"So what's that you are driving?" was the question asked.
“The Niro from Kia,” I answered.
“Wow it must be a tough guy if it's called after Robert de-Niro”.
The Kia Niro is not actually called after the Godfather and Goodfellas actor, but it is a tough guy when it comes to saving the plant. The latest hybrid vehicle to come to market is one of the most straight forward hybrids to drive and there is no real fuss in terms of dealing with the two power sources beneath the bonnet.
On test drive from Horse and Jockey Motors, the Niro looks good, drives well and is a comfortable spin for everyone, front and back seat. As you would expect is has loads of spec and is very well equipped – it comes in one style only and gives you a very high standard including keyless entry, lane keeping assist, bluetooth, cruise control, air-con, reversing camera, a 7” navigation screen and of course the renowned seven year Kia warranty, and five year paint warranty.
But that's all the stuff you know about already – what about the stuff you might not know about?
Well, the Niro, basically, has two hearts pumping the energy through the veins of the vehicle – it has automatic transmission too by the way, so be prepared to decommission the left foot. The electric battery (EV mode) can be charged using a normal three pin socket, or can be charged at any of the public charging stations. It takes approximately 2 hours and fifteen minutes to charge and this gets you about 56 km which is ideal for urban driving. And, when decelerating or braking, kinetic energy is produced, captured and turned into electricity which in turn helps to recharge the battery again. When the charge runs out, the vehicle switches seemlessly to the 1.6 litre petrol engine. All told the combined power sources make the Niro one of the most efficient such vehicles on the road and one of the most environmentally friendly also.
It has often been said that the hybrid machines tend to be kind to the environment but not so kind to the serious driver. Not so with the Niro, it has to be said. Granted pick-up takes some time to get used to in Eco mode, but switch to Sport mode and performance cannot be faulted in this crossover vehicle which comes in seven different colours.
If this is really the future of driving, there is much to look forward to. Kia has been one of the most innovative companies in terms of providing customers with different spec levels, choice of vehicles in the fleet and engine options. The Niro is another very viable option and considering that you get back €7,500 of the €39,500 costs back in grants from the SEAI and the government, the €32,000 price tag seems very competitive indeed.
Worth a test drive? Absolutely.
Call into Horse and Jockey Kia and check it out.
Horse & Jockey Car Sales, Thurles, Co. Tipperary
Tel: 0504 441 76
Phone: 087 6114218
Phone: +353 (86) 254 0929
Facebook: Horse and Jockey Kia