2022 Kia Niro Hybrid swaggers back with bold design and competitive pricing

Derryn Wong
2022 Kia Niro Hybrid launch - CarBuyer Singapore - car at launch event

The Kia Niro Hybrid SUV returns to Singapore retaining its Cat A COE, but has a funky new design and a whole lot of improvements and equipment


The crowded, hot, and sweaty, small hybrid SUV segment just got hotter with the debut of the new second-generation Kia Niro in Singapore today. For an overview of what’s new about the Niro, you can read our international announcement story for more details.

We go hands on with awalkthrough of the 2022 Kia Niro Hybrid

Hit up our full gallery of images of the new Kia Niro EX and SX here

2022 Kia Niro Hybrid SX launch - CarBuyer Singapore - car static front shot
Kia Niro Hybrid SX

Pricing and model range

2022 Kia Niro Hybrid SX launch - CarBuyer Singapore - car at launch event

Unveiled at the Kia Singapore showroom on 239 Alexandra Road, the second-gen Niro is now on sale in petrol-electric hybrid form with a price of S$153,999 with COE for the EX, and the SX at
$168,999 with COE.

S$157,900 with COE for the entry-level EX model. The pricing for the higher-spec SX model – differences explained below – is TBC, but is expected to be around S$165+k with COE.

The Niro is also available as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and a fully-electric vehicle (EV) with 200hp, abroad. According to Kia Singapore, only the EV model will be available in Singapore in the near future, as a PHEV model would be too expensive. That’s because PHEVs do not receive the Early EV adoption rebate.

2022 Kia Niro Hybrid launch - CarBuyer Singapore - Kia Niro Hybrid EX
This EX model is shown in Cityscape Green
Kia Niro first generationKia Niro SG2 second generation
L W H (mm)4355 x 1805 x 1545 4420 x 1825 x 1545 
WB (mm) 27002720
Hybrid System power 130hp / 265Nm (est) 130hp / 270Nm (est)
Engine 1.6-litre 130hp /170Nm1.6-litre 130hp / 144Nm
Battery capacity / type1.56kWh lithium ion 1.32kWh lithium ion
0-100km/h11.5 seconds10.4 seconds 
Top Speed164km/h165km/h

New design and new bones 

From left to right:
Dawn Pan – Director, Multi-franchise Operations at Cycle & Carriage Singapore
Joey Hong – Sales Coordinating Director of Kia APAC
Wilfrid Foo – Managing Director, Direct Motor Interests, Jardine Cycle & Carriage
Ted Lee – President and CEO of Kia APAC

The new Niro is incrementally longer, wider, and has more space between the wheels, although it remains the same height. The new car runs on the third-gen K platform from Hyundai Group, which the Hyundai Avante is also based on, and Kia says the new underpinnings allow improved refinement and handling, with torsional strength up 22 percent, and weight of the body-in-white cut by 20kg.

More obvious is the fact that it’s wearing totally new clothes, taking many cues from the Kia Habaniro concept car, as well as other, newer production models such as the Kia EV6 (which is still due for a Q4 2022 launch) and the Kia Sportage. 

Niro Hybrid EX

It’s now the polar opposite of the first-gen car, whose image was the weakest point in an otherwise capable, affordable hybrid SUV. Since there is an EV version, the Niro co-opts EV-esque styling with a smoothed out upper front section and flat, horizontal styling elements that make it appear wide and sleek. Kia dubs this new mien Tiger Face, as opposed to the previous Tiger Grille styling cue.

2022 Kia Niro Hybrid SX launch - CarBuyer Singapore -rear shot of car

The sides feature contrast fenders – half body-coloured too – and connect to a dark segment which ends before the rear wheels. Abroad, the Niro has a contrast C-pillar segment that adds lots of visual flair. The cars on show do not have that element, but Kia Singapore says it is a cost option.The C-pillar also has a slightly hidden, cool feature: It has an aerodynamic pass-through vent, which reduced drag. 

2022 Kia Niro Hybrid launch - CarBuyer Singapore -C-pillar aero

Hybrid version only, for now

2022 Kia Niro Hybrid launch - CarBuyer Singapore - 1.6-litre engine hybrid
1.6-litre GDI Smartstream engine, total hybrid output 130hp

The Niro is powered primarily by a 1,580cc inline four-cylinder engine with direct injection, one of the latest from Hyundai Group’s Smartstream family, paired to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. One interesting engineering fact is that the car doesn’t have a reverse gear: It’s managed entirely by the electric motor, and saves 2.3kg in the process.

2022 Kia Niro Hybrid launch - CarBuyer Singapore - EX model gearshifter
Niro EX showing the conventional gearshifter

Abroad, the Niro has 141hp from the engine, and 32kW from the motor, but it’s been downtuned to meet Cat A regulations here, so it makes a system power of 130hp/144Nm. More interestingly the new and old Niro both have the same fuel efficiency (4.0L/100km) and VES rating (A2, a S$15k rebate), but we suspect the aero improvements and tech updates will mean the new car is more efficient in real life. We’ll take extra note of these points in our test drive of the car to come. 

2022 Kia Niro Hybrid launch - CarBuyer Singapore - EX model rear seat

Hybrid efficiency isn’t the only green-er thing about the new car, as Kia says it took steps to increase the sustainability of the car inside too. The car’s headliner is made of recycled wallpaper, while the door panels are done in paint free of harmful volatile organic compounds (a component of air pollution). The pleather seats also contain Tencel from gum trees, while the foldable cargo screen is made of 75 recycled fabric.

Interior, Standard equipment for EX and SX extras

2022 Kia Niro Hybrid launch - CarBuyer Singapore -front cockpit steering wheel
Interior of the EX – note the gearshifter and smaller digital driver’s display

Kia almost always sets a precedent by offering a decent amount of standard equipment in its base EX models, and the new Niro is no different.

A significant new addition, which is standard, has to be Kia Connect Lite, the app for your phone you can use to control and monitor your car – we’ve a full story on the features of the system. In the car there is also the 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus a new design touch-bar for media and climate controls.

2022 Kia Niro Hybrid launch - CarBuyer Singapore - Kia Connect Lite

Both versions have 16-inch wheels, keyless go, drive modes (Eco, Sport), auto wipers/headlights, dual-zone climate control, the same new design Kia steering wheel with remote controls. Standard safety features are eight airbags, lane keeping assist, forward collision avoidance assist (AEB), a reverse camera.

In typical Kia fashion, the SX model also packs a lot of the juiciest features, so buyers will certainly be tempted to shell out the approximately S$10,000 premium.

Exterior: Full LED headlamps, sunroof, roof rack
Interior: 10.25-inch driver’s display, scuff plates and aluminium pedals, ambient lighting, ‘chopped carbon’ door and interior trim, shift-by-wire rotary gearshifter. Heated/ventilated powered front seats, wireless smartphone charger, automatic tailgate, second-row air-con vent.
Safety: Blind spot collision avoidance, rear cross traffic alert/avoidance, safe exit assist, adaptive cruise control.m 

The Robert De Niro’s History 

First-gen Kia Niro was available here as a hybrid or as an EV (above)

First debuting in 2016, the Kia Niro was facelifted in 2019 and saw its popularity take off thanks to the timely reduction in horsepower down to 130hp, which met Category A regulations. Then, its key competition were the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq hybrid hatchbacks, so the Niro made bank by being the one of the few mainstream hybrids at an affordable price point, and one of the only SUVs in that segment too. The Kia Niro EV debuted a little later, but showed itself to be equally competent, being one of the first EVs we tested with a range comfortably exceeding 300km.

While the ensuing three years have seen a slew of mild and full hybrid competition, the Niro looks well-equipped (literally and figuratively) to take on the small SUV segment. 


hev Hybrid Kia niro petrol electric small suv SUV

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. Previously, he was the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. He's contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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