Two Niro SUVs joining Kia New Zealand model range
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Kia is set to boost its SUV range in New Zealand with the introduction of the long-awaited Niro models.
The Kia Niro will go on sale in the first quarter of 2018 after it went through an evaluation process with media and consumers over the past ten months. It will join the popular Kia Sportage and Kia Sorento in an expanding Kia Motors SUV line up in New Zealand.
Niro is the first dedicated Hybrid SUV to be produced in the world, built especially to run on the combined power of a fuel-efficient petrol engine and an electric motor.
Its official factory combined use fuel economy of 3.8 L/100km for a model on 16-inch wheels was put to the test in America when a Kia Niro was driven across the USA from coast to coast using expert drivers.
Kia says it set a Guinness World Record of 76.6mpg (3.69L/100km) for the lowest fuel consumption for a hybrid car.
The Niro Hybrid model will also be joined by a new Niro PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle), which can achieve considerably better fuel economy thanks to its larger battery pack and bigger electric motor, allowing it to travel distances under electric power alone.
Factory figures for the Kia Niro Plug-in suggest 1.3L/100km, could be achieved on mixed use and regular charging of the battery.
The General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand Todd McDonald said: “The Niro Plug-in is not just a fuel-efficient vehicle, but it’s a great SUV as well and we are excited to be able to bring it to New Zealand and add it into our very popular SUV range.”
Niro also featured strongly in the annual vehicle reliability survey recently published by the Consumer Reports organisation in the Unted States, helping to propel Kia Motors into the top three overall.
In the latest Consumer Reports table, Kia climbed two places since the previous survey to now sit in third place, just behind Lexus and Toyota and ahead of many respected European and other Asian brands.
The survey – one of the largest of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world – saw more than 640,000 new vehicles scrutinized over the past 12 months, with owners asked to rate the reliability on a range of criteria, from mechanical items such as engines and transmissions, through to electrical architecture and infotainment systems.
Using this information, Consumer Reports constructed a Predicted Reliability Score on a 0-to-100 point scale, with the average rating falling between 41 and 60 points. Better-than-average ratings or worse-than-average ratings fall on either side of that range. Kia vehicles had an average reliability score of 71.
Consumer Reports was impressed with the 5-door Niro Hybrid, especially the fuel economy and the vehicle’s versatility. The Niro Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine in conjunction with an electric drive unit.
With the lithium-ion battery located under the rear seat, it creates a flat cargo floor when the rear seats are folded, which got the thumbs-up from the Consumer Reports team because it allows more usable space than other Hybrid competitors.
The new Plug-in version of the Niro, which has only recently been released to international markets, has a larger battery pack and can travel up to 40 kilometres on battery power alone, without the assistance of its petrol engine.