Hybrids

2018 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid starts at $27,900

Even if you opt for the top trim, you'll spend less than $35,000.

Kia

Kia has been always good for, as I say it, shoving 10 pounds of value into a 5-pound sack. That trend continues with its new 2018 Niro plug-in hybrid.

The 2018 Kia Niro PHEV starts at $27,900 for the base LX trim. For that price, you get 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a 4.2-inch display in the gauge cluster, a power adjustable driver's seat and dual-zone automatic climate control. The base infotainment offering is a 7-inch touchscreen with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

It doesn't hurt that the Niro is easy on the eyes.

Kia

Move up to the second of three trims, EX, and you'll be spending $31,500. But for that extra coin, you get a bunch of extra kit, including heated side mirrors, cloth seats with leather inserts, heated front seats and rear AC vents. You also get a few safety systems, including blind spot monitoring, lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alert.

At the top of the lineup is the EX Premium trim, which will set you back a cool $34,500. But, again, you get a bunch more stuff with this one. EX Premium features include LED headlights, a 7-inch display in the gauge cluster, a 110-volt power inverter, leather seats with ventilation, a heated steering wheel, and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Safety gets a boost, thanks to parking sensors front and rear. The infotainment screen gains both an inch in size and navigation capabilities.

Kia likes to minimize the number of options, instead aiming to equip each trim with more than enough good stuff. Your "options" are limited to port-installed options like wheel locks ($55), cargo nets ($50), carpeted floor mats ($135) and things of that ilk.

No matter the trim, the powertrain is the same. A 1.6-liter, Atkinson-cycle I4 mates to an electric motor for a net output of 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Its 8.9-kWh battery provides enough juice for 26 miles of all-electric range, with a total range north of 550 miles. The EPA says it'll get 48 mpg in the city and 44 on the highway.