Saturday 22 October 2016

KIA's stark warning on emissions as hybrid Niro, Optima SW diesel arrive

Published 19/10/2016 | 02:30

Hybrid: the new Kia offering.
Hybrid: the new Kia offering.
Kia's Niro

Amid all the talk of electric cars and greener futures, the real-world task of getting emissions down was starkly outlined this week.

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KIA Ireland chief James Brooks set out the dramatic cuts in emissions that will have to be met. Last year's brand average was 127g/km. By 2020 that will need to be 95g/km and 75g/km in 2025.

It's not just going to happen on its own, he warned. It needs government leadership and intervention. The whole area of emissions and how to reduce them (be it by electric cars, hybrids etc) is going to become more complex than ever before, he said.

But he appeared to hold little immediate hope of action as the government seems "so preoccupied with its own survival".

His frank comments came by way of introducing the company's new Niro petrol-hybrid SUV/Crossover. It is a first of its kind from KIA (new platform, drive-train) and emphasises how important hybrids are going to be to get those g/km figures down.

Prices start at €30,595 (€29,095 when the VRT rebate is factored in).

They are claiming emissions as low as 88g/km and 3.8l/100km.

It is an SUV that happens to be a hybrid too. It's smart, roomy and particularly well equipped - they don't do mega numbers of trim levels.

Powering it is a 1.6-litre direct injection petrol (105PS), lithium-ion battery pack and 32 kW electric motor; there is a 6spd double-clutch transmission.

Standard spec on the Irish EXL model includes leather, heated front seats, sat nav, dual air con, rain sensor, lane keep assist and Android Auto. A more detailed test-drive report will follow soon.

There will shortly be a second model, called Niro ADAS, which will add autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and 'smart' cruise control. Expect to see a lot more hybrids, plug-ins and electric vehicles from KIA.

But as we'll still be driving petrols and diesels for some time, they also unveiled their new Optima Sportwagon here this week. It will cost from €29,950 in EX guise. Standard spec includes dual zone air con, 18ins allows, 7ins sat nav with TomTom wifi, android auto and lane keep assist.

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