A dramatically restyled, second-generation version of the popular Kia Niro crossover is being prepared for a launch in 2022, with the new Kia featuring heavy design influence from 2019’s outlandish Kia HabaNiro concept.
Destined for a reveal later this year, the Mk2 Niro will retain its hybrid, plug-in hybrid and Kia e-Niro pure-electric powertrains, but it will be set apart from today’s model by its more overtly SUV-inspired silhouette and overhauled interior.
Whereas the EV6 uses the new E-GMP electrical architecture with 800V capacity and vehicle-to-load charging functionality, the electric variant of the Niro will have an updated version of the current car’s hardware. The latest platform is reserved for vehicles in Kia’s new family of EV-badged electric-only cars.
This means the Peugeot e-2008 rival will be technically similar to the current car, which is available with either a 39kWh battery or a 64kWh unit, giving a maximum of 282 miles of range on the WLTP cycle. Efficiency-boosting upgrades for the second iteration are likely to take this official range past the 300-mile mark, matching the recently updated Hyundai Kona Electric. The 4x4 HabaNiro concept hinted at the potential for a driven rear axle, at least on top-rung variants, but it is important to note that it sat atop a bespoke EV chassis.
Giving an update on Kia’s position in the UK recently (see separate story, below), managing director Paul Philpott revealed that the shorter-range version of the current Kia e-Niro, which offers 180 miles per charge and drops power from 201bhp to 132bhp, accounts for less than 5% of the model’s sales here. That suggests its survival into the new generation is not a certainty, especially now that there’s a variant of the bigger-battery car that qualifies for the government’s revised plug-in car grant.