All-new Kia Niro set to challenge the Nissan Qashqai

The new 2022 Kia Niro features a striking redesign, enhanced technology and a choice of petrol, plug-in hybrid and fully electric powertrains

  • Second-generation Niro features a striking new design
  • New hybrid, PHEV and fully electric powertrains confirmed
  • Will go on sale next year

The all-new Kia Niro SUV has been unveiled at the Seoul Mobility Show. The next-generation of Kia’s mid-size family SUV is a substantial departure from the current car, with striking styling, an updated interior design and new technology.

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Kia has integrated several eco-friendly materials into the design of the new Niro and confirmed that it’ll be available with a choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric powertrains. The new car is expected to arrive in showrooms next summer, rivalling popular family SUVs like the Toyota C-HR, Ford Kuga and the Nissan Qashqai.

2022 Kia Niro SUV: design

The exterior of the new Niro has been given a complete redesign influenced by the 2019 Kia Habaniro concept car. The nose features Kia’s signature ‘tiger face’ grille design, headlights mounted lower than before complete with an angular LED daytime running light design, and a large lower air intake. It also features a sculpted ‘clamshell’ style bonnet with a raised centre section.

The design makes the car look wider and this is complemented by black bodywork cladding and silver accents on the lower sections of the car, together with a pair of new alloy wheel designs. Other design touches include a black contrasting rear C-pillar, which features a new boomerang shaped vertical tail light design mounted at the top of the panel and an angular rear hatch.

Interior

The dashboard shares plenty of design cues with the EV6, with a similar two-spoke steering wheel design, and a digital dial cluster and a central infotainment screen housed in a single angled trim piece, giving it the look of a single ultra-wide screen. Beneath this is a touch-sensitive control panel featuring a pair of rotary dials, together with a circular gear selector. There are diagonal air vents in the upper section of the dash, along with ambient interior lighting.

The interior uses an array of recycled materials, including a headliner made from recycled wallpaper, Bio PU (faux leather) seat upholstery derived from eucalyptus leaves and a water-based paint finish on the door panels. Elsewhere, the seats feature a new lightweight mechanism making them slimmer than the current car, which helps improve interior space.

Engines

While specific details of the new Niro’s engine lineup have yet to be revealed, the brand has said the model will be available with a choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains. Both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains are likely to use the new 1.5-litre engine fitted in the Kia Ceed, with the latter getting a larger battery to enable a respectable electric-only driving range.

Kia has revealed that both the hybrid and PHEV models will have a new EV setting called ‘Greenzone Drive Mode.’ This works via the car’s sat nav system and can automatically switch the car to electric power in preset ‘green zones’, such as residential areas or near schools and hospitals. The system also recognises the owner’s home and office locations as green zones too, once they’re registered in the navigation system.

For the new electric e-Niro, we’d expect the powertrain in the outgoing model to be tweaked to give a range of over 300 miles in flagship guise. There will also be a smaller battery model available, which is likely to manage around 180 miles of range on a charge.

Read our guides to the best electric SUVs and the best hybrid family cars.

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