Kia Gives 2019 Niro Electrified Crossover Its Midlife Refresh
Revised Kia Niro coming to the 2019 Geneva Motor Showby Andrei Nedelea, on LISTEN 03:13
Kia reports that it has sold over 270,000 Niro crossovers since it launched the compact crossover model in 2016, and some 100,000 of those sales were to European customers. It’s the brand’s fifth-most-popular model in Europe, so that’s why it’s chosen to reveal the refreshed versions of the Niro hybrid and Niro plug-in hybrid at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, one of the most important auto shows on the Old Continent.
What’s New About The Niro?
The styling has been changed to more closely reflect what the all-electric e-Niro (known as Niro Electric in North America) looks like.
The front light clusters have now been redesigned to include Kia’s “ice cube design," as has the front bumper, and buyers can now also opt for full-LED headlights for the first time. Rear lights clusters are also new and they too feature LED illumination and with the redesigned rear bumper, they keep the back end looking fresh.
But Kia assures us that this is a much deeper revamp that also concentrated on the interior - materials are said to have been improved and there is now apparently extra breath for customizing the cabin. There are now two color packs to choose from: Red-Orange or Plum - the former adds contrasting stitching with matching dashboard trim pieces, while the latter adds perforated leather seat upholstery not just on the seats, but also throughout the cabin and it comes with satin chrome trim pieces for the dashboard.
Inside there’s also a new optional 10.25-inch infotainment screen, although the base one the car comes with is an 8.0-inch screen.
There’s also another screen, in the instrument cluster, a 4.2-inch screen that can be upgraded to a 7.0-inch “Supervision instrument cluster.” The Niro is Kia’s first European model to feature UVO Connect, a telematics system that comes with an app for your Android or Apple smartphone.
This app “offers users peace of mind with a range of features to provide diagnostic data about their car and the trips they take. It also enables owners to activate a range of remote functions and features remotely.”
The only vaguely mechanical change has to do with the fact that the Niro hybrid and plug-in hybrid now have paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
But unlike in all other hybrids where such paddles might allow the driver to adjust brake regeneration or non-gear change-related functions, in the Niro you do actually swap cogs with them. The Niro is in a very small club of hybrid cars with actual gearboxes, in its case a very good six-speed dual-clutch unit.
Refreshed Niro models also have stop-and-go functionality for the Smart Cruise Control to complete the slew of active and passive safety aids that include forward Collision-avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist, Blind-spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross-traffic Collision Warning, and Intelligent Speed Limit Warning.
The updated Niro hybrid and plug-in hybrid will go on sale in Europe in the second quarter of 2019 and they retain the same seven-year or 150,000-kilometer warranty as the outgoing model (and all other Kias, for that matter).
Read our full review on the 2019 Kia Niro EV.
Read our full review on the 2017 Kia Niro.
Read our full review on the 2019 Kia e-Niro.
Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Niro EV Concept.