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Kia Niro Plus EV Aims For A Slice Of The Cat A COE Pie

New challenger emerges from a refreshed homeground.
Gerald Yuen
Gerald Yuen
26 May 2023

Kia’s hybrids have already proven to be reliable and efficient. The Niro Hybrid was even crowned OneShift’s best hybrid car of 2022. So to have the Niro model range expanded, literally, alongside full electrification sounds like a logical next step.

The “Plus” badging is not unfamiliar, exemplified by Premier’s new fleet of Niro Hybrid Plus taxis deployed on local tarmac since early last year. Just like the “Plus” hybrid, you’ll get to enjoy more headroom and legroom, particularly in the rear.

While our tests revealed that the non “Plus” hybrid could achieve more than 20km/l without fuss, similarities stretch only as far as its name - we reckon the EV architecture and improved functionality of the Plus EV puts it within a stone’s throw from Atto 3 - the variant tuned to challenge the growing Cat A-eligible product lineup.

That’s because the Niro Plus EV’s single motor churns out 107kW / 143bhp, just under the Cat A COE’s 110kW / 147bhp ceiling. Paper specs suggest that it packs more punch than the “detuned” Atto 3, too. Maximum torque of 395Nm (vs 310Nm) and a century sprint of 7.8 seconds (vs 9.7 seconds) places it ahead in the numerical arms race, bolstered by a slight edge when it comes to range (427km vs 420km on the WLTP).

It packs a slew of safety features too, namely Lane Keep Assist and Lane Following Assist. Keeping in line with its family-friendly persona, there’s a large grab handle on the B-pillar - a feature that doesn’t always bode down well in terms of aesthetics, but its usefulness is undeniable.

Kia will face stiffer competition from rivals without a doubt, but their spacious new 4,000 square foot home infer that investments were made to strengthen the brand’s appeal. It now can display up to nine cars, which sounds excessive at first, but not if we learn about Kia’s “Plan S”, which “aims to transform the company into a leading mobility solutions provider”.

Think EVs, mobility services and purpose-built vehicles (like this Niro Plus EV) to complement possible services like e-commerce and last-mile delivery. Kia’s certainly more than a mere logo revamp and EV campaigner - the push for a viable transportation and services ecosystem is very much alive.

Photos by New Gen Marketing


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