The Kia Niro is a hybrid crossover with room for five, and it’s Kia’s first dedicated hybrid-only model. Handsome and accomplished, the Niro impresses with its versatile interior and outstanding fuel economy.
Kia Niro Overview
The Kia Niro debuted for the 2017 model year, and this front-wheel-drive hybrid shares the same platform underpinning the Hyundai Ioniq. The Kia Niro is a subcompact crossover, but despite its petite footprint, it offers a roomy cabin and good cargo capacity.
Its face has the brand’s familiar tiger-shark nose, and this is teamed with upswept headlamps to create a wing-like front fascia. The lower grille opening features available fog lamps and distinctive boomerang-shaped air pockets at the corners.
The Niro’s profile features a sloping roofline, a high beltline and pronounced wheel arches. Character lines and body sculpting lend texture and movement to the vehicle’s sheet metal. In back there’s rear privacy glass, a rear spoiler and wraparound taillights.
The seats are as comfortable as you’ll find in this class and come covered in leather, cloth or a combination of both. Behind the front bucket seats is a 60/40 split-folding bench seat that is ideal for two adults or three children. Instrumentation and driver controls are clear and easy to understand.
A four-cylinder engine joins forces with an electric motor to power the Niro. Total output stands at 139 horsepower. Most hybrids employ continuously variable transmissions, but the Niro breaks the mold with its standard six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The payoff for this unusual transmission choice is handling that feels more engaging than that of the typical hybrid. Both off-the-mark acceleration and passing power are adequate. Due to their regenerative braking, most hybrids have a squishy brake feel, but this isn’t the case with the Niro. This model’s brakes feel firm and decisive.
Standard equipment includes a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, an infotainment system and USB ports. Optional equipment includes navigation, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a premium audio system.
The Niro competes with a number of hybrid vehicles, including the Toyota Prius c, Ford C-Max and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. The Niro is a competitive choice in this segment thanks to its strong fuel economy, impressive style and capable utility.