Buyer's Guide

2021 Kia Niro
Select a Different Model (8 Available): EX Premium Hatchback
Fuel Economy $ 51 / 46 mpg
Horsepower 139@5,700
Torque 195@4,000
See All Specs
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2021 Kia Niro MODEL OVERVIEW

Pros

  • Offered as a hybrid, plug-in, and EV
  • Intuitive infotainment, big touchscreen
  • Inexpensive and practical

Cons

  • Road noise on the highway
  • Clunky dual-clutch transmission
  • Mushy brake feel

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.

What's New

Kia has announced several tech upgrades for the Niro Hybrid and Niro PHEV.

  • 8.0-inch touchscreen comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Standard rear occupant alert
  • Models with navigation receive MapCare program with 10 years of complimentary map updates
  • Available navigation-based adaptive cruise control with a function that assist drivers around curves
  • Models with Smart Key now feature new remote engine start

What We Think

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.

Performance and Fuel Economy

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.

Safety

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.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

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.

Technology

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.

How Much Is a Kia Niro?

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.

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2021 KIA NIRO SPECIFICATIONS
OVERVIEW
FEATURES
WARRANTY/RECALL
SAFETY
REBATES
Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl 1.6 Liter Kappa
Transmission Name
Transmission, 6 Speed Automatic with Manual Mode
Trim
EX Premium Hatchback
Class
Subcompact Utility
Horsepower
139@5,700
Standard MPG
51/46
Body Style
Hatchback
Drivetrain
FWD
Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
Seating Capacity
5/5
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
Unlimited
Maintenance Warranty Months
none
Corrosion Warranty Months
60
Powertrain Warranty Miles
100,000
Full Warranty Miles
60,000
Powertrain Warranty Months
120
Full Warranty Months
60
Roadside Assistance Miles
60,000
Maintenance Warranty Miles
N/R
Roadside Assistance Months
60
IIHS Best Pick
0
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$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