In size at least, the Niro is intended to sit below the Sportage in Kia’s crossover line-up.
Its look, another Peter Schreyer design, is familiar: the front end bears the latest evolution of the brand’s ‘tiger nose’ grille and the rear gently tapers over chunky wheel arches. The appearance is conformist, then, but also rigidly unmemorable, although the facelift in 2020 did add some rather neat LED daytime running lights that sit below the front bumper.
The platform on which it sits has been specially formatted to accommodate electrical components, including not only the motor and battery pack in the self-charging Niro but also the larger battery of the plug-in model and the even larger cells and motor of the e-Niro.
With extra weight an inevitable factor of such features, attention has been paid to the architecture’s mass: the structure is 53% high-strength steel and Kia has employed lighter-still aluminium in the Niro’s bonnet, tailgate panel, front bumper and a number of suspension elements in a chassis made up of front MacPherson struts and a multi-link rear. Meanwhile, the A and B-pillars and wheel arches use hot-stamped steel to enhance rigidity.
The platform’s packaging means that both the 45-litre fuel tank and the 1.56kWh lithium ion polymer battery (which, at 33kg, is said to be one of the lightest, most efficient packs deployed by Kia) fit side by side under the rear seats.