4.3.2016Kia goes green for Geneva
Kia launched three new European models at the Geneva Motor Show, with two of them offering an electrified drivetrain - and the third expected to feature a plug-in model in due course. The Kia Niro, Optima PHEV and Optima Sportswagon were all officially shown off at Geneva and include a hybrid crossover, plug-in hybrid saloon and diesel estate respectively.
The Kia Niro is set to compete with Toyota's Prius in the family hybrid market. With more SUV-like styling than the Toyota, the Niro will nonetheless achieve strong efficiency figures, with emissions of 89 g/km CO2, and a fuel economy figure expected to be around 75-80 MPG.
Featuring a 1.6 litre Kappa GDI petrol engine and 32kW electric motor, the Niro is set to build on the success of the Kia Sportage and offer a good value family car - but one with a hybrid powertrain. The cabin seemed nicely built and well styled, though maybe a little busy in terms of switchgear on the steering wheel and centre console. Otherwise, its a spacious car with styling similar to the new Sportage, and it is likely to prove a success once it goes on sale this autumn.
The two Optima models both has a more grown-up interior to the Niro, though that's to be expected considering Kia is pitching it as a practical workhorse. The Optima Sportswagon has a huge boot, though both models are spacious. Currently the estate will only be available with petrol and diesel engines only in Europe, though this is expected to change since the Optima Plug-in Hybrid was launched at Geneva.
The PHEV Optima will see Kia's saloon fitted with a 50 kW electric motor and 9.8 kWh lithium-polymer battery for an electric only range of 33 miles. Emissions are set to be as low as 37 g/km CO2 as Kia uses its know-how gained from the Soul EV to improve expand its electric offerings.