Kia Niro review

Kia Niro Hybrid (

We test drive the Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid and EV versions of the all-new second generation Kia Niro…

The Niro compact crossover is an important car for Kia. After the slightly larger Sportage, it’s the South Korean brand’s second most successful model.

A genuine game-changer when it was launched in 2016, it was available with self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrid or 100% electric powertrains and offered practicality, peace of mind and economy at an affordable price.

Fast forward six years and more than 70,000 have been sold, while 55% of all Niro sales are fully electric. In fact, the e-Niro was the UK’s second best-selling EV in 2021.

The success of the all-electric version especially was no surprise, given the value for money it offered, plus that 282-mile range.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Now it’s time for the second-generation Niro. Again, there are hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions, and this time round it’s slightly bigger (65mm longer, 20mm taller and 10mm wider) and the interior features a higher proportion of sustainable and recycled materials.

Pricing starts at £27,745 (Niro Hybrid), followed by the Niro Plug-in Hybrid (£32,775) and the popular Niro EV from £34,995. Note, it’s no longer badged ‘e-Niro’.

There are three trim levels (‘2’, ‘3’ or ‘4’) and a choice of eight colours, with top spec ‘4’ models offered with an eye-catching two-tone paint option which features the C-pillar in contrasting Steel Grey or Black Pearl, depending on the chosen body colour.

Naturally, there are differences in spec and equipment between the trim levels, but as standard you get goodies such as LED headlights, rear parking sensors and camera system, a touchscreen display with DAB radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus driver assistance technologies such as Forward Collision Avoidance with car, pedestrian and cyclist recognition and junction crossing – and Smart Cruise Control.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Top-of-the-range ‘4’ grade models get a head-up display, twin 10.25-inch touchscreen, an instrument cluster display, heated rear seats and ventilated front seats, a power operated tailgate, electric sunroof, an uprated Harman Kardon premium sound system, driver’s side memory seating, and front passenger lumbar support.

There’s also Remote Smart Parking Assist, Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist and PU vegan leather seat coverings, containing Tencel from eucalyptus trees.

The all-new Niro EV combines a 64.8kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and a 201bhp electric motor.

Torque is rated at 255 Nm, and it can accelerate from 0-to-62 mph in 7.8 seconds. More importantly, an electric driving range of 285 miles is claimed.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Recharging from 10-80% takes as little as 45 minutes – up to nine minutes quicker than the outgoing model.

In colder months, the system uses navigation-based conditioning to pre-heat the battery when a charge point is selected as a destination, which helps shorten charge times and optimise battery performance.

The Niro Hybrid has a 1.6-litre petrol engine paired with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. There’s also a 43bhp electric motor and small 1.32kW battery, delivering a combined maximum power output of 139bhp.

It can accelerate from standstill to 60mph in 10.4 seconds, fuel economy is up to 64.2mpg, while CO2 emissions are 100g/km.

The Niro Hybrid (and Plug-in Hybrid) also feature a new ‘Green Zone’ drive mode, which automatically switches to electric power based on location guidance from the navigation system, driver patterns, or manual selection by the driver.

Kia Niro Hybrid

Expected to be popular with business users because of its low CO2 emissions and tax benefits, the Niro Plug-in Hybrid uses the same 1.6-litre engine as the Hybrid, a larger 11.1kw battery (it takes about 2.5 hours to charge it at home) and an 83bhp electric motor, producing a combined 180bhp and 265Nm of torque.

Crucially, it has an electric-only driving range of up to 40 miles – more than enough to complete the average daily commute in the UK.

The Niro Plug-in Hybrid can cover the 0-60mph sprint in 9.4 seconds, CO2 emissions are just 18g/km, while fuel economy could be as high as 353mpg (in theory).

Whichever version you go for, the new Niro is a much bolder looking crossover than the outgoing car with angular design cues and a hint of the larger Sportage. And those sharper looks continue to the rear corners which feature high-set upright boomerang-shaped lights.

The smart interior is attractive, and well designed, with twin 10.25-inch displays giving the dashboard a wow factor. Featuring slick, sharp graphics, the infotainment system is intuitive to use – something of a Kia trademark. Broadly speaking, the quality of the cabin, in terms of materials used and build quality, is good, but it won’t worry premium rivals.

Kia Niro Hybrid

There’s a real feeling of space and plenty of leg and headroom for adults in the back, while luggage capacity varies depending on the model chosen. For the record, the Plug-in Hybrid has 346 litres, the Hybrid gets 451 litres, and the EV boasts 475 litres. Flip the rear seats and you get 1,342, 1,445 or 1,392 litres.

You sit quite high in the comfortable seats so there’s a commanding driving position. Visibility is generally good, but those chunky rear pillars leave a bit of a blind spot.

The three versions of the Niro each have their own character. Naturally, the Niro EV is the smoothest and most refined of the trio.

It’s swift without being gut-wrenchingly quick like some other electric cars. And for a crossover with no performance SUV pretensions, it handles well (with the accent on comfort). Sure, there’s some body roll if it’s pushed, but it’s well controlled and it generally feels planted.

There’s good traction through the front wheels, while the all-round grip is impressive. There are various drive modes, and you can also adjust the level of brake energy recuperation using paddles behind the steering wheel. It’s worth playing around with them, but we found the normal/mid settings worked best for us.

Kia Niro Hybrid

The Plug-in Hybrid is refined too, unless you floor it and the petrol engine kicks in. Drive sensibly and the transition between electric and petrol, and vice versa, is much smoother.

There’s more than enough performance on tap for everyday driving and it works well with the six-speed automatic gearbox. Obviously, EV mode is a joy, if not as quick as it’s pure electric sibling.

With a firm suspension and sharp steering, it’s a lively performer and more agile than you might think, but as with the EV, it’s at its best cruising along.

The lethargic full Hybrid is the most disappointing version of the Niro. It’s not a bad car, but its shortcomings are apparent when it’s tested alongside the PHEV and EV models.

Not only is it down on power compared to its siblings, but the six-speed automatic gearbox can be tiresome. It’s fine at city speeds, but can become hesitant on faster roads, meaning the engine is more vocal, resulting is a far less relaxed driving experience.

Kia Niro Hybrid

On the plus side, it will slip into EV mode for short bursts in stop-start traffic or when manoeuvring, CO2 emissions are low, and the fuel economy is comparable.

The Hybrid has a slightly softer ride than the PHEV, and again is easy to drive. Just don’t push it.

The Niro hasn’t been tested for safety by Euro NCAP, but we’d expect it to get a maximum five stars (like the Sportage and EV6) because it’s packed with driver assistance and safety technology.

Finally, the Niro comes with a large dose of peace of mind because, as with all Kia cars, it comes with a generous seven-year warranty.

Verdict: The all-new Kia Niro family-sized crossover is a step-up from its predecessor, offering a winning blend of good looks, space, safety, practicality, generous equipment levels and comfort.

Kia UK

Kia EV6 GT to debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

The high performance version of Kia’s award-winning EV6 crossover will be taking to the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s famous hillclimb several times throughout the weekend (June 23-26).

Kia claims the all-electric EV6 GT “combines exhilarating performance, first-class long-distance travel capabilities, ultra-fast charging tech, and an impressive real-world driving range for effortless cross-country touring”.

Kia’s most powerful production car to date, its dual-motor powertrain delivers 577 bhp (585 PS) and 740 Nm torque. It can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 3.5 seconds and boasts a top speed of 162mph (260km/h).

The car features a GT button on the steering wheel, activating its ‘GT’ mode. This automatically optimises the vehicle’s e-motors, braking, steering, suspension, e-LSD and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems for their most dynamic settings for a more engaging drive.

Drivers can also tailor the car’s ride, handling and performance characteristics to suit their individual preferences by selecting the ‘My Drive’ mode.

The car will be driven throughout the weekend by rally pro Jade Paveley – 2021 British Rally Cross Country Championship (BXCC) Class T2 Champion and 2018 Junior Welsh Tarmac Rally Champion.

She is also the end-of-stage reporter for the World Rally Championship and European World Rally Championship, and Marketing Director for Llandudno Kia, a Kia dealership in North Wales.

Between drives, the EV6 GT will be on display throughout the event in the ‘First Glance Paddock’. UK customer deliveries of the EV6 GT start at the end of 2022, with the car available to order from £59,995.

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Toyota bZ4X review

Toyota bZ4X review

It’s fair to say that Toyota is a little late to the EV party. Despite the fact that it was a hybrid technology pioneer 25 years ago with the Prius, it’s taken until 2022 for the Japanese giant to launch its first pure electric car in Europe.

So, I guess the big question is – has it been worth the wait? Before I attempt to answer that, let’s deal with the baby elephant in the room – how did it end up with a name like the bZ4X?

Well, to put it simply, it’s the first model in Toyota’s “Beyond Zero” family of zero emission battery electric vehicles, while the ‘4’ references the size of the car (mid-sized) and ‘X’ denotes it’s a 4×4 crossover/SUV.

Toyota bZ4X review

Slightly longer, lower and wider than a RAV4, the bZ4X has been co-developed with Subaru (its version is called the Solterra) and it’s available with front or four-wheel drive.

Your choice of drive will have an impact on your car’s performance and range. The FWD version (201bhp) offers up to 317 miles of range and a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds, while the 4×4 option (215bhp) has a lower range of about 286 miles, but is quicker off the mark (6.9 seconds).

Priced from £41,000, Toyota’s is going big on peace of mind, also offering the bZ4X via an intriguing new, all-inclusive monthly leasing scheme that covers the vehicle, maintenance, wall box charger and access to connected services.

Toyota bZ4X review

Meanwhile, the battery is supported by an optional extended care programme for owners, guaranteeing battery capacity of 70% after 10 years or 1,000,000km (620,000 miles) driven.

The bZ4X also benefits from Toyota’s standard Relax warranty which covers your vehicle for 10 years (up to 100,000 miles), provided your car is serviced by a Toyota dealer.

Talking of the battery, the bZ4X’s 71.4kWh pack can be charged from 0-80% in around 30 minutes using a rapid 150kWh charger.

Toyota bZ4X review

Four trims are offered, including entry-level ‘Pure’, which comes with goodies such as 18-inch alloy wheels, a reversing camera and smart entry.

‘Motion’ models look sportier thanks to big 20-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows and roof spoiler, while kit includes heated seats, wireless phone charging and a panoramic glass roof.

‘Vision’ is next up with standard equipment that includes heated and cooled front seats, a digital key that means you can open and start the car with your phone and synthetic leather upholstery.

Toyota bZ4X review

We tested the top-of-the range Premier Edition model which comes with four-wheel drive as standard, plus a nine-speaker JBL sound system, and is priced from £51,550.

At first glance, the bZ4X looks like a sleeker, more futuristic RAV4. Get up closer and the design is more complex with an accent on aerodynamics in order to reduce drag and maximise range.

Inside, there’s a real feeling of space, light and visibility. Up front there’s a new driver-focused set-up with a low steering wheel and a 7.0-inch digital display which sits directly in the driver’s forward eyeline. Not quite as radical as Peugeot’s i-Cockpit, but still a change which works surprisingly well once you get used to it.

Toyota bZ4X review

Praise too for the 12.3-inch touchscreen in the centre console. Slick with crisp graphics, thankfully Toyota hasn’t completely forsaken traditional buttons, so there’s less need to take your eyes off the road while you swipe through menus to access key functions.

It’s just a shame that there were some hard plastics used high up in the cabin, while the driver’s instrument binnacle structure is a fairly flimsy affair.

On the plus side, there’s stacks of space in the back for passengers, while the boot has a useful 452-litre luggage capacity, though sadly there’s no space for a frunk in the “engine bay” to store your cables.

The first thing you notice on the road is the smooth ride and the refinement inside the cabin.

Toyota bZ4X review

Just like all EVs, there’s plenty of instant torque available. However, the acceleration is perfectly pitched if you floor it, rather than gut-wrenching like some rivals.

There’s a little body roll on more challenging corners, but then the bZ4X is more comfortable cruiser than performance SUV. No complaints about grip and traction either.

It’s easy to drive and Toyota has tried to make it as simple as possible with its automatic brake regeneration (a system that recharges the battery by harvesting power otherwise wasted during deceleration).

Toyota bZ4X review

Maybe I’m the odd one out, but I prefer the ability to adjust regen settings manually (as is more often the case). Weirdly, the Subaru Solterra includes just such a feature.

Our test car came equipped with the X-Mode four-wheel drive system which has settings for snow/mud; deep snow and mud and Grip Control for tougher off-road driving (below 6mph), so it should be able to cope on those few days of the year when extreme weather makes the headlines.

We went through various exercises to test its off-road capability and it passed with flying colours. Few bZ4X owners will ever stretch it to its limits, but there’s a hill-descent control, low-speed crawl control and it can wade through a depth of 500mm.

Toyota bZ4X review

Any more gripes? Well yes, just a couple. There’s no glovebox and far more annoyingly, no rear wiper (it’s been sacrificed on the altar of aerodynamic efficiency).

Oh, and in answer to the question I posed way back at the beginning of this article. Yes, the bZ4X has been worth the wait.

Rivals include everything from the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Skoda Enyaq iV and Audi Q4 e-tron to the Volkswagen ID.4,Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Verdict: The all-new Toyota bZ4X is a welcome addition to the long-range electric SUV scene – smooth, spacious and surprisingly capable, it’s the peace of mind choice.

Toyota UK

The Best Electric Cars — Ranked

Electric cars are one of the biggest trends today. But while they’ve only started gaining popularity in the last ten years or so, the first electric cars hit the road over a century ago. Electric cars were all the rage between 1890 and 1910 until the much cheaper Model T Ford came along and undercut the market. After that, electric cars slowly disappeared from the road.

Modern electric cars don’t look to be disappearing any time soon, and in coming years, we’re only bound to see more of them. More drivers are switching to electric vehicles every year to save money and be more eco-friendly. Going electric makes sense with the upcoming ban on internal combustion engine vehicle sales in 2030

Ten years ago, there were very few electric cars available, and they cost a pretty penny. But there are now hundreds of fantastic and affordable options, especially with car leasing and finance options. We’ve ranked the top five electric cars to help you decide if you’re considering an electric car.

The Top 5 Electric Cars Available

Before we jump into the top five, it’s important to clarify how we rank the best electric cars. To decide which electric vehicles make the top five, we’ve looked at several different areas to assess just how good they are, including:

  • Price
  • Maximum range
  • Charging time
  • Technology and features
  • Driving experience.

Using these parameters, we’ve put together the best electric cars that are affordable for most drivers. 

1. Tesla Model 3

Of course, a Tesla is at the top of our list. We can’t ignore that the manufacturer is at the forefront of electric cars and is, in some ways, responsible for the electric revolution. Tesla’s Model 3 is the company’s entry-level car, and it’s an impressive one. Tesla has managed to find the perfect balance of price and performance with the Model 3. It’s not as expensive as the Model S, but it’s still a very capable car. 

The Model 3 is a sleek and stylish saloon that seats five adults comfortably. It has a range of up to 360 miles on a single charge and can accelerate from 0-62 mph in just 4.2 seconds. Tesla has also equipped the Model 3 with advanced driver-assistance features, including automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

2. Kia EV6

Kia took a little while to join the electric market but didn’t take long to make a mark. Kia’s EV6 is an absolute game-changer. Kia has pulled out all the stops with the EV6, engineering it from the ground up as an electric vehicle. The result is a stunning SUV with long-range (328 miles), fast charging, and impressive performance. 

Kia has also made the EV6 fun to drive, with sharp handling and plenty of torque and affordable. It’s the perfect car for anyone who wants to switch to electric without making any compromises. Kia has raised the bar with the EV6, and it’s going to take some serious beating in the electric SUV market. 

3. Skoda Enyaq

The Skoda Enyaq is an all-electric SUV that’s almost neck and neck with the Kia EV6. It’s packed with features that make it a joy to drive, and its striking design is sure to turn heads. But what sets the Skoda Enyaq apart is its range. It can travel up to 330 miles on a single charge with a fully charged battery. And when you do need to recharge, the Skoda Enyaq can be plugged into a standard domestic socket (although you’ll want a dedicated EV charger). 

Skoda has long been known for producing reliable, affordable cars, and the Enyaq is no exception. This all-electric SUV is Skoda’s first foray into the world of EVs, and it offers a compelling mix of range, comfort, and value. Whether you’re driving across town or country, the Skoda Enyaq has got you covered. Skoda Enyaq is the perfect car for anyone who wants to enjoy the freedom of electric motoring without any range anxiety.

4. BMW i4

The BMW i4 is BMW’s all-electric executive saloon. This vehicle is BMW’s first foray into the electric saloon market, and it’s a pretty impressive one at that. The i4 has a range of up to 358 miles on a single charge, and it can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in just 5.7 seconds.

While the BMW i4 has a higher price mark than some of its competitors, BMW is quickly becoming a leader in the electric car market, and the i4 is just the latest example of its commitment to innovation. With its long-range and competitive price, the BMW i4 is a popular choice for those looking for a luxury electric car.

5. Volkswagen ID.3

The Volkswagen ID.3 is an all-electric hatchback from Volkswagen. It’s the first car built on VW’s MEB platform, designed specifically for electric propulsion. The ID.3 is available in three different battery sizes, with a range of up to 340 miles on the largest battery.

The ID.3 is an impressive car; it’s affordable, practical and fun to drive. And because it’s a Volkswagen, it comes with all the quality and reliability you expect from the German brand. Plus, it’s won multiple awards, including Top Gear, Carbuyer and GQ awards.  

So there you have it, the best electric cars ranked. If you’re thinking about switching to an electric vehicle and you’re not quite set on any in the top 5, there are plenty more impressive electric cars to choose from. Almost every major manufacturer now produces an all-electric range, so you’re spoilt for choice. 

Hyundai Ioniq 5 review

Hyundai Ioniq 5 review

We road test the award-winning electric vehicle that instantly dates just about every other car on the road…

It’s difficult to know where to start with a car like the acclaimed Hyundai Ioniq 5. Already the winner of various Car of the Year titles, this futuristically styled EV features state-of-the-art technology and looks like nothing else on the road.

Hyundai may not thank me for it, but I’m going to start by pointing out that the Ioniq 5 shares its Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) with its Korean cousins, the Kia EV6 and the upcoming Genesis GV60.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’d say the retro cool Ioniq 5 is easily the most distinctive of the trio. Park it next to any other competitor car (eg Volkswagen ID.4, Jaguar I-Pace or Ford Mustang Mach-E) and they look instantly dated.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 review

Bigger in the metal than I’d expected, it looks like it should be about the size of a VW Golf from the pictures, but it’s actually closer to a Skoda Enyaq iV.

Hyundai markets it as a “midsize CUV”, which is automotive industry speak for a Crossover Utility Vehicle – a blend of hatchback and SUV, for want of a better definition.

Competitively priced from £37,545, there’s a range of battery and motor options available, plus rear or all-wheel drive. Packed with technology and equally futuristic inside, it’s a revelation.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 review

Able to charge from 10-80% (via an ultra rapid 350kW chargepoint) in as little as 18 minutes and travel up to 298 miles on a charge, it can sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.2 seconds.

We tested the top-of-the range Ioniq 5 with twin-motor all-wheel drive and the largest battery size available (72.6kWh). Just shy of £50,000, it boasts a combined 301bhp and 446lb ft of torque.

The flush door handles pop out as you walk up to the Ioniq 5. Once inside, the benefits of the car’s larger dimensions and flat floor are obvious – it’s bathed in space and light.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 review

It’s ultra-modern and minimalist up front, thanks to a two-spoke steering wheel and panoramic twin-screen infotainment and driver’s display set-up.

There’s a sliding centre console incorporating cupholders, small storage areas and a wireless phone charger, while the versatile front seats can be fully reclined.

Comfort is subjective, and though the seats were nicely padded with plenty of adjustment, I just couldn’t get the perfect driving position. Such is the huge amount of cabin space, I felt perched and almost marooned at times.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 review

The bonus of such a high driving style is that there are no complaints in the visibility department, but ultimately the Ioniq 5 may be fast, but doesn’t feel so sporty.

There’s ample room for rear passengers, while the shallow boot still has a decent 527-litre capacity, expanding to 1,587 litres with the rear seated flipped. You can also store the charging cables in a space under the bonnet.

All versions are loaded with kit. Even the entry-level SE Connect model comes with the dual 12.3-inch screens, the impressive rapid charging capability, wireless smartphone charging, 19-inch alloy wheels and highway drive assist (an advanced version of adaptive cruise control).

Hyundai Ioniq 5 review

Move up to Premium for LED headlights, an electric driver’s seat, an electric boot, heated front seats and blind spot monitoring with collision avoidance.

Ultimate adds a head-up display, 20-inch alloys, Bose sound system, rear privacy glass and ventilated front seats.

To get moving, simply choose a gear (the shift stalk is mounted low right on the steering column) and you’re away – and it’s properly quick.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 review

You can also select Eco, Normal or Sport drive modes and adjust the brake regeneration. The ‘one-pedal’ option enables you to slow down to a halt just by lifting off the accelerator. It’s useful in town, but a little jarring on faster roads, where it’s easier to use the paddles behind the steering wheel for extra regen.

Frankly, Normal will do just fine. Eco is OK for cruising on a motorway or A-road, but a little lifeless otherwise, while Sport is fun for short, battery-draining bursts of fun.

If you’re looking for a comfortable ride, then the Ioniq 5 is the car for you. However, more spirited drivers might find it a little too floaty with rather too much body roll in faster corners.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 review

That said, there’s plenty of grip and the steering is light and easy, while the brakes are unusually responsive for an EV.

No car is perfect and the Ioniq is no exception. It’s not as dynamic to drive as some rivals, and some of the interior materials could be classier.

The lack of a rear wiper is a bigger issue than it might sound too, especially when it’s raining. I finally lost patience on one motorway journey, stopping the car at a service station to clean the rear window. Also, the steering wheel obscured some of the driver display behind with my set-up.

I tested the car in the winter so the 267-mile range (the AWD in top spec Ultimate trim with 20-inch wheels is 30 miles down on the RWD) was never on, but I’d say up to 240 miles is realistic in those conditions.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 review

Thankfully, advanced charging ability is the Ioniq 5’s party piece. In theory, it can add 62 miles of range in just five minutes, because it’s one of the few EVs on the market to support both 400V and 800V charging.

Using a more common 50kW charger, you’ll get up to 80% in 50 minutes, while a complete charge on a wall box at home is best done overnight.

Unless you need all-wheel drive, I suspect the sweet spot in the range is the cheaper 72.6kWh single motor version (RWD) with a potential range closer to the claimed 298 miles.

Verdict: The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is smooth, spacious, comfortable and easy to drive. Loaded with state-of-the art technology, it’s a competitively priced family EV that oozes kerb appeal.

Hyundai UK