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Monday, November 28, 2022

New 2022 Kia Niro and e-Niro powertrains detailed

The second-generation Kia Niro and e-Niro SUVs are nearing UK launch, following their unveiling at last year’s Seoul Mobility show. And now Kia has provided technical specifications for the model’s three powertrain offerings, consisting of conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure-electric options. 

The new Niro uses an updated version of the previous car’s platform rather than the new E-GMP underpinnings, which are reserved for the brand’s electric-only model lines. This enables Kia to continue offering the Niro with multiple propulsion systems. 

The regular hybrid version of the new Kia Niro uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine developing 104bhp and 144Nm of torque. This is combined with a battery and electric motor in a system that offers a total combined power output of 139bhp. Drive goes to the front wheels through a six-speed DCT automatic transmission. 

According to stats published by Kia in Sweden, the plug-in hybrid option also makes use of the 1.6-litre petrol of the conventional hybrid model, but an electric motor rated at 83bhp is equipped and fed by a new 11.1kWh battery – a slight increase on the 8.9kWh cell of the previous-generation model. Maximum power stands at 180bhp, while preliminary data suggests that up to 37 miles of pure electric running will be possible. No fuel economy statistics or performance figures are available. 

The fully-electric e-Niro has evolved for its second-generation, but it sticks with the same electric powertrain technology as before. A 64kWh battery links up with a motor system rated at 201bhp and 255Nm of torque. There’s a maximum claimed range of 463km according to WLTP certification – translating to 288 miles. That’s an increase of six miles, suggesting increased aerodynamic and battery efficiency from the new car.

Kia Niro design

In the ground-up redesign, the new Niro takes influences from Kia’s 2019 Habaniro concept; namely the front-end design and the two-tone effect on the car’s C-pillars. Unusually, the C-pillar also houses the vertically stacked tail-lights, visually separating them from the tailgate, which adopt a boomerang shape.

At the front, the brand’s trademark ‘tiger face’ has evolved, with a large lower intake and small upper grille separated by a full-width chrome strip. The LED headlights and running lights are housed in separate pods, with Kia claiming the running lights mimic a heartbeat. The main visual difference between the hybrid Niro and the fully electric E-Niro is a charge port integrated into the front fascia of the latter. 

The Niro’s cabin has also been thoroughly updated. A curving style line flows upwards on the door trims, with Kia claiming that opposing horizontal and diagonal lines on the car  “create a calming yet irregular aesthetic”.

It grows in size compared with its predecessor, too, now standing at 4,420mm long, 1,825mm wide, and with a height of 1,545. The wheelbase has extended by 20mm. The 12v battery has been repositioned for practicality gains, with boot space growing to 451 litres in the hybrid version of the car.

The dash is dominated by a large, single-piece display combining digital instruments and a widescreen infotainment screen, with separate touch-sensitive climate controls underneath. A new ambient lighting strip crosses the dash, while the centre console contains physical switchgear and the rotary drive mode selector. The Niro’s headrests also incorporate coat hangers.

Kia cites the use of sustainable materials in the new Niro’s cabin. For example, the headlining is made from recycled wallpaper, the seats are made from bio-based polyurethane with Tencel fibres from eucalyptus leaves, and the paint on the door panels is water-based and free of substances such as benzene and toluene. 

The only technology that Kia has announced details of so far is a new ‘Greenzone Drive Mode’. Using geofencing, it can automatically switch hybrid versions of the Niro to fully electric mode in ‘green zones’ such as urban residential areas, or outside schools and hospitals. The driver can also register their own green zones in the car’s navigation system.

Click here to read more about Kia’s Habaniro concept

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