Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
Base MSRP: From $28,500
- LX – From $28,500
- EX – From $32,100
- EX Premium – From $35,200
Destination Charge: $995
Tax Credit: up to $4,543
EPA Range: 26 electric miles, 560 total
Battery: 8.9 kWh 360 V Lithium Polymer
Charging Acceptance Rate: 3.3 kW
Reviews of the Kia Niro
Performance: 1.6-liter Atkinson cycle inline-4, 104 horsepower; 1.6-liter, four-cylinder hybrid; 139 horsepower
Mileage estimate: 99-110 mpg (electric mode); 40-52 mpg
Price estimate: $24,300 to $32,700; $28,900 (plug-in hybrid)
Warranty: 5 years / 60,000 miles
Drivetrain warranty: 10 years / 100,000 miles
Roadside assistance: 5 years/ 60,000 miles
Corrosion warranty: 5 years / 100,000 miles
Kia Niro adds EV model for 2018
There’s only one major change for the 2018 Kia Niro. But it’s a huge one.
Following a successful debut early last year, the folks at Kia added a plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV) to the 2018 Niro.
A compact crossover sport utility vehicle, the Niro doesn’t have a huge range – 26 miles is the maximum mileage in EV mode. But that does extend the Niro’s overall range to around 600 miles in combined gas/electric. And the 26-mile range could last a couple of days for drivers who don’t venture too far. Equivalent gas mileage ranges from 99-110 mpg in EV mode.
The Niro doesn’t make a big production of letting everyone know it’s an EV. It has small blue aero accents in the front and an eco/plug-in badge that resides in the rear. The charging port door is somewhat obscure as well, located on the left-front fender.
The battery is located under the back seat. It’s a 360-volt lithium-ion polymer battery that weighs 258 pounds and has an energy rating of 8.9 kilowatts. The Niro comes with a 110-volt charger that takes nine hours. With a 240-volt charger the time is much less – 2.5 hours.
Even without PHEV availability, the Niro had a good first year with U.S. sales of 27,237 in 2017. One of its main rivals, the Hyundai Ioniq with EV capability, had sales of just 11,197 a year ago. And the Niro’s first-year sales were still better than the top year that the Honda Insight ever had in the U.S.
The all-new Niro is certainly a competitor for the Prius, the larger Prius V, and other gas-saving vehicles like the Ford C-Max, Ford Fusion hybrid, Hyundai Ioniq or even Toyota RAV4 hybrid. When one looks at a Niro it appears to be a more normal-looking vehicle than the Prius, which has the unimaginative outward appearance of a hybrid built primarily for one reason – to run as efficiently as possible.
Depending on the source, the regular Prius gets an estimated 50-54 mpg. The Niro is not far behind. The basic model (FE) gets approximately 49-52 mpg. The mileage dips to 40-46 mpg for the Niro Touring model.
The Niro EV has a 1.6-liter Atkinson cycle inline-4 that will generate 104 horsepower and 109 pound-feet of torque. It’s been clocked going 0-60 mph in 10 seconds, which is only about a second slower than the other Niro models.
The engine shifting is smooth and rather fast, adding to the drivability of the Niro. It handles challenging turns very well, is fairly quiet, and the braking is responsive.
The Niro interior receives high marks. It has ample space – head and leg room – for driver and four passengers. The doors are wide and easy to enter and exit. We love that the door handles and center armrest are made of soft material and add to the Niro’s overall comfort. Kia smartly kept the hard surfaces for the dash.
There is 19.4 cubic-feet of space in the back area that expands to 54.5 cubic feet when the 60-40 rear seat folds down flatly. The Niro employs Kia’s UVO system that oversees the navigational and multimedia system. Unlike some systems, this one is relatively easy to master.
Not only is the Niro a gas-saver, it also features a stylish exterior, smartly designed interior, and provides a pleasant ride. It enjoyed a good first year in sales and adding PHEV capability will likely increase those numbers for 2018.