In my last article (Hybrids – are they just a tax dodge?), I wrote about how a plug in hybrid vehicle (part electric and part diesel or petrol) can look great on paper for tax reasons but can end up costing a company more in fuel if not used as designed.

But there are hybrids that don’t require the change of habits needed by a plug in as they use the brakes and combustion engine to charge the battery.  Until this week I had never driven one so decided to put that right and went for a test in the newest of them all, the Kia Niro, which is their latest SUV, which had only just arrived at the dealership and I was the first to test drive it.

Of course, driving pleasure is very subjective but I thought it was excellent.  It’s very quiet and smooth, and you don’t really notice the petrol engine kicking in.  There’s a tree graphic on the screen that turns green as you drive economically which I imagine can become a bit of an obsession but a positive one as it encourages more economical and calmer driving.

But the conversation with the salesman was interesting as I asked him if the car was a better proposition than the bigger Sportage in diesel format (there’s no Sportage hybrid currently) and he told me that, in his opinion, the Sportage would almost always work out to be cheaper to buy (the price is lower) and cheaper overall to run even though officially it’s 13mpg down on the smaller Niro.  He said the Niro might work out better for drivers that mainly stay under 40mph in town but on the motorway, where the petrol engine takes over, the diesel Sportage would win out.

So I did the figures when I got back.  Based on mileage of 10,000 per year the leasing rate for the Sportage is around £20 per month lower.  Assuming both achieve the government’s official mpg (very unlikely but allows a basic comparison) the Sportage driver will pay, at current rates, around £12 per month more on fuel.  The Niro also seems to be a group lower for insurance so overall there’s probably not much in it.  There’s zero road tax for the Niro but the lease rate incorporates this element anyway.

Which is the better deal currently?  Well, the Sportage is bigger for the same money and probably much cheaper to run if there’s plenty of motorway usage.  The Niro might win for urban users but, unlike the plug ins, it’s not exempt from London’s congestion charge.

So for now, the bad, old traditional diesel engine is probably still best.  But maybe not for long as hybrid technology, whether plug in or not, is progressing very fast as is pure battery power and other systems such as hydrogen.  Your next lease vehicle will probably therefore be a diesel but perhaps it will be your last.

If you’d like to know more about how leasing works and how it could work for you, please get in touch.  If you think others would be interested in this post, please share it.

Matt Spivey

Vehicle Leasing Neva Consultants
Left the corporate world in 2013 after ten years at Vodafone and now specialising in car and van leasing with Neva Consultants.Serial networker and member of BNI Wakefield Wealthbuilders, 4Networking and The TradesHub Academy South Yorkshire.

Latest posts by Matt Spivey (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.