2022 Kia Niro and e-Niro powertrains detailed

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2022 Kia Niro 3

The new Kia Niro and e-Niro have been fully detailed, with 463km of range in the fully electric model and a larger battery for the plug-in hybrid model.

The second-generation Kia Niro and e-Niro SUVs are nearing an Australian 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.

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The regular hybrid version of the new Kia Niro uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine developing 76kW and 144Nm of torque. This is combined with a battery and electric motor in a system that offers a total combined power output of 104kW. 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 62kW 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 134kW, while preliminary data suggests that up to 60km of pure electric running will be possible. No fuel economy statistics or performance figures are available.

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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. That’s an increase of 10km, suggesting increased aerodynamic and battery efficiency from the new car.

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.

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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”.

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It grows in size compared with its predecessor, too, now standing at 4420mm long, 1825mm wide, and with a height of 1545mm. 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.

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The only technology that Kia has announced details of so far is a new ‘Greenzone Drive Mode’ which is particularly relevant to countries where emissions output is tightly regulated in some areas. 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.

Kia Australia expects the new generation Niro to launch in Q3 2022, with local pricing and specifications to be announced closer to its debut.

James Brodie

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