IN THE competitive small SUV space, the fight is intense as the minnows of passenger transportation try to outdo each other.
The rise of the small continues to churn the waters as heavily loaded vehicles vie for the attention and pockets of an audience that counts every dollar before making a purchase.
Kia’s rising global brand value is making a difference in large markets where the cars can compete on price and performance. In Singapore’s smaller market, the challenge will always be keeping pace with the higher-positioned brands that have been longer in the game and that may have more enhanced resale values.
But that hasn’t stopped Kia from pushing its little Niro hard. The facelift comes in with a smaller engine but more power and packed with features that would make many mid-sized European models blush.
The Niro SX may be diminutive, but you wouldn’t think so looking at it from a distance. As you get nearer, the styling blends its utilitarian aspects with a desire to impress. The end result is an over-performer on the features front, even if the 1.6L engine is a bit of a drag.
From wireless charging to safety assists and ventilated seats and connected features that keep you in touch with everything that defines you, there is a rich vein of creature comforts to tap into. Though there’s not much value in having paddle shifters, unless you’d like to keep your fingers occupied. The sunroof lets more light in and brings with it a sense of airiness, often reflecting off the dash on the passenger’s side.
The build quality of the Niro is impressive for a mass-market runner. However, as a runner, it’s not too impressive. Slow to build up momentum, the 0-100kmh figures have been omitted from the specs.
As a hybrid, the start is silent before the engine kicks in along the way. But in that silence you hear things you may not have paid attention to before. Like the sound of the tyres invading your cabin. Fortunately, a fairly competent sound system can help to drown out the constant drone of rubber on the road.
KIA NIRO RATING
KIA NIRO TECH SPECS
Max Power: 96kW@5,700rpm
Max Torque: 170Nm@ 4,000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
VES Band: A2
Top Speed: 164kmh
Retail price: *118,111
Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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