2017 Kia Niro hybrid looks like 'meh', saves fuel like 'yeah!'
This is the 2017 Kia Niro, and it's one of, if not the dullest looking cars I've reviewed all year.
Especially in this base FE trim with uninspired gray paint and plastic wheel covers.
But even without frills, this gray lump is packing a power train that's efficient as heck, a very spacious interior and cabin tech that's actually pretty good.
It's function over form in pretty much the purest state, and that makes it worth a second look.
So let's take it for a spin.
I should point out that in upper trim levels and with option packages, the Niro is available with a wide array of amenities, Styling upgrades and driver aide features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.
But this is the entry-level model with no options, so we don't have any of that.
As basic transportation goes, the Niro FE is basic AF.
But view through that lens of basic transportation.
The Neuro starts to look pretty all right.
Now under the hood we've got the 1.6 liter gas electric hybrid powered trans.
From Kia, that's the same engine that you'll find powering the ionic hybrid.
Here it makes the same 139 horsepower, and about 195 total pound via torque.
Acceleration is pretty good, whether you're tooling around town, or passing on the highway, but that's not really the point of this car.
More interesting is the EPA's estimated 50 miles per gallon on the combined cycle for the Niro.
That' pretty impressive.
I've been averaging around 48 miles per gallon in this car and I haven't even been trying to drive particularly efficiently.
So I'm pretty sure that most drivers will get close to, if not bang on with the EPA's estimate.
Now that doesn't mean that we shouldn't talk about performance at all.
The ride is comfortable if not unremarkable.
And the transmission is a six speed clutch automatic rather that the more conventional continuously variable box that you'll find in most hybrids.
The advantages there are supposed to be in performance and efficiency but I find that it's the source of one of my only nitpicks with a neuro performance.
Sometimes there's a bit of a desynchronization between the gasoline to electric transition Tension of the engine, and the transmission down-shifting a gear when you're coming to a stop.
This is particularly noticeable when you're doing sort of a rolling stop.
Maybe the light changes as you're coming to a stop, and you need to get back on the gas.
You'll notice a bit of a hesitation as it sort of tries to figure out what to do, and then ultimately just sort of clunks into whatever mode it is, and you can continue driving as normal.
It doesnt happen often, but it's happened enough during my week of testing that I feel like it bears mentioning.
Now back in the positive category, the Nero is a spacious and comfortable ride, it doesn't look fantastic, but there is a lot of space in here for Room and people, and as we'll talk about in another video even at this basic level the dashboard tech is quite good with standard Android Auto and Apple Car Play filling any gaps in the technology that you might have.
Now I've sort of ragged on the styling but for some drivers the Nero sort of autonomous style is a bit of a positive.
I mean maybe you're looking for a 50 mile per gallon, small family vehicle.
And you don't really like the sort of, let's call it avant garde, styling of the current generation of Prius.
This car looks more like a regular car and it's not gonna turn a lot of heads in a negative way.
And let's not forget that if you check the right boxes, the Nero gets upgraded significantly with nicer tech A styling upgrades like nicer wheels, more vibrant colors, and it becomes a much more attractive competitor in this class.
But not everyone's looking to make a statement with their car.
Some people are just trying to get from point A to point B efficiently and comfortably.
I'm not one of those people, but if you are, and there's nothing wrong with that, then maybe the Nero's the car for you.
Fully look at the 2017 Kia Rio just kisses the 30,000 dollar mark, but this base SE model with no options starts and around 23k, even with no frills, you're getting really good fuel economy, decent interior space, and pretty good cabin tech.
It's a good balance of fuel economy and cost economy.
and even if base models are pretty strong choice just maybe pick a different color
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