2017 Kia Niro Hybrid Crossover Test Drive Review

2017 Kia Niro Hybrid Crossover Test Drive Review
- 2017 Niro, compact utility marks Kia’s first use of the hybrid architecture, initially launching it as a gas-electric hybrid, Kia plans to expand the Niro portfolio with a plug-in hybrid in fall 2017 and an EV model in early 2018

- 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control

- LX $25,000 offers more creature comforts, roof rails, rear LED lamps, push-button start, EX trim $26,595 with heated front seats, $30,545 Touring model boasts more amenities

- quick as or quicker than several hybrid and nonhybrid crossover rivals

- does not always shuffle smoothly between electric and gasoline power

- 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, an electric motor, a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, 139 horsepower, zero to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds, front-wheel drive only, 0.90 g of grip on our skidpad

- six-speed dual-clutch transmission is competent, delivers nearly seamless upshifts, downshifts are far from immediate

- EPA ratings fall just short of the bar set by the Toyota Prius

- improved the Niro’s aerodynamic efficiency by fitting it with grille shutters that close at around 35 mph to smooth airflow over the short nose

- easily tackles uneven roads, delivering a controlled, stable ride, steering responses are swift and accurate

- offers more passenger space than many competitors, cheap interior, the rear seats is spacious, the standard 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with sluggish screen response times

- standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, two-zone automatic climate control, with controls for the driver and front passenger

- the rear seats don’t form a flat load floor when folded, other vehicles in the class accommodate more cargo, Kia Niro’s cargo volume trails the cavernous Honda HR-V, but it offers more space than the tiny Mazda CX-3

- useful cubbies in the deep center console and a large, wide bin forward of the shifter

- well dressed and trimmed out with ample brightwork, family grille graces the front end, angled headlights complete an aggressive-looking face, look halfway between a wagon and an SUV

- like many hybrids, the Niro prioritizes weight savings over a spare tire, a tire-inflator kit is the only thing you’ll find in the trunk when one of your tires goes flat

- active safety technology available from the LX trim, a $1450 Technology package that includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, autonomous braking, while EX trims brings blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert

Pros no hybrid stereotypes, affordable, 52 mpg city
Cons unhappy powertrain, base model not good enough