Long-term test: Kia Niro

Long-term test: Kia Niro
Long-term test: Kia Niro

Photoshoot drains the Kia’s battery and draws in the rescue services

Photography is an essential part of any road test. When a car joins the long-term test fleet, it’s shot not once but several times during its stay, with the two key shoots being on its arrival and departure.

The action part of our Niro’s ‘arrival’ shoot was carried out on the public roads as usual, but for better control of lighting (and to avoid annoying other road users) the static interior detail pics were taken in our purpose-built studio.

While our snapper Will buzzed around the Kia doing his thing, the car’s lights were left on (with the ignition off) for maybe thirty minutes. It turned out to be too much for the 12V battery. Will noticed that the dashboard display was showing a ‘brake error’ message. More worryingly, the car wouldn’t start.

By giving the Niro a little time to gather up some energy, Will succeeded in rolling it out of the studio, but the interior lights and other electrically-driven features like the door locks were acting up. Eventually all the electrical systems died, and with some uncertainty about the wisdom of bump-starting a hybrid playing on his mind (quite rightly, because that can be a dangerous procedure, hybrid owners need to check their manuals) Will opted for discretion over valour and called Kia.

They arranged for the Niro to be picked up by the RAC for a professional diagnosis. Kia later updated us with the news that the 12V battery was indeed drained. After a recharge, no more problems were flagged up by Kia’s diagnostics system.

Back on the road again, we’re gradually working out the tricks for efficient hybrid motoring: using the regenerative brakes to recycle friction energy back into the battery, judging the switchover point between fully electric and electric/petrol engine power, and generally trying to maximise the fuel consumption, which is currently standing at a not massively impressive 45.6mpg. A few upcoming motorway runs should boost it a bit.

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