An economical yet fun-to-drive crossover; Kia’s all-new hybrid Niro Crossover is designed for young families and sporty singles who want value and fuel economy. It is a good looking vehicle with a hint of aggressiveness as on our tester, a SX Touring model equipped with sporty 18-inch wheels. With its to an extensive use of aluminum, air curtains, a rear spoiler and active front grille shutters, the Niro has an impressive 0.29 co-efficient of drag helping it achieve excellent fuel economy figures of L100KM 5.1 city and 5.8 highway, with 5,4 combined..
Under the hood, the Niro’s hybrid powertrain comprises a direct-injection, 103-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that uses the ultra-efficient Atkinson cycle, while the a 32-kilowatt (43-hp) electric motor generates its own torque and can motivate the Niro on its own under some driving conditions. The engine combined with a 43-hp electric motor produces a system total of 146 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Interestingly, and to the Niro’s credit, a six-speed dual-clutch transmission is used rather than a typical CVT unit. Under power, the battery sends energy to the motor to power the Niro—whether by itself or in combination with the engine.
All Niro models come well equipped as usual with Kia’s excellent value for money policy. Prices range from $24,995 to $32,995 with four models available — base L, to the EX, EX Premium and the top-of-the-line SX Touring as tested. The SX comes with all the power and comfort power options available such as heated seats and steering wheel, leather seats, ,Smart Cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, seven airbags, and a 8-inch infotainment screen which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Inside, as usual once cannot helped but be impressed with how well- appointed and well-finished the cabin is.
It’s no dragster, the Niro, but the six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is a lot better than the droning, slow CVT units found in the competition. Not much too complain about, note there is no All-Wheel Drive version and it is not as powerful as one would hope- but then again this is a hybrid and all about fuel economy. Nevertheless, this is an excellent family vehicle and offers incredible value for money. Want a hybrid that does not look a bit wonky? The sleek, conventional Niro fits the bill nicely! A highly recommended top pick.
2017 Kia Niro Hybrid: Base priced from $24,995 to $32,995.