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Motoring News

2020 KIA NIRO HYBRID

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2020 KIA NIRO HYBRID
2020 KIA NIRO HYBRID

2020 KIA NIRO HYBRID

By EWAN KENNEDY

Neat shape of the Kia Niro leans in the direction of SUV rather than wagon.

Kia is getting very serious about the future of electrical power in all of its vehicles. It offers its small-medium Niro SUV in full electric, plug-in hybrid and basic hybrid format.

Prices range from $65,990 for the full electric Sport all the way down to $39,990 for the basic Hybrid S. We have tested all three in recent weeks, unfortunately Covid19 severely restricted our movements so we will concentrate on the hybrid in this review it’s likely to be the biggest seller.

When things settle down, we may be able to test the others and do full reviews on them.

STYLING
Kia Niro has a neat shape that works well. There is, of course, the Tiger Nose grille, which in EV format isn’t really a grille, but rather a series of dimples. We aren’t sure we like it, but we’ll leave you to come up with your own thoughts.

The Hybrid and PHEV do have a large grille that melds nicely with the headlights and the openings in the lower bumper.

The sides have full length indentations on the doors, the rear is squared off nicely to maximise load carrying rather than to give a sleek tail. The slim D-pillars make for good sighting when reversing into a parking spot.

INTERIOR

2020 KIA NIRO HYBRID

2020 KIA NIRO HYBRID

Fit and finish is to a high quality and the materials look to be from a car in the next price range up.

There’s good space in the cabin thanks to the squared off shape and good leg and knee room in the front seats. The rear is setup for three but, as is usually the case, the centre seat is best left to a slim person. Three children works fine.

The widescreen digital instrument cluster sits inside a tall binnacle which is very much in the traditional manner – we like that.

POWERTRAIN
Kia Niro Hybrid has a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine and a 64kWh electric motor. It drives the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.

SAFETY
All models have seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, radar cruise control, tyre pressure monitors, rear camera and parking sensors.

It has not been rated by ANCAP at this time.

DRIVING

2020 KIA NIRO HYBRID

2020 KIA NIRO HYBRID

Niro’s suspension is set up for Europe, where it has been on sale for several years. Australian drivers tend to lean in the direction of Europeans rather than Koreans or Americans so it’s likely to suit most drivers here. Tell your car salesman that you want to take it for a decent test drive to see if it fills your needs.

The steering was rather lighter than we like but feedback is good. It turns in well and follows the direction of the bends without any real need for correction.

Braking to charge the battery can be adjusted via the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. We like to put as much energy back into the battery as possible so we let the car do most of the braking. It can’t quite be driven as a one pedal car, but comes close to it.

Ride comfort is good and the car is generally very quiet. Some rough roads (sealed, not dirt) bounce it more than we like, but that’s all part of the endless comfort/handling compromise.

SUMMING UP
Kia Niro Hybrid is an impressive car at a realistic price. It does its bit to save the planet and we like that. Frankly we would rather buy the Hybrid rather than the Niro full electric as it costs far less – sorry about that planet…

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
Niro 1.6 S Hybrid: $39,990
Niro 1.6 Sport Hybrid: $43,890
Niro 1.6 S Plug-In Hybrid: $46,590
Niro 1.6 Sport Plug-In Hybrid: $50,490
Niro Electric S: $62,590
Niro Electric Sport: $65,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Niro 1.6 Sport Hybrid petrol/electrc five-door wagon)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 1.580 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 77 kW @ 5700 rpm
Maximum Torque: 147 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 4.4 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 101 g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4355 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
Width: 1805 mm
Height: 1545 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1444 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Seven years / unlimited kilometres

Motoring News

2022 FORD MUSTANG CALIFORNIA SPECIAL ADDS EXCITEMENT

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2022 FORD MUSTANG CALIFORNIA SPECIAL

2022 FORD MUSTANG CALIFORNIA SPECIAL ADDS EXCITEMENT

The blacked-out grille on this Mustang Special pays respect to the original Mustang.

2022 FORD MUSTANG CALIFORNIA SPECIAL

The blacked-out grille on this Mustang Special pays respect to the original Mustang.

Based on the 2022 Mustang GT fastback and convertible models, the latest California Special Appearance Package pays respect to the original version’s blacked-out grille, lower bodyside accent stripe and rear fender scoop.

The heritage-inspired GT/CS side stripe trademark traces from the front guards to the signature rear scoop. A California Special badge in Ebony Black and Race Red script decorates the bootlid, while the honeycomb grille with GT/CS badge provides a unique look.

A performance rear wing is available for the fastback model, while spoiler delete is standard for the California Special convertible.

The California Special wears new design five-spoke 19-inch painted machined wheels. Interior appointments include rich black Miko suede door trim inserts and suede-trimmed seats with the embossed “GT/CS” logo and red contrast stitching.

The instrument panel is finished in carbon hex aluminium with a signature California Special script badge on the passenger side.

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2021 PORSCHE TAYCAN TURBO S

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2021 PORSCHE TAYCAN TURBO S

2021 PORSCHE TAYCAN TURBO S


By EWAN KENNEDY

BODY COPY
The German car makers are all very serious about the need to lower the emissions of greenhouse gases, so are working hard on reducing them by designing electric vehicles. As a high-performance marque Porsche is one of the leaders in the field.

Hence the introduction of the all-electric Taycan high-performance sedan – yes sedan, this is a four-door family car, not a two-door coupe.

Porsche tells us the name Taycan is composed of two terms of Turkic origin and can be roughly translated as “soul of a spirited young horse.” Porsche tells us its first fully-electric model will be: “lively, impetuous, vigorous, light-footed on long stretches without tiring, and free-spirited.”

Okay, this may sound like a bit of over-blown waffle to we down-to-earth Aussies, but once we drove it, we did tend to agree with the way the Porsche Taycan felt. See our comments on this in the Driving segment of this report.

STYLING
Taycan looks slightly odd at the front to my eyes, with its slightly bulbous “bonnet” and the vertical lines beside the headlights. Beauty is of course in the eyes of the beholder and others may love it.

I reckon the rear is much better from a styling point of view, with a swooping coupe-like tail and a large black sunroof which merges beautifully with the black glass of the rear window.

INTERIOR

2021 PORSCHE TAYCAN TURBO S Interior

2021 PORSCHE TAYCAN TURBO S Interior

There’s a very wide dash array, with three screens. The one in front of the driver is large and contains plenty of information on the Taycan’s state of play. The centre screen gives access to numerous features, including speed, current power consumption, distance to empty, navigation and temperature control.

The left screen is in front of the passenger and lets them keep an eye on the map to assist with navigation.

There more space inside than you might expect, partly due to the fact that it’s almost five metres long. There’s seating for four and those in the back won’t have to ask those in front of them to give up any of their space. However, tall people in the back might brush against the roof.

The front seats are heated and cooled and are nicely shaped to support without being too aggressive.

INFOTAINMENT
A 14-speaker Bose audio provides excellent output and we found it easy to adjust it to our preferences.

POWERTRAIN
There are two electric motors one at the front the other at the rear. The front has a 175kW/400Nm on the Turbo S, the rear provides up to 335kW and 550Nm when it’s over boosted to give even more grunt.

The range of the Turbo S is rated as 390 to 416 kilometres by Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure.

As a strong selling point the Taycan in Australia is that it comes with a free three-year Chargefox subscription.

SAFETY
Porsche Taycan was awarded a five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP in 2019.

DRIVING

2021 PORSCHE TAYCAN TURBO S Interior

2021 PORSCHE TAYCAN TURBO S Interior

We have always enjoyed the way electric powered vehicles leap off the line and have tremendous torque – but the Taycan is something else again. Zero to 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds!

The first time I did it my head was thumped back into the headrest and my neck felt strained. I didn’t make that mistake again, making sure it was against the headrest – thereby avoiding the neck strain and enjoying to the full the dragster-like performance.

Back when I was a young fella road testing high-performance cars in the 1970s anything under six seconds to 60mph (97 km/h) and quicker than 15 seconds for the quarter mile was the goal. And that need a large hot V8.

This electric Porsche is well under three seconds to 100 km/h, and single figures for the quarter mile. How times have changed.

On the road Taycan has clever electronics to assist cornering by feeding just the right torque front and rear and side to side. You can feel it happening but we didn’t have access to a race track to test it to the limits. Maybe some other time…

Comfort is good for a high-performance car and keep in mind that this is a four-door sedan not a two-door sports coupe. On some surfaces there a fair bit of tyre noise, on others it’s as peaceful as any upmarket mid-size luxury vehicle.

THE FIRST PORSCHE ELECTRIC CAR

Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton

Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton

The Taycan isn’t the first Porsche electric car. In 1898 Ferdinand Porsche designed the Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton. The vehicle was powered by an octagonal electric motor with three to five horsepower. It had a top speed of 25 km/h.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
Taycan RWD sedan: $156,300
Taycan 4S AWD sedan: $194,700
Taycan Turbo AWD sedan: $276,300
Taycan Turbo S AWD sedan: $345,800
Taycan Cross 4 Turismo: $176,600
Taycan Cross 4S Turismo: $205,300
Taycan Cross Turbo Turismo: $279,000
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Porsche dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Porsche Taycan electric four-door sedan)

ENGINE:
Capacity: Not applicable
Configuration: Not applicable
Maximum Power: 560 kW
Maximum Torque: 1050 Nm
Fuel Type: Not applicable
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): L/100km
CO2 Emissions: g/km

DRIVELINE: Two-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4963 mm
Wheelbase: 2900 mm
Width: 1966 mm
Height: 1378 mm
Turning Circle: Not supplied
Kerb Mass: 2295 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: Not applicable litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Three years / unlimited kilometres

RATINGS
Looks: 7/10
Performance: 10/10
Safety: 9/10
Thirst : 6/10 **
Practicality: 8/10
Comfort: 8/10
Tech: 9/10
Value: 7/10

** Note that we have rated Thirst low because its range is well under that of a conventional car.

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KIA’S FIRST PURE ELECTRIC VEHICLE IS UNDER TEST DOWNUNDER

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KIA'S FIRST PURE ELECTRIC VEHICLE IS UNDER TEST DOWNUNDER

KIA’S FIRST PURE ELECTRIC VEHICLE IS UNDER TEST DOWNUNDER

By EWAN KENNEDY

Slim front bold tail are an indication of the future of all-electric Kias.

Kia’s first dedicated BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) has been subjected to Kia Australia’s rigorous Ride and Handling Program.

The company’s Australia’s Ride and Handling Engineer, Graeme Gambold, who has localised the ride of over 50 Kia models during the last 10 years, came away astonished by the performance of the EV6.

“I just love driving the Kia EV6, it’s a car that just wants corners. It is so engaging and so rewarding to drive.

“Personally, as a chassis dynamist, I think the biggest part of that enjoyment is the width of the battery in the car. A typical ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle has an engine and a drivetrain that has a high centre of gravity but it’s all in the centre of the vehicle therefore it works like a moment in roll. But with a dedicated BEV, it has a big flat battery in it, so it has to lift the energy on the inside to actually upset the car, creating a very flat roll dynamic. This makes the EV6 feel very light, nimble and responsive.”

KIA'S FIRST PURE ELECTRIC VEHICLE IS UNDER TEST DOWNUNDER

Australia’s Ride and Handling Engineer, Graeme Gambold

“One of the things we are always tuning for in Australia is large body movements on country roads at 100 km/h and that is always manifested with a high centre of gravity roll dynamic in conventional cars. Electric cars don’t have as much of that, they have a lot of vertical movement, because of the weight but they don’t have the lateral roll, so we can use that as a bit of a tuning tool.” Graeme explained.

General Manager of Product at Kia Australia, Roland Rivero, is very proud of Kia Australia’s commitment to its Local Ride & Handling Program.

“Our local tuning program is part of our DNA and a key component to Kia’s success in Australia. We’ve aimed to inject a fun-to-drive character in our products, but most importantly give drivers the feeling of control and confidence when driving a Kia in a variety of conditions.” said Rivero.

Kia EV6 is the first dedicated Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) produced by Kia using the all-new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) and forms the first part of Kia’s transition to the new era of electrification under the new brand slogan, ‘Movement that inspires’.

EV6 is the first of 11 new BEV models due from Kia arriving by 2026 with seven built on E-GMP architecture and four derivative EVs based on existing models.

2022 KIA EV6

Along with the EV6, the Concept EV9 represents the brand’s recent leadership in designing and developing desirable, high-tech, zero-emissions vehicles and recently set out its vision to become a truly sustainable, responsible, and innovative mobility solutions leader, announcing a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

Around 500 units of the EV6 have been earmarked for Australia during 2022 and the allocation will be staggered throughout the year. Kia Australia says it’s in continuous dialogue with head office about this number with hopes of increasing it.

The EV6 will be sold through the Kia dealer network and over 90 per cent of the Kia dealer network is currently set up to sell and service EV6.

Kia EV6 will initially be introduced in Australia with the long-range (77.4 kWh) high-voltage battery pack only and offered in two grades; base in rear-wheel drive only and GT-Line with RWD or all-wheel drive AWD options, the latter offering enhanced dynamic capability in even the most challenging conditions.

The performance ‘GT’ version of the EV6 with follow in late 2022 or early 2023.

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