MEET THE UN-HYBRID YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU WANTED
The 2017 Kia Niro EX is the hybrid that you never knew you wanted. First and foremost it looks nothing like a hybrid. The design is Kia’s strongest selling point: a hybrid that doesn’t look hybrid. Its crossover design, short overhangs, extended roof-line, and wide stance give the Niro a look that other hybrids don’t have.
As a crossover, the Niro sits higher off the ground and I love this in a smaller car. The front grill was designed to not only be efficient with airflow (the key to top MPG) but to look good as well. They nailed it, because I have yet to see a hybrid with this sleek of a front end.
WHO THE NIRO IS FOR
- Couples or Small Families
- Empty Nesters looking to road trip
- Buyers who want great MPG
- Millennials on the go
- Drivers with a long commute
- New Drivers
WHAT IT COSTS
The 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid is available in five trims: FE, LX, EX, Touring Launch and Touring Editions. The base MSRP for the lowest trim, the FE starts at just $22,890.
The EX model I drove was priced at $28,895, which included the sunroof, forward collision warning system, lane departure warning and smart cruise control.
MPG THAT WILL TURN HEADS
The Kia Niro offers MPG that I haven’t found in any other hybrids on the market. I drove the car for two weeks on a full tank of gas and still had almost a quarter tank left at the end of day 14. Yes, hybrids are known for gas economy but this is off the charts impressive. By not driving my gas guzzler for two weeks I saved $65! That is a savings that could really add up in the long run.
Depending on the style you purchase this may vary a bit, on average I got 52 MPG city driving in the EX model. The Touring and Touring Launch have 18-inch alloy wheels, and the other models receive 16-inch wheels. If you add leather seats, a premium audio system, and other equipment, the Touring model will be almost 150 lbs heavier than the FE model. This will in fact make for lower MPG due to the weight. If you want the top MPG go with the EX model. When it comes to hybrids the lighter the vehicle the better the MPG.
SAFETY AND RELIABILITY COME STANDARD
No matter if you choose the base Niro or the Touring edition, all top safety features are included.
- Dual front and side airbags
- Driver knee airbags
- 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS uses electronic sensors at each wheel hub to detect when wheels begin skid. If skidding under braking is detected, ABS modulates brake force to reduce skidding which in turn allows for reduced braking distances and helping you maintain control
- Child safety locks
- Hill Start Assist Control offers an added measure of security when moving from a stop on a steep hill by preventing the vehicle from rolling backward. It functions by gently applying the brakes for two seconds while you move your foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator
- Tire pressure monitoring
- Vehicle Stability Management adds steering direction control capability. It intervenes when appropriate to help the driver regain control of the vehicle
- Electronic Stability Control offers an enhanced level of vehicle control and peace of mind by offering improved directional stability, helping you maintain the vehicle’s intended direction of travel. ESC monitors and assists in the control of key vehicle functions by braking individual wheels and reducing engine power accordingly.
While those features do come standard in all models, the EX model I drove offered extra safety features including lane departure warning, smart cruise control, forward collision warning system and blind spot detection. My favorite added feature was the Autonomous Emergency Braking. The (AEB) system works independently of the driver in critical situations, applying the brakes to help prevent or lessen the effects of a frontal collision. While I did not test this out, I have seen this on other test drives and the car’s reaction time is quick.
ROOM FOR FOUR PLUS GROCERIES
The Niro boasts more room than other hybrids for sure. The front is very open and comfortably seats two passengers, with elbow room to spare. The interior is well designed and not at all overwhelming. The touchscreen was easy to use, and there were plenty of small storage spots including bottle pockets in the doors and a small compartment inside the center arm rest. There are two 12v charge ports, and two USB ports: one under the center console and one in the center arm rest.
My kids found the back seat to be comfortable but lacking any USB or 12v ports. To me that isn’t a big deal, but I can see why they missed their ability to stay charged from the back seat. My 6 foot tall teen was comfortable even with the passenger’s seat moved back.
The trunk space in the Niro is very large even with the back seat up. Boasting 19.4 cubic feet of space with the seats up, we were easily able to hold our groceries without encroaching on the back seat. If we had put the back seats down we would have had 54.5 cubic feet of cargo space, more than double!
INTERIOR CONVENIENCES ABOUND
With the roomy interior comes a 7″ touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. You also have Bluetooth capabilities. Dual climate control keeps the air conditioning arguments to a minimum; my husband prefers it to be cold and I prefer not to have to wear gloves in the summer. The heated front seats would prove very valuable to me in the winter.
What is UVO eServices?
UVO eServices is a subscription-free information system. With UVO eServices’ advanced voice-recognition technology, you can use your voice to help make hands-free calls and manage your music library. It provides you with an innovative in-vehicle connectivity experience including navigation, diagnostics capabilities and added convenience features like rear-camera display, emergency assistance, parking minder and My Car Zone.
A MEMORABLE HYBRID
I will fully admit that I am not one who would buy a hybrid, I’m just a girl who likes to hear a loud engine. However, after being in the Niro for two weeks I may not be quick to dismiss this as a possible future car. Overall, the Niro provides a quiet ride inside and out as the interior was well insulated. When you want to add a little giddy-up in your ride, the Niro offers sport mode, which maximizes the engine’s power. This is something you wouldn’t ordinarily expect in a hybrid (however this won’t help with fuel economy).
My biggest fear with a hybrid has always been “what if the battery dies.” Well Kia found a solution to that with the battery reset button. The Niro’s sensors will trip an automatic shut off if you leave the lights on or a door open. When you get in the car and the battery is dead, simply hit the battery reset button and you’ll have enough power to start the car.
If you are in the market for a small car with MPG that is unsurpassed you NEED to take a closer look at the Kia Niro. It’s a stylish departure from the other guys, and the price cannot be beat for all that is included in even the standard trim package. The Niro has certainly changed the way I look at hybrid vehicles.
What We Loved
- The awesome fuel economy
- Sporty and fun to drive, especially in sport mode!
- Great safety features–many of them standard
- An approachable starting price and nicely outfitted for under $30,000
- The comfortable, roomy interior and lots of cargo space
- Apple Car Play or Android Auto
- UVO eServices standard on all models
- There’s a household plug in the rear seat in the top level Touring model!
What You Need to Know
- No USB port in the rear seat in the model we drove
- Yes, it’s a crossover but not, it’s not available in all wheel drive
- Seats 5 but more comfortable for 4
- Uses regular fuel
- MPG estimates are 51 city/46 highway (slightly lower for Touring edition)
- 60 month/60,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty
- 10 year/100,000 mile power train warranty, including the hybrid battery
What we listened to in the Kia Niro
This is the playlist we were inspired to listen to on our first drive of the Kia Niro.