Well, so a small hybrid crossover was probably not the best car on the scrounge for my week off.
Let Me explain: I set myself the ambitious task of building a brick wall in my garden for a new greenhouse to sit on. The task of collection of debris from many, many bags of sand and cement from a DIY store, back to my hook. Custodian Darren Moss kindly offered the Niro services and, well, that was that, a Morgan 3 Wheeler or a Renault Twizy. Easy decision.
Anyway, each bag weighs 25 kg, so after a quick back-of-a-fag-packet calculations, I understood that I could legally carry 13 bags at once. To put this in some kind of context, our Audi SQ7 long-term test car could have been achieved by 31 bags, and even our 1.0-litre Volkswagen Golf would have taken the 17. That was the difference between one, two or three trips back and forth for me, so clearly the Niro is not the ideal choice if you are planning a lot of upgrades in the home. In fact, even the completion of four well-fed passengers, that could easily be the tip of the Niro above its max gross weight limit.
But the Niro boot is proper practice in other ways. Lifting heavy things in and out is easy, because there is no large lip at the entrance, and the floor of the trunk is (for me, at least) more or less to the height of the waist. Fold the seat backrests of the rear seats and lie parallel with the floor, without leaving any irritating steps or cracks, so you can simply slide things without having to maneuver over obstacles.
In other aspects, the Niro is a better car than I had been led to expect. Kia finally seems to be making some progress to improve the weighting and the positivity of the controls. The address is a long way from being perfect, but it is a remarkable step forward in comparison to the gloopy and inaccurate scenes in, say, the cee’d or Sportage. And despite all the weight I was dragging around, the Niro still averaged a very creditable 47mpg in the course of my week of rest. WN
KIA NIRO 1.6 GDI HEV 3 DCT
Price £24,695 Price of the test from £25,240 Economy 45.6 mpg Failure Battery exhausted Expenses of Any Mileage 3012
The Niro has been put through our True MPG test, which is much more accurate than the trip computer reading. The result suggests that 50.1 mpg is achievable. That somehow the drift of the 64.2 mpg Kia claims for the hybrid. The mind, the rival Toyota Prius fares worst, recording a 50.5 mpg True MPG figure compared with a claimed 85.6 mpg. DM
KIA NIRO 1.6 GDI HEV 3 DCT
Price £24,695 Price of the test from £25,240 Economy 45.6 mpg Failure Battery exhausted Expenses of Any Mileage 2705
Kia claims the gasoline-electric Niro hybrid can achieve combined fuel economy of 64.2 mpg.
I have devised a basic test to see what the car is capable of doing in the real world. I planned to drive 100 miles from my home in Sunbury-on-Thames to visit my parents in Northamptonshire, on a route that includes freeways, highways and urban roads.
On the outside of the leg which would use some ‘hypermiling’ techniques of driving in an attempt to disentangle the fuel economy, but for the return match, I would like to drive the Niro in a more carefree fashion.
The Bus’s resident eco-driving obsessive offers advice, that is to say, to anticipate the road, avoid sudden acceleration or deceleration and the stick in the electrical system of power at low speeds. I also traveled in the night when there is less traffic.
I have measured the fuel economy on the trip computer. Not always the last word in accuracy, but it gave me a comparison. The result was a disappointing 48.5 mpg for the outside of the leg and 45.0 mpg for the return trip. A stroke of luck, perhaps? To find out, we’re putting a Niro through our deeper True MPG test. Waiting for the results.
Photoshoots are part and parcel of being on board of our fleet. Our vehicles are of a shot in detail when they first arrive and again before you leave, and it’s an opportunity for us to catalogue everything about our new car.
For the Kia Niro, we decided to do part of the branch on the outside, around our offices near Twickenham. But for the ‘detail’ of images that we’ve moved to the safety and warmth of our studio, where the car sat with its lights on and the engine off, maybe half an hour. And in the process we managed to flatten completely the 12V battery and leave the car stranded.
I received a call from snapper Is Williams, in principle, to say that, after you have finished with the car, it was showing a brake error message and not start – and therefore could not be moved. After giving the Niro time to “reset” itself, They called back to say that he had managed to roll out of the study, but the inside of the lights and other electrical components were playing; even the door lock doesn’t work. Before long, the car was completely dead, and no one was sure if trying to put in place a hybrid was a good idea.
A call to Kia result on our Niro being towed away by the RAC to be diagnosed by a professional. The explanation that we have received from Kia later that day, it was confirmed that a drained 12V battery, which was duly recharged. Kia diagnostic system revealed no further problems.
Now that we have the car back, I am slowly learning to adapt to the implementation of a hybrid car: how to use the regenerative brakes to the friction of the pump energy in the battery, and the learning, where the acceleration of the cut-off between full electric and gasoline/electric power output of the engine is located.
We are still working on the fuel economy, however, due to the 45.6 mpg we are seeing at the moment is not particularly impressive. We’ll see if a couple of motorway runs to see his family and friends in the next few weeks you can improve that number, and I’m going to take a leaf from resident frugal driving expert Tim Dickson big book of hyper-miling tips to know what is achievable.
KIA NIRO 1.6 GDI HEV 3 DCT
Price £24,695 Price of the test from £25,240 Economy 45.6 mpg Bugs dead Battery, Charges None
Read our first report of the Kia Niro here