The Niro competes with other small SUV's and crossover vehicles such as the Toyota Rav4 and and Honda CR-V. With a base price of under $23,000, the Niro won't break the bank, while still offering far better mileage than any of its competitors. Like all Kias, the Niro comes standard with all the basics one would expect for a compact car and then some. At the other end of the spectrum, the top of the line Niro comes positively loaded with the kind of items that were only sold in luxury cars a few years ago. Yet, the top trim Niro still starts at under $30,000, making the Niro a solid buy no matter the trim level.
Even in the crowded compact crossover class, the Kia Niro stands alone. Why? It's the only one that comes standard with electrification. And in addition to the hybrid model tested here, Kia offers its Niro with plug-in power, or as a fully electric vehicle with an estimated 239 miles of range.
The Niro shares its underpinnings with the Hyundai Ioniq, which is a more traditional Prius fighter. But thanks to its crossover shape and extra cargo space, the Niro presents itself to be a much more compelling hybrid package.
The Niro is powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that works in concert with a 1.56-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery to produce 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. In a subcompact crossover that weighs about 3,300 pounds, that's simply not enough. Driving up steep sections of the Grapevine on Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles, I had to dig deep into the throttle in order to keep pace in traffic.
The Good The 2019 Kia Niro combines capacious crossover cargo capacity and terrific fuel economy in a handsome, comfortable package.
The Bad It needs quite a bit more highway-passing power, especially on inclines.
The Bottom Line The Niro represents the best of many worlds with little money required to reap its benefits.
Thankfully Kia's new crossover has good looks to back up its weird name.
The automaker has been working with Aurora since early 2018.
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The focal point is a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen.
It'll likely serve as Kia's analogue to the Hyundai Venue.