Kia Niro gets concept-inspired refresh, new interior

The second-generation SUV will feature bold styling and higher efficiency.

Kia will launch a drastically redesigned second-generation Niro crossover in 2022. It will feature heavy design influences from 2019’s wild HabaNiro concept.

The Mk2 Niro is scheduled for a unveiling later in the year. It will still have its hybrid, pure-electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains. However, it will stand out from today’s model with its SUV-inspired silhouette, and overhauled interior.

Soon after the EV6 flagship electric vehicle and Sportage SUV, the new Niro will be available. This is the latest in a series boldly designed models that are redefining the South Korean brand’s image.

The EV6 utilizes the new E-GMP electric architecture with 800V power and vehicle-toload charging functionality. However, the Niro’s electric variant will use an updated version the car’s current hardware. This platform is only available for electric-only vehicles that are part of the new EV-badged Kia family.

The Peugeot e2008 rival will technically be identical to the current car. It is available with either a 38kWh or 64kWh battery, providing a maximum range of 282 miles on the WLTP cycle. The official range will likely exceed 300 miles, thanks to efficiency-enhancing upgrades. This is similar to the new Hyundai Kona Electric. Although the 4×4 HabaNiro concept suggested the possibility of a driven rear axle on top-rung models, it was atop an EV chassis.

Paul Philpott, managing director of Kia UK, gave an update on the company’s situation recently. He revealed that the current e-Niro’s shorter-range version, which can travel 180 miles per charge but has a power drop of 201bhp from 132bhp and offers a lower output, makes up less than 5%. This suggests that its survival into the next generation is not certain, especially since a larger-battery version of the e-Niro qualifies for government’s revised plug in car grant.

In elements like the clamshell bonnet and steeper C-pillar, as well as the protruding lip across its bootlid, the HabaNiro design has a significant influence on the production-ready descendant. Camouflage covered the details of a prototype recently spotted, but it appears that the Niro will adopt vertical boomerang-shaped rear lights clusters similar to the Bayon crossover from sister brand Hyundai.

The interior has seen extensive changes. Flush buttons and switches have been redesigned to give the console a cleaner appearance. Climate controls have been replaced with a sliding panel that is touch-sensitive. The EV6’s central infotainment screen, digital gauge cluster, and steering wheel with only one spoke have been retained.

Kia achieves record UK sales

Kia celebrated 30 years of presence in the UK market, and also achieved a 5% market share in the first half 2021. This is an increase from 1.5% in 2007 and Paul Philpott, managing director, called it a “landmark figure”.

Kia was the eighth largest brand in the UK with 45,300 sales within the first six months. It also had a significantly higher proportion of electrified cars sold (31%, excluding mild Hybrids), than other car makers. It was second in this segment only to Tesla with 6500 pure-electric car sales. In April, May, and June, the brand saw record sales.

Philpott stated that “We have a strong order bank for quarter 3, which puts us on track to sell 90,000 for the entire year, which was our original goal for 2021.” We are back to where we want to be before Covid.

It all depends on how much supply there is in the second half. We are confident that there is enough demand to reach this level of sales. To maximize supply for the UK market, we work closely with Korea and Frankfurt, our European headquarters. Things look good. Although we would like to see more supply, the shortage of semiconductors is affecting all brands.

Philpott stated that there is a wait of two to three months for all Kia models in the UK, except for the Sorento. This is because the brand is experiencing “unbelievable” demand that it couldn’t have predicted. Philpott stated that delivery times for this car now extend into the first quarter 2022 and that customers are willing to wait.