Walkingshaw Motoring – Hybrids
Walkingshaw Motoring – Hybrids
The leaves may have turned brown but it is going to be a very green winter for those at Walkingshaw, Lillyhall as they have just taken stock of a new range of hybrid vehicles including the Volkswagen Golf GTE, Kia Optima and the Kia Niro Crossover.
So could the hybrid crossover be the future of modern motoring? A cocktail of car that offers the best of all worlds: a car that offers a higher driving position, space for the whole family, modern style and comfort suited to everyday driving and a car that is intrinsically green at heart, powered by an economical engine under the bonnet.
Sounds like it ticks all the boxes? Kia has just released their new Niro which aims to shake up the standard hybrid recipe by dropping a crossover into the mixer. The on trend and spacious SUV body type infused with the low emissions and high fuel economy of a hybrid car aims to appeal to masses. And those masses have been lapping this cocktail up as Hybrid sales in the UK and mainland Europe have doubled over the past five years and are expected to reach 700,000 annually by the end of the decade.
Kia have cleverly pushed their new model through their advertising by using the analogy of a rugby playing pianist and this hits the nail on the head with the Niro as Walkinghsaw’s new addition identifies what the majority of road users crave and infuses those ingredients to meet the expectations and demands of the ever discerning motorist.
Under the bonnet and down to the stats the Niro is not based on any existing Kia but it is a dedicated hybrid model. It is powered by an all-new powertrain featuring a 1.6-litre, 104bhp engine and a 43.5bhp electric motor.
Stylistically, crossovers have often been much of a muchness, shaped by aerodynamic limitations above style, practicality and desirability. But Kia proves with the Niro that they do not do elevator music. When embarking on the Niro project they have decided to go for a modern, attractive crossover body style with ample room for five people plus their luggage.
The design features subtly sculpted surfaces and sharp lines that mark Niro out as a modern Kia, and includes the latest evolution of the brand’s ‘tiger-nose’ grille. A wide stance gives pointers to the car’s stability and low centre of gravity, while a long bonnet, short overhangs, elevated headlights and a rising shoulder line are other neo-Kia hallmarks. The body tapers towards the rear, where bold wheel arches, a squared-off bumper with and high-mounted tail lights emphasise the Niro’s crossover stance and a subtle roof spoiler aids the car’s aerodynamics.
Inside the cabin the interior includes the latest connectivity and safety technology, including Tom Tom, wireless smart phone charging, autonomous emergency braking, smart cruise control, automatic lane-keeping, blind spot and rear cross traffic warning systems. Bumping up the practicality and usability and in a first for Kia, it also offers a system which links the driver’s Android smartphone to Google Maps and Play, hands-free calls and texts and a voice recognition system.
It is not all style and no substance though as by re-engineering certain existing components, Kia have been able to ensure that the Niro despite its uniquely designed hybrid chassis holds its own against the brand’s other compact models in terms of ride comfort, handling and refinement.
Potentially the most attractive feature of the all-new Niro is the price tag as you can order yourself one from just over £21,000.