Kia Niro: HEV, PHEV, or EV? A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Model for You

The Kia Niro is Kia’s award-winning flagship family crossover and is one of the most popular vehicles in the Kia range, second to the all-conquering Sportage. The all-new Niro was launched just last year, featuring a brand-new design and three electrified powertrain options: HEV, PHEV and EV. All three models offer high performance and reliability while achieving excellent efficiency.

Since the all-new Niro was released in 2022, it received high praise from all corners of the motor industry thanks to its design, practicality, and eco-friendliness. Let’s delve into each variant of the Niro and you can decide on which version of the eco-friendly crossover is most suitable for you.

Please note that international imagery is shown, NZ specifications may differ from what is referenced in this international press release. For more information, please contact our vehicle specialists. 

All-new Kia Niro

Niro Hybrid (HEV)

Hybrid vehicles combine both an internal combustion engine (petrol driven) and an electric motor. The Niro HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) is equipped with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor. HEVs are designed to optimise efficiency and reduce emissions by using the electric motor to assist the engine during acceleration and low-speed driving.

Hybrids don’t need charging as it recharges itself through regenerative breaking and the engine itself, so you won’t have to worry about running out of charge at an inconvenient time. With this in mind, the battery of the Niro HEV is much smaller compared to the other Niro variants.

The Niro Hybrid is suitable for you if you’re someone who prioritise fuel efficiency and want to reduce their carbon footprint without having to fully transition to electric vehicles. They are ideal for urban commuters and drivers who frequently encounter stop-and-go traffic, as the electric motor assists with reducing fuel consumption in such conditions. The Niro HEV would also be suitable for you if you require longer driving ranges and like the convenience of refueling at gas stations.

However, if you’re someone seeking zero-emissions transportation or longer electric-only driving ranges, then fully electric vehicles (EVs) may be a better fit.

Kia Niro interior back seat
Kia Niro interior

Niro Plug in Hybrid (PHEV)

The Niro PHEV recently won the 2023 Red Dot award for Product Design. The model stood out for embodying ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy and unique use of eco-friendly interior materials such as vegan leather upholstery derived from eucalyptus trees, 75% recycled fibres in the rear cargo screen, and recycled wallpaper.

The Niro PHEV (Plug-in Electric Vehicle) runs on using both a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an 11.1 kWh battery. PHEVs have larger batteries compared to regular hybrids, requiring them to be plugged in for charging. The integration of these two components provides greater fuel efficiency in comparison to conventional petrol cars.

The Niro PHEV has an EV-mode feature, enabling it to solely rely on battery power for shorter distances, typically up to 40 miles. This makes it an excellent choice for city drivers with short commutes. By regularly utilising battery power alone, this helps with cutting down on fuel costs in the long run. Plus, compared to fully electric vehicles, if the PHEV’s battery is depleted, it will run on petrol engine instead.

This is one key advantage of PHEVs as gasoline acts as a backup in case the battery runs out, giving PHEVs a longer driving range compared to BEVs. The gas engine also means that drivers don’t need to worry about range anxiety or finding charging stations, which can be a concern for BEV owners.

That being said, the Kia Niro is suitable for you if you want the flexibility of a hybrid vehicle with the added benefit of electric-only driving for shorter commutes whilst also having a traditional car range for longer journeys.

Kia Niro charging cable
Kia Niro PHEV charging

Niro Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

The Niro EV (Electric Vehicle) runs on a powerful 64.8 kWh lithium-ion battery and has a WLTP driving range of up to 285 miles.* With exclusively city driving, it can achieve up to a 375 miles.*

The absence of a gasoline engine in EVs means they have zero emissions and offer a smooth and quieter driving experience. EVs do not emit harmful pollutants, making them a more environmentally friendly choice for consumers aiming to reduce their carbon footprint. However, this eco-friendly advantage comes at the expense of sacrificing range. Fortunately, advancements in battery technology have improved over the recent years and continue to do so.

On average, most EVs can travel between 200 and 400 miles per charge. For longer journeys, it’s important to plan ahead and identify charging stations along the route to avoid range anxiety. While EVs have a higher upfront cost compared to PHEVS, they generally offer greater long-term cost savings which is why you may want to consider investing in an EV. For instance, per mile electricity costs tend to be cheaper than gasoline costs. Moreover, due to having fewer components, EVs may require less maintenance and incur lower expenses compared to PHEVs. Plus, if you’re someone who’d like the convenience of being able to charge in the comfort of your own home, then an EV might be the best option for you.

Another reason to invest in an EV, and perhaps the most useful feature of the Niro EV is the Vehicle to Load (V2L) function. This feature allows you to use your car as a portable power supply, utilising the EV battery to power other electrical devices. For instance, you can connect your vacuum cleaner while cleaning your Niro, or even when you want to power electrical equipment during camping remotely.

As Kia transitions towards a more sustainable model of manufacturing, the Niro EV not only embodies eco-consciousness not only through its zero carbon emissions but also its leather upholstered is completely vegan, further contributing to its eco-friendly attributes.

Kia Niro EV red
Kia Niro interior

Ultimately, the decision on which Niro variant is the right model for you comes down to personal preferences and lifestyle needs. Some things to consider before coming to a final decision may be your daily travel, driving range requirements, costs, and access to charging infrastructure.

While HEVs offer greater range and PHEVs offer flexibility, BEVs offer zero emission driving, a more advanced technology and a quieter driving experience, making them a more advanced and sustainable driving experience.

Explore the Kia Niro

Find out more about the Kia Niro or make an enquiry with our team for more details.

Please Note:

Some images shown are overseas models. Images used for illustrative purposes only and may show optional extras. Driving range figure standards are calculated using the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). Actual results achieved will differ according to operating conditions and driving style. The figures for the all-electric range reflect the expected results under WLTP and are pending homologation prior to final confirmation. Charging speed and motor performance figures refer to Kia test results, final figures will be communicated at a later stage.

*Electric vehicle/mode ranges are shown using WLTP (real world driving test). This variable is based on driving conditions, style, situation and terrain. The average New Zealander drives approx. 40 km per day.

Kia EV5 concept image with Kia Connect App
Kia Crusaders Game
EV3 concept drawing in green