New Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid revealed

New PHEV version of the Kia Niro unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, will rival the Toyota Prius Plug-in when it arrives in the summer

Kia is broadening the Niro line-up with a new plug-in hybrid version which has been unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.

The Niro Plug-in Hybrid follows the launch of the hybrid crossover last year and blends an 8.9kWh lithium-polymer battery pack with the brand’s 1.6-litre GDI petrol engine.

That combination, Kia claims, should be enough to deliver an all-electric range in excess of over 34 miles (55km), with CO2 emissions of less than 30 g/km. This compares with a figure of 88g/km for the hybrid.

The Niro will be the first plug-in compact crossover on the market, with Kia keen to cash in on a predicted sales boom that could see annual European sales of PIH models grow to 600,000 within six years.

The 8.9kWH battery is much bigger than the 1.56kWh pack used in the hybrid version and is paired with a 44.5kW electric motor (up from 32kW in the hybrid). In tandem with the 104bhp GDI engine, these will endow the Niro Plug-in Hybrid with a total of 139bhp and 265Nm of torque, allowing the new model to accelerate from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds. This compares to 11.5 for the hybrid. Toyota’s Prius Plug-in does 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds.

A six-speed DCT gearbox is fitted, while a new Eco Driving Assistant System is claimed to offer the driver advice on how to drive the car more efficiently, suggesting when to coast or brake, for example.

Predictive Energy Control, meanwhile, uses the navigation and cruise control systems to determine the best time to recharge the battery pack.

Kia has also taken the opportunity to differentiate the Plug-in Hybrid from its sister car with a number of styling tweaks, including a new satin chrome grille surround and blue highlights in the front and rear bumpers. There are also 16-inch alloy wheels, new full-LED headlamps and Eco Plug-in badges.

Inside, the eight-inch touchscreen is complemented by a new seven-inch TFT instrument cluster, while the colour scheme continues with a blue surround to air vents. Buyers have a choice of black leather, or light grey and black.

Kia is remaining tight-lipped on price for the time being, but has confirmed that the model will be made in South Korea and will go on sale in Europe in late summer.