Kia this week unveiled the new Niro, a next-generation model designed for sustainability-conscious consumers.
Based on the third-generation platform, the new Niro benefits from a larger body that implements class-leading interior space and storage capacity. Premium and eco-friendly materials combine to create a minimalist avant-garde feel. Modern digital displays and interior controls have been optimally placed to further enhance the user-friendly user experience.
At the heart of the car’s green credentials are a trio of state-of-the-art electrified powertrains, including hybrid-electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery-electric (BEV) options. The PHEV and BEV models will be revealed at a later date.
The HEV is equipped with Kia’s highly efficient 1.6-litre Smartstream GDI petrol engine. The four-cylinder unit produces a maximum power of 77kW with 144Nm of torque, while improved cooling, friction and combustion technologies ensure maximum fuel efficiency. When combined with the 32 kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor, the HEV model produces a combined maximum power output of 104 kW. The engine features improved cooling, friction and combustion technologies, which help propel the HEV model. The powertrain provides very competitive fuel efficiency, with the all-new Niro HEV capable of reaching 4.8 L/100 km.
The 1.6-litre GDI engine is mated to the second-generation 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (6DCT) which has been carefully designed and optimized to increase efficiency and reduce weight.
The Niro is equipped with Kia’s Green Zone driving mode which automatically activates the car’s electric-only operation to ensure emission-free mobility in certain environments and situations. For example, when driving in green areas such as residential areas or nearby schools and hospitals, the Niro HEV model automatically uses electric power based on navigation data and driving history. The driver can also set dedicated green zones in the navigation system to reduce pollution in areas such as near home or work.
Kia’s intelligent regenerative braking system allows drivers to choose from a series of levels of regeneration to easily slow the car and recover kinetic energy to maximize range. The system can calculate the amount of regeneration required using radar and road grade information. The system allows the car to harvest the maximum energy from its brakes while bringing the vehicle to a smooth stop.
The second-generation Niro includes a full range of Kia’s DriveWise intelligent driver assistance systems (ADAS), designed to avoid potential hazards and improve driving confidence and convenience.
The Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) warns the driver if a risk of collision is detected with other vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists. The system’s turn and junction crossing functions provide maximum preventative safety when navigating junctions. If the Niro’s turn signal is activated, the system will warn the driver if there is a risk of collision with an oncoming vehicle. Similarly, a warning is provided if there is a risk of vehicles coming from the left or right when the driver is driving straight through a junction. If either risk increases, the system will warn the driver before automatically applying the brakes to avoid a collision.
Using information from the new Niro’s front camera and navigation system, the Intelligent Speed Limit Assistant (ISLA) issues a warning and adjusts the speed if the driver exceeds the speed limit. Once parked, Safe Exit Assist (SEA) provides a warning of a vehicle approaching from behind when exiting the vehicle, with electronic child locks preventing rear passengers from opening the rear door.
Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) is a feature that allows the vehicle to park autonomously whether or not the driver is in the vehicle. It allows drivers to pull their car out of a front and rear parking space remotely with their key fob.
Other ADAS features include Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Light Assist (HBA), Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control (NSCC), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Highway Driving Assist (HDA), Rear View Monitor (RVM), Rear Cross Collision Avoidance (RCCA), Reverse Park Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA-R) and Front/Rear Park Distance Warning (PDW-F/R).
A 10-inch Head-Up Display (HUD) system displays key driving information including speed, ADAS data and navigation commands directly on the front windshield. Ultra-clear graphics are displayed directly in front of the driver, minimizing eye movement while driving, improving the safety and convenience of the process.
An advanced car voice control system with natural voice recognition technology allows occupants to control key vehicle systems such as temperature and audio settings without lifting their arm. A new Multi-Command feature means passengers can also control multiple functions with a single command. Additional convenience is provided by a power tailgate that opens automatically upon detection of the user’s smart key.
The Niro is equipped with Kia’s Digital Key 2 Touch system which allows occupants to unlock and start their vehicle via a smartphone. Compatible with iOS and Android devices with the Kia Connect app, the system uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to allow drivers to access and start their vehicle without having to carry the car’s smart key .
Integrated front and rear cameras mounted inside the Niro allow occupants to record high-quality videos of memorable journeys and scenic locations. Users can then record and view the videos on the vehicle’s infotainment screen or via smartphone. The Niro also offers car-to-home, a feature that allows users to control home IoT devices such as TV, lighting and room temperature directly from inside the vehicle.
The Kia Connect smartphone app allows users to remotely connect to their vehicle. Drivers can sync calendars, plan trips with online navigation and access key in-vehicle features including live traffic alerts, local gas station information and real-time weather forecasts. A final destination guidance feature helps customers walk to their final destination once their Niro is parked using Google Maps and Augmented Reality (AR) technology. Valet Mode allows customers to monitor their vehicle remotely while it is being driven by another user, providing additional peace of mind.
Due to a global market launch later this year, more information on the Niro will become available in due course.