily commutes.
The Niro PHEV debuts Hyundai Motor Group's very first 5.5kWh high-volt Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heater for Plug-in Hybrid models, extending the electric driving range in colder conditions. The self-regulated ceramic elements provide cabin heating to complement the vehicle's heating core and ensure a continuous flow of warm air.
An intelligent Green Zone Drive Mode on Niro HEV and PHEV automates the use of electric power by taking location guidance from the navigation system, driving pattern learning or manual driver input. Built-up areas or roads nearby schools and hospitals are designated as Green Zones, and the vehicle automatically switches to electric-only driving to reduce the exhaust emissions to zero in these environments. The customer can also take control of Green Zones along the route by setting other areas in which they wish to reduce their vehicle's emissions, such as around their neighbourhood.
The BEV version of all-new Niro combines its outstanding 463km* (WLTP) range with energetic and lively performance, producing 150kW of available power between 6,000-14,600rpm and instant torque rated at 255 Nm (26.0 kgf.m). With a top speed of 167km/h and 0-100km/h taking just 7.8 seconds, the Niro EV will enable drivers to make effortless and smooth progress in all conditions. Furthermore, Niro EV's low drag coefficient of 0.29 ensures minimum aerodynamic resistance and maximum energy efficiency.
Topping up the Niro EV's 64.8kWh lithium-ion polymer battery from 10-80 per cent takes just 43 minutes with a suitable DC rapid charger. When temperatures are low, the system in Niro EV uses navigation-based battery conditioning to pre-heat the battery when a charge point is selected as a destination, which helps shorten charge times and secure battery performance. The all-new Niro comes with a standard CCS charging port for added convenience.
For HEV and PHEV versions, maximum braked towing capacity remains at a capable 1,300kg. The next generation Niro EV gains a respectable towing capacity of 750kg opening up the possibilities for zero-emission adventures.
Expressive and confident road presence
New Niro's redesign was guided by Kia's Opposites United design ethos, specifically focussing on the ‘Joy for Reason' design pillar that fuses the emotional with the rational to create vehicles that inspire movement. With a purposeful and head-turning exterior, new Niro brings much needed aesthetic appeal to the CUV segment.
At the front, all-new Niro showcases the latest evolution of Kia's signature Tiger Face, which has enlarged to now extend from the hood down to the front fender. The expansive windshield features a unique double-cowl design where the top and bottom cowl covers mirror each other for a sense of design union. Angular ‘Heartbeat' daytime running lights (DRLs) add to the contemporary look, while a bold skid plate and cladding enhance the vehicle's rugged character.
The EV version is distinguished from the PHEV and HEV models by a two-tone closed grille and unique steel grey side cladding. The Niro EV has also received a dedicated lower grille and bumper treatment in addition to model-specific 17-inch alloys. The plug-in charging port for the EV model is conveniently positioned in the centre of the front grille for easy access at all charge points.
When viewing the side profile of all-new Niro, the eye is guided by simple character lines to focus on the bold Aero C-Pillar toward the rear. This has been carefully crafted to aid airflow underneath the cavity for improved aerodynamic performance and allows new Niro to achieve an impressive draft coefficient (Cd) of 0.29. The efficient design of the 16- or 18-inch alloys on HEV and PHEV versions deliver further aerodynamic benefits.
Moving along the side profile and past the C-Pillar, boomerang-shaped LED taillights intensify the vehicle's sporty stance and sense of purpose. These sit alongside an uncomplicated licence plate pocket which houses the plate and Kia logo, while the heartbeat-shaped rear reflectors, rugged skid plate and strong diffuser echo design elements from the all-new Niro's front-end.
Customers can choose from nine modern exterior colours; Cityscape Green, Clear White, Snow White Pearl, Aurora Black Pearl, Mineral Blue, Interstellar Gray, Orange Delight, Runway Red and Steel Gray. Further personalisation options include the choice of different C-Pillar colours that contrast or complement the body colour and up to three different finishes for the cladding depending on the trim level chosen.
Technologically advanced driver-centric cabin
Every aspect of all-new Niro's interior has been carefully planned to ensure an aesthetically pleasing, calm and functional environment for all users.
Thanks to the C-segment K platform, the interior of the latest Niro has improved design proportions over the incumbent model. Increased overall interior space and ergonomic improvements provide exceptional space for occupants in the front, including a new passenger ‘relaxion' seat. When the vehicle is stationary, Niro's front passenger can enjoy a rest at the simple touch of a button. The seat will lift and recline to maximise comfort and provide optimal postural support while resting.
The slim front seat design frees up additional rear space to give more room for passengers seated in the rear, while seat-mounted fast USB-C points provide charging convenience. No longer is a vehicle seen as a temporary vessel for movement; with the new Niro, it is a functional extension of living space.
The driver is enveloped by the off-centre dash, which curves around the comfortable seating position to present necessary controls within easy reach. Two seamless 10.25-inch display screens show vehicle and navigation information, while a multi-mode touch display allows control of infotainment and heating while minimising driver distractions.
A 10-inch head-up display (HUD) system projects vital 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.
An advanced Voice Car Control system featuring Natural Voice Recognition technology allows occupants to control key vehicle systems such as temperature and audio settings. 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.
Via Kia Connect, drivers of the Niro EV can view and control vehicle charge status in addition to planning a route using online navigation, syncing calendars, and accessing on-board features such as charge station proximity, live weather, and real-time traffic alerts.
Other convenience features added to the new Niro include Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) and vehicle-to-load (V2L) functionality. RSPA allows the driver to exit the vehicle before parking and complete the parking manoeuvre at the touch of a button. In tight parking positions, the vehicle can park itself autonomously by moving in straight lines back and forth using surround-view cameras and ultrasonic sensors. V2L, already proving a beneficial user feature on Kia's EV6, means that any unused battery charge can be used to power external electrical appliances thanks to the bi-directional ability of the EV power pack.
Echoing the choice of eco-friendly powertrains, the environmental considerations continue inside the cabin. The headlining is made from recycled wallpaper, door panels are finished with VOC free paint and the PU vegan leather seat coverings contain Tencel from Eucalyptus trees, and the cargo screen is knitted material made of 75 per cent recycled fibres. These sustainable elements produce an environmentally considerate interior full of natural and tactile finishes.
Establishing its prominent position in the CUV segment, new Niro offers generous passenger space and provides a larger cargo capacity than key rivals. With 475 litres of trunk space and an additional 20 litres in the frunk, new Niro EV comes with 495 litres of storage space in total. HEV and PHEV models come with 451 and 348 litres, respectively, each of which can be further maximised by fully reclining the flat-fold rear seats. With the rear seats folded, cargo space increased to 1,445 litres on the HEV, 1,342 litres on PHEV and 1,392 litres for the EV.
Comfortable and responsive drive
Developed from the ground up, the new Niro has been built around the accommodating third-generation K platform to cater for each of the three powertrains. This latest architecture applies a multi-load pass structure for optimal front crash performance, facilitates improvements in the basic suspension and steering, and enhances design proportions and interior space.
The K architecture allows for various battery mounting options depending on the powertrain; rear-seat underfloor mounting for HEV and PHEV and central underfloor mounting for the BEV version. Each configuration ensures an ideal weight distribution to optimise ride quality, particularly in the BEV model where the underfloor arrangement leads to a lower centre of gravity and enables superior performance.
The all-new Niro has received suspension and steering improvements to deliver an enjoyable and responsive drive. At the front, the new Niro benefits from a MacPherson strut-type suspension, while the rear gets a four-link type set-up. Both, front and rear geometry together with an optimised steering gear ratio have been tuned for improved responsiveness, stability and ride comfort. A new tilt-type strut bearing reduces the friction in the strut and enables a smoother start of damper motion. It also reduces the friction in the steering system that together with an individual steering software tuning provides a very natural steering feel with excellent feedback.
Additional insulation and padding have been inserted around the vehicle's structure to help combat unwanted engine and road noise – especially important when running the near-silent BEV version.
Other engineering advancements include a slight increase in torsional rigidity, delivering improvements in ride, handling, and steering behaviour. A significant increase of 22 per cent in the proportion of high-tensile strength hot-stamping steel serves to improve efficiency and safety. Additionally, while the body in white weight was reduced by 6 per cent or 20.3kg, the torsional stiffness was increased by 1 per cent through Structure and Material Optimisation.
Kia's advanced suite of DriveWise intelligent Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) ensures that all-new Niro delivers Kia's most technologically advanced protective systems to give the ultimate peace of mind for occupants of the family-friendly crossover.
Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) will deliver an audible and visual warning (or even brake) to the driver if the system detects a possible collision with other road users or pedestrians. When navigating junctions, using Niro's turn signal will activate the Junction Turning function, and in Niro EV a Junction Crossing function also assists the driver. The system will warn if there is a possibility of collision with another vehicle either from oncoming or side traffic. If the system has issued a warning, but the driver takes no action, it will automatically apply the brakes to avert an impact.
Niro's front view camera and inbuilt navigation system work in conjunction to display the current speed limit. The Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA) system will display current speed and issue a visual warning if the vehicle is exceeding the speed limit. Also keeping Niro occupants safe on the roads are other ADAS features, including Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Highway Driving Assist (HDA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), High Beam Assist (HBA), Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control-Curve (NSCC-C), Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Rear View Monitor (RVM) and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA).
Niro's ADAS offers a helping hand with parking and exiting the vehicle too. Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) is a feature that enables the vehicle to park itself autonomously by moving in straight lines back and forth using surround-view cameras and ultrasonic sensors. When conducting driver-controlled parking, the Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA-R) and Front/Rear Parking Distance Warning (PDW-F/R) systems help manoeuvre into the tightest of spots. 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.