Endowed with a reasonably generous wheelbase of 2700mm (eclipsing that of both the Skoda Yeti and Nissan Qashqai), the Niro is decently roomy inside.

Space for five plus luggage was the model’s conventional design criteria, and although that leaves one person feeling inevitably short-changed, the hybrid is accommodating of adults in both the front and back.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
It is a shame Kia couldn’t have got the 40/60 split folding seats the right way around for RHD customers

However, its lack of genuine SUV-style height is noticeable. There’s the distinct feeling of plopping into a seat rather than stepping comfortably up into the cabin – and that’s a potentially crucial difference for some buyers.

The interior is unlikely to set many hearts racing. Its organisation is highly credible and the fit typically decent but, as ever, Kia tends to tick the essential boxes while leaving all the aspirational ones firmly unchecked.

Those shopping around will find their fingertips better indulged by the latest Volkswagen Tiguan, and most likely their eyeballs, too.

Even so, the grade of plastics is generally satisfactory and the temptation to go confusingly off piste with the hybrid readouts is well tamed; charge, eco and power dials in place of a rev counter are legitimate and perfectly legible.

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Up front, Kia has incorporated a new seat design, reportedly 1.3kg lighter than its current equivalent. It features a higher density of cushioning in slimmer bolsters and affords a reasonable level of comfort. It’s certainly superior to the rear pew, which is left wanting somewhat for padding.

There’s no backrest or slide adjustment, either, although the Niro’s general spaciousness makes this non-essential.

The boot is adequately proportioned without the need to move the seats, too, and it comes with the convenience of a luggage undertray (even if this does reduce the height of the load space somewhat). The 60/40 rear seats fold forward, providing 1371 litres of flat-decked capacity – provided you keep the hefty Z-fold floor in its upper deck position.

That’s not prodigiously big, but neither is there any impression on the inside that the Niro’s practicality is being impeded by its hybrid running gear.

Every Niro meets our bog-standard entertainment requirements — a DAB tuner and Bluetooth connection — although you’ll need to opt for 2 spec to get the 7.0in infotainment touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard.

This provides you with the manufacturer’s orthodox system (unshowy, workmanlike, effective — sound familiar?), although the Niro is also the first Kia to feature Android Auto, essentially Google’s versionof Apple CarPlay.

Our publisher’s dedication to the iPhone left us unable to test the new software, but it works the same way, transferring a number of smartphone-based apps (Google Maps, Google Play and so on) to the car’s own display.

Even without it, our test car featured navigation as well as Kia Connected Services, providing traffic updates and speed camera locations for free for seven years.

Those paying the premium for 3 trim benefit from a slightly larger touchscreen, a wireless mobile phone charger and an eight-speaker Premium sound system.

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