What's it like?
The Niro PHEV offers the upsides of being able to run up to 36 miles on electric power alone, enjoying a potentially huge uptick on running costs as well as the delicious silence and compelling confidence of the instant torque from the electric motor.
The official economy figures you see at the bottom of this review are fairly meaningless, because a PHEV is as efficient as the distances you drive. Living and mainly commuting short distances around a big town I could nigh-on live on electric power and record some mildly ridiculous economy figures. Life as a long-range sales rep seeking would be harder, as you’d need a lot of plug sockets and meeting times to keep the economy the right side of what a simple hybrid could achieve.
On the flip side you have that higher purchase cost (£31,945 here - £4500 more than the Prius-esque hybrid Niro), 49 litres less boot space (thank you batteries) and - alas - a slightly gruff 1.6-litre engine disturbing your karma when it kicks in.
Beyond the powertrain, the Niro is a decent if uninspiring steer wrapped in a supremely practical body. Passengers have little to complain about either, with the interior both compellingly smart and laden with all the kit you could likely wish for.
Should I buy one?
Maybe, because this facelifted Niro adds a small amount of lustre to what has always been a well-rounded offering: this is a potentially hugely economical powertrain in a well-sorted car, laden with kit and backed by a seven-year warranty.
But if your decision is financially driven, as is likely, you do need to consult a calculator, because you’ll have to cover a lot of miles or enjoy a lot of lower VED or company car bills to truly extract value from choosing the PHEV over the hybrid.
Alternatively, if your motives are altogether greener or company car tax focused then you might also want to consider the excellent all-electric e-Niro instead, available with a 280-ish mile real world range and epically low running costs for a further £5k.
Even if you do conclude it is for you, then you must consider the opposition, not least the Skoda Superb PHEV, which starts from £31,970.
How car makers must rue the loss of the plug-in hybrid grant, which swung the cost-benefit equation rather more in their - and consumers’ - favour.
Kia Niro 1.6 GDi PHEV 6-speed DCT specification
Where Middlesex, UK Price £31,945 On sale now Engine 4 cyls, 1580cc, petrol, plus electric motor Power 139bhp at 5700rpm Torque 195lb ft Gearbox DCT automatic Kerb weight 1149kg Top speed 107mph 0-62mph 10.4sec Fuel economy 201.8mpg CO2 29g/km Rivals Hyundai Ioniq PHEV, Skoda Superb PHEV