When you decide to take on Toyota you must be pretty sure of yourself. But that is exactly what Kia have done and they have come out of it rather well.

Kia have dared to enter the private swimming pool of the hybrid market which up until now was almost a Toyota exclusive preserve.

Their new car is the Niro, their first petrol hybrid in the UK and one of the first mid size petrol hybrid SUVs in the UK as well. By and large they have done a good job.

But Kia is a company which is brimming with confidence. Last year they sold almost 90,000 new cars in the UK, a figure which is up by 14 per cent on the previous year.

And they have done that with a fleet of extremely good vehicles which just get better every time they refresh them.

Launched during the second half of last year the Niro contributed positively to the sales push and it established itself well among both retail and fleet customers.

Paul Philpott, Kia’s president and chief Executive said: “The new car market did well in 2016 – growing overall by two per cent, but I am proud that we have delivered 14 per cent growth in what has been a competitive market.

“Our dedicated 187-strong dealer network along with the attractive new products like the Niro continue to win new customers for the brand.

“We have more new products to come in 2017 – so although the market is expected to decline by around five per cent, I believe we are well-placed to continue our growth pattern towards our aim of 100,000 cars per year.”

Like all new Kia cars the Niro is a good looker and equally is a good operator like all the Toyota hybrids.

There is bags room inside with giant door bins front and rear and comfortable multi-adjustable seats.

Space in the back is adequate even for adults, while the boot is a perfectly decent 421 litres, expandable to 1425 litres with the rear seats folded flat.

Like all crossovers it has a fairly high load deck compared to hatchbacks It has the trust and tried 1.6GDI engine which puts out 105HP and 43.5HP from the electric motor. This gives a combined power of 140HP and 265Nm torque. Certainly pretty god considering the size of the vehicle.

There is a six speed double clutch transmission and there is new transmission-mounted electric drive which allows the power and torque of both petrol and electric motors to be transferred in parallel to the front wheels with minimal energy loss. So, with that 265Nm combined torque from just 1,000rpm, it is quite punchy.

The Niro just feels like any other car when you get behind the wheel particularly out of town, where it's easy to drive and extremely comfortable.

And there’s bags of kit which gives you autonomous emergency braking, blind spot detection, smart cruise control and rear cross traffic alert for backing out of parking spaces on the top level.

The Niro gives you 88g/km CO2 which means tax free on the licence front and around 75 mpg combined.

And being a hybrid it can operate on electricity alone at low speeds in traffic or when cruising at a steady speed.

It’s a typical suburban SUV where its green friendliness, fully automatic driving characteristics, good looks and decent quality trim are appreciated.

It is well priced against the Nissan Qashqai, the Honda HR-V and KIA’s own popular Sportage models which means you will pay between £21,300 and £27,000 depending on your choice of model.

There are four trim grades and two different models and course Kia have the best guarantee ticket in the world who will make sure your car is looked after for seven years when purchased from new.