The low-emission small SUV purpose-built for ridesharing usage will be landing in Australia before the end of 2022
Called the Niro Plus, the new crossover is an enlarged – but still five-seat – iteration of the first-gen Niro that has since been superceded in Australia by the second-generation Niro hybrid and Niro EV.
While the fleet-focussed Niro Plus wears the outdated design outside, its sharp price tag and choice of hybrid power or fully-electric propulsion should make it attractive to commercial buyers.
The Niro Plus HEV (hybrid)starts from $41,790, and the EV S starts from $64,450, both before on-road costs are added.
By contrast, the smaller new-gen Niro hybrid starts at $44,380 and the new Niro EV costs $65,300 before on-road costs. .
Based on the first-generation Niro small SUV, the Niro Plus might look out of place in Kia’s current line-up, but this purpose-built ride sharing vehicle has already proven popular with Australian buyers.
According to Kia, the Australian allocation of the Niro Plus in hybrid and all-electric form has already been exhausted.
“Volume is limited and this year’s supply has already been exhausted,” Aylson MacDonald of Kia Australia said.
“The majority have been snapped up by fleet sales which are a mixed bag but, the bulk so far have been for ride share,” she added.
Built with ride-sharing in mind, the Niro Plus is 10mm longer, and 80mm taller than the first-generation Niro that it’s based on.
In comparison to the current second-generation Niro, the Niro Plus is 35mm shorter, 20mm thinner, and up to 95mm taller.
Like the iconic London taxis, these changes have been made with passenger comfort in mind, making entering and exiting the SUV a little easier.
When it comes to luggage space, the hybrid offers 367L, and the EV offers 397L. This is slightly down on that offered in a standard first-generation Niro, but likely because legroom has been increased.
In hybrid form, the Niro Plus makes use of a 1.6-litre petrol engine that’s mated to an electric motor.
In unison, this system is good for 104kW and 265Nm, which is sent exclusively to the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
In terms of economy, this hybrid powertrain is expected to deliver 4.3l/100km.
In the Niro Plus EV S, drive comes from an electric motor that’s mounted on the front axle, and can deliver 150kW and 395Nm.
Power comes from a 64kWh lithium-ion battery, which provides a driving range of up to 427km off a single charge.
Electric efficiency averages 16.6kWh/100km, and the battery can be charged at a maximum rate of 100kW.
Aside from a heap of space, the Niro Plus will come standard in Australia with an 8.0-inch infotainment system that supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The seats get a black cloth/leather covering, and though the driver gets power adjustment, the passenger seat has to be adjusted manually.
Kia Niro 2023: prices in Australia
All prices listed are before on-road costs.
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