Kia Niro PHEV
Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
Base MSRP: From $29,600 to $36,500
- LXS – From $29,600
- EX – From $33,290
- EX Premium – From $36,390
Tax Credit: up to $4,543
EPA Range: 105 mpge (electric mode); 44-48 mpg (overall)
Battery: 8.9 kWh 360 V Lithium Polymer
Charging Acceptance Rate: 3.3 kW
Reviews of the Kia Niro PHEV
Performance: electric motor, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder hybrid, 139 horsepower
Mileage estimate: 105 mpge (electric mode); 44-48 mpg (overall)
Price estimate: $29,600 to $36,500
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
2020 Kia Niro Plug-in Electric Hybrid
Following a successful debut three years ago as a pure hybrid, the folks at Kia went a step further, adding a plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV) to the mix in 2018. Seeking even more reasons to purchase a Niro, Kia added an alluring all-electric version in 2019, making the SUV about as green as a vehicle can get.
Introduced in 2017, the five-passenger Kia Niro has managed to wedge its way into a crowded field of subcompacts (note that some auto folks classify the Niro as a hatchback). And frankly, considering its great diversity, we’re a little surprised the Niro hasn’t generated even more sales. First-year sales were 27,237, increased to 28,232 one year later, and stayed fairly close with 24,467 sold in 2019.
From an economic standpoint, the 2020 Kia Niro PHEV is a relative bargain. It’s near the top of the list in lowest priced PHEVs, starting at approximately $29,600. Like any vehicle, that price can quickly rise, and the Niro is no exception. A top-of-the-line model goes for around $36,500.
There will be no debate here regarding which version of the Niro is the best. They all have strengths and some inherent weaknesses as well. The focus here will be the Niro PHEV.
What hasn’t changed is the Niro’s electric range. It remains at 26 miles. While that figure pales in comparison to the Niro EV’s 239 miles, the PHEV version will typically get someone to work and back if the commute is not too sizable. The real plus is the Niro PHEV has a mileage estimate of 105 mpge (44-48 mpg overall), and can go 560 miles before its 11.4-gallon tank needs a refill.
Vehicle Performance and Speed
Performance is one area where the front-wheel drive Niro PHEV gets criticized. It employs a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s paired with an electric motor and combines to generate 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Overall, the Niro comes up short frequently in the power department. And when that takes place, the engine automatically comes on, hindering the Niro’s overall fuel efficiency. It reportedly goes 0-60 mph in 10 seconds.
The Niro PHEV delivers accurate steering and gives the driver a confident feeling of control. It handles challenging turns very well, is fairly quiet, and the braking is responsive. Standard safety features include lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention assist, and forward collision avoidance. There is no all-wheel drive option with any version of the Niro.
The Niro interior receives high marks. For a subcompact, the head and leg room are solid for all five passengers. We love that the door handles and center armrest are made of soft material and add to the Niro’s overall comfort. The digital display is easy to master, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration are standard.
There is 19.4 cubic-feet of space behind the second row expands to 54.5 cubic feet when the 60-40 rear seat folds down flatly. Kia has smartly hidden the battery under the rear seat so it doesn’t impact the cargo space.
Kia didn’t make an abundance of changes to the 2020 model, but it did alter both the exterior and interior design. All Niros come with a diamond-patterned grille, new headlights, LED running lights and wheel designs. The interior changes include a restyled 7-inch instrumental cluster and making the 8-inch touchscreen display standard.
The Niro PHEV utilizes an 8.9-kilowatt-hour battery pack that takes about 2.5 hours to be recharged with a Level 2 charger.
Kia has done a wonderful job with the Niro, providing three versions of this green machine. The plug-in electric hybrid delivers in many key areas like fuel efficiency and costs, making the Niro deserving of its high ranking among its primary competitors.
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.
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.
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.
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 to charge. With a 240-volt charger the time is much less – 2.5 hours.
Vehicle Power and Speed
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.
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.
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.
Interested in Kia BEV options? Check out the KIA Niro EV here!
2020 Kia Niro: 50 mpg hybrid gets upgraded interface, sharper look by Green Car Reports
2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid by Edmunds
For more manufacturer details on this vehicle visit: www.kia.com
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