Base Price: $23,785
Engine: 1.6-liter inline-4,
Power: 104 hp, 109 lb-ft; permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, 43 hp, 125 lb-ft; combined output, 139 hp, 195 lb-ft; 1.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode
Curb Weight: 3108 lb
0-60: 8.6 sec
MPG: 52 City 48 Highway
Roomy Yet Efficient:
When you think hybrid, I guarantee your mind will jump to Toyota Prius. The fact is that Toyota has been leading the hybrid car pack for over ten years. Up until recently, it was the only logical hybrid option because other hybrid vehicles just couldn’t match the efficiency of the Prius. Chevy, Ford, Hyundai and KIA have only just recently made worthy attempts at drawing buyers into their own ideas of the hybrid vehicle. Hyundai and KIA have both done fantastic jobs recently with the releases of the Hyundai Ioniq and the KIA Niro. The Niro is very fuel efficient and offers a lot of space for passengers and cargo. It’s a direct aim towards the Prius V; the largest, most SUV-like Prius. I find the Niro to be better looking and even more efficient than the Prius V. We observed 54 city and 42 Highway in the Niro, while the Prius V is rated at 43 city and 39 highway. In addition, the V has a starting price of over three thousand more. I'd say this is a win for KIA.
Lots of Features:
KIA has always offered a lot of features for the price of the vehicle, and the Niro is no exception. A key feature is smart cruise control which adapts to your driving environment by automatically applying the brakes or accelerator to maintain a predetermined distance from the vehicle in front of you. A forward collision warning system is also available, giving audible and visual alerts when it detects a potential hazard in your path. Another favorite of mine is the lane departure warning system, which helps you stay the course by monitoring the position of your Niro and alerting you if you drift from your lane without signaling. That’s a lot of great tech to help keep you safe. I found all of the systems worked well and can help a lot when making long drives.
The Niro drives exactly like you’d expect it to: direct and numb steering. It has a soft ride but the suspension could do a better job at tuning out large bumps in the road. The engine is a bit too noisy at highway speeds and while the 8-speed automatic transmission is pretty good, it can get confused on which gear to choose at low speeds. I’m still happy they went with an automatic transmission over a CVT. This car feels most at home in the city, offering a fair amount of torque/thrust off the line and a tight turning radius for easy maneuverability in the city.
That Cool Gauge Display:
Even the most bare-bones model includes a touch-screen with Apple/Android Car Play which is a great feature at this price point, plus the driver will be greeted by a cool gauge display. Besides that, the interior is pretty basic. The seats are less than comfortable and hard plastic lines the dashboard and door-panels.