We tried out the new Kia Niro, a hybrid crossover that combines the somatic features of a Suv and roominess superior to a saloon, against the enchanting backdrop of Rapallo and the Ligurian riviera.

The balanced, linear design is convincing. The front is dominated by the great “Tiger Nose”, a hallmark feature of the Korean company’s models, and by stretched headlights that link up with the beltline. By contrast, the rear proposes horizontal lines in the interests of greater strength and muscularity while the dynamic, well-proportioned side is sculpted by flowing forms and embellished by chrome detailing.

The dashboard in the spaciously comfortable interiors is developed horizontally following the “dual zone” layout tested in the new Sportage. It offers all relevant information at a glance in the position most easily reachable by the driver. The instrumentation and centrally located 7-inch capacitive touch screen are to be found in the upper part known as the “display zone” while the underlying “control zone” accommodates the driver-oriented centre console. The high quality materials and painstaking finish make the cabin pleasantly warm and refined.

The vehicle’s parallel hybrid system can switch fully automatically from petrol to electric and whenever possible it will also use both systems at once to recharge the lithium-ion battery. The new Kia Niro is sprightly and a pleasure to drive, its fluidly flexible reactions guaranteeing an attractive driving experience, efficiency, quiet running and low fuel consumption.