Buyers looking for something a little different than a Toyota Prius may want to consider the Kia Niro hatchback. In traditional hybrid form, the Niro is fuel efficient and can travel far on a tank of gas, although it comes with a few major drawbacks. The cute, wannabe-SUV is also available as a plug-in hybrid and a long-range electric vehicle.
Kia has announced several tech upgrades for the Niro Hybrid and Niro PHEV.
Practicality is the hallmark of the Kia Niro Hybrid. It's not quick, and frankly, it's not fun to drive thanks to its clunky transmission and mushy brakes. But if your main priority is strong fuel economy and range, the Kia Niro delivers. The traditional hybrid can go more than 500 miles on a single tank of gas, making it a frugal road-tripper. Despite the Niro's small size, it offers a good amount of space for rear passengers and a surprising amount of cargo room with the rear seats folded—you can stack boxes up high in the back. At one point during our year with the Niro, the hatchback proved highly capable on moving-day duty.
Year after year, Kia keeps improving the Niro's technology. The model's available 10.3-inch touchscreen looks sharp and is easy to use. The car integrates seamlessly with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. And for 2021, a wireless version of those phone-mirroring technologies are now standard.
The Kia Niro succeeds at its intended purpose: getting people from point A to point B while using as little fuel as possible and keeping passengers comfortable. Just don't expect it to be a sporty, canyon-carving hatch, or offer AWD.
As a traditional hybrid, the FWD Kia Niro combines a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and 1.56 kilowatt-hour battery to produce a total of 139 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. In our tests, the Niro reached 60 mph in 9.2 seconds. That's pretty slow, although a comparable Toyota Prius is even slower. Fuel economy on the Niro Hybrid tops out at 53/48 mpg city/highway on the base model. LXS and EX Premium trims get 51/46 mpg while Touring and Touring SE models deliver 46/40 mpg. The Prius may be slower, but keep in mind it does offer better fuel economy.
The PHEV makes the same power output as the hybrid Niro, but uses a bigger 8.9 kilowatt-hour battery. Drivers who have short commutes may find this variant particularly attractive—it can travel 26 miles on electric power alone.
The 2021 Kia Niro Hybrid earned an overall four-star rating in NHTSA crash tests. This includes four stars in the front crash category, five stars in the side crash category, and four stars in the rollover category. The Niro earns three stars in the front crash passenger side subcategory; NHTSA noted this test indicated a higher likelihood of chest injury.
In IIHS testing, the Niro Hybrid and Niro PHEV earned Good scores in all crash tests. Ease of use for the LATCH child seat anchor system is rated Acceptable.
Available safety features include lane keep assist, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, high beam assist, and adaptive cruise control. New for 2021, navigation-based adaptive cruise control with a curve assist function is standard on higher-trim models.
The Niro Hybrid and PHEV offers 19.4 cubic feet of space behind the second row, or 54.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. This expands to 22.4/63.2 cubic feet without luggage under the cargo tray. Compare that to the Toyota Prius, which offers 27.4 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 50.7 cubic feet with the seats down.
The Niro comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen. For 2021, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. A 10.3-inch touchscreen with navigation is available. Buyers can also upgrade from the standard six-speaker audio system to a Harman Kardon eight-speaker sound system. A 7.0-inch LCD instrument cluster is also available.
Prices vary widely depending on the specific model you choose. The base LX Hybrid starts at around $25,000, while the top trim EX Premium commands almost $33,000. If you pick the Niro PHEV, you're looking at a starting price of around $30,000, although prices can reach north of $36,500 for high-end models.
|$0||0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models.||07-06-2021|
|$0||0.9% Financing for a maximum term of 66 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models.||07-06-2021|
|$0||1.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models.||07-06-2021|
|$0||2.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 75, 84 Months - Kia announces special APR Financing on select models.||07-06-2021|
|$400||Kia announces a Bonus Cash on select models for eligible military personnel.||06-30-2021|
|$1500||Kia announces Customer Cash on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||07-06-2021|
|$1000||Kia announces a Trade-In Assistance program on select models.||07-06-2021|