2024 Kia Niro

2024 Kia Niro
2024 Kia Niro Rear Angle View 1
2024 Kia Niro Dashboard 1
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2024 Kia Niro Hybrid And Plug-In Hybrid Review: Electrified Excellence

Most contenders in the subcompact crossover class in the USA are gas-powered; take the excellent Mazda CX-30 and VW Taos as examples. The Hyundai Kona offers an EV variant, and the Toyota Corolla Cross, in turn, offers gas and hybrid variants. Kia is hedging its bets with its new Niro: the only subcompact crossover to offer hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and an all-electric variant. In fact, there are no regular gas Niros at all. Under the hood lives a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 139 horsepower in the hybrid and 180 hp in the PHEV, the latter providing 34 miles on electricity alone. Starting at nearly $27k, all the powertrain tech means it's a bit more expensive than many gas rivals, but it also achieves great safety scores. So, is the wonder-kid Niro all it's cracked up to be?

Summary

12 things to know before buying

New for 2024

Since it was redesigned last year, the 2024 Niro has remained mostly unchanged. A dual-level cargo floor becomes a standard feature on all trims but the LX this year, while Fire Orange Metallic disappears from the paint palette. There are still seven trims in the range, composed of hybrids and plug-in hybrids only, all in front-wheel drive configuration with no all-wheel-drive Niros on the menu. With a $26,840 starting price, the 2024 Kia Niro lineup is slightly more expensive this year.

2024 Kia Niro Price: Which One to Buy

This year, the starting price of a new Kia Niro LX hybrid is $26,840 - just $250 more than last year. The other trims have increased by similarly small amounts, starting with the EX at $29,540, the EX Touring at $31,840, the SX at $32,940, and the SX Touring at $35,240. There are just two plug-in hybrid trims, the EX at $34,290 and the SX Touring at $40,040. All the prices are MSRP and exclude options and the $1,325 destination charge.

The hybrid EX is the most sensible buy in the lineup and offers excellent value at just under $30k. With its heated front seats, power driver's seat, and larger touchscreen, it adds a few nice features to the base LX for a reasonable outlay. We would add the $350 auto-dimming rearview mirror. The corresponding PHEV EX asks for more than $4k extra for its plug-in powertrain, with all its other features staying the same. It might be worth it if you are going to use the all-electric range on a daily basis and can charge it at home, but keep in mind that you get a bit less cargo space.

See All 2024 Kia Niro Trims

Best Deals on 2024 Kia Niro

Interior and Features

The modern cabin has dual digital displays and a good level of standard features, but you need to upgrade to EX to get a bigger touchscreen with navigation.

The dashboard of the Niro has a long hood that sweeps down gracefully to the passenger side for a very unique look, with the 4.3-inch digital driver-information display ahead of the driver and the touchscreen seamlessly integrated into the overall design next to it. The materials don't feel expensive and the plastics are of the hard variety, but they are textured and everything feels sturdy enough. The controls are easy to reach and use, but having to switch the touch-sensitive bar to alternate between climate and audio controls will irritate some people, and it forces you to take your eyes off the road. With a car-like ground clearance of only 6.3 inches in the interest of low drag and improved efficiency, you don't step up into the Niro. Once inside, you'll be impressed with the interior space, even in the second row. The seat padding is quite firm, but it won't bother everybody. The rear pillars are wide, but the backup camera and rear parking sensors eliminate most blind spots.

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2024 Kia Niro Dashboard
2024 Kia Niro Center Stack
2024 Kia Niro Interior Overview
2024 Kia Niro Central Console
The quality of the materials is decent, but the Niro can’t match the CX-30 for plushness. The dashboard layout is unique and contemporary, however.

Space

As we've intimated, the cabin is roomy, and even in the second row, there's lots of headroom and ample space for longer legs. It's bigger in the rear even than the new Kona and in a different league altogether than the Corolla Cross, beating its rear legroom figure by a whopping eight inches. It runs the larger Sportage close, with a wheelbase only 1.4 inches shorter than the larger car's.

Cargo

Trunk space is good for the class, with figures very similar to those of the Corolla Cross Hybrid and Kona when it comes to the hybrid, which has 22.8 cu-ft behind the second row and 63.7 cu-ft behind the first row. The PHEV loses some trunk volume due to the under-floor battery and has corresponding figures of 19.4 cu-ft and 54.6 cu-ft.

In the cabin, you get the usual glovebox, and there are the expected two cupholders and a lidded storage bin in the center console as well. Each door has a door pocket, but they're not very big at all, and there's a place to put your phone (which is also the wireless charging pad on the EX and up). The rear-seat passengers get two cupholders in their fold-down center armrest and two front seatback net pockets.

Kia NiroHyundai KonaToyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Seating
5 Seater5 Seater5 Seater
Headroom
40.5 in. front
39.6 in. rear
38.3-39.3 in. front
38.3 in. rear
39.5 in. front
39.1 in. rear
Legroom
41.5 in. front
39.8 in. rear
41.7 in. front
38.2 in. rear
42.9 in. front
32 in. rear
Trunk Space
22.8-63.7 ft³ (hybrid)
19.4-54.6 ft³ (PHEV)
25.5-63.7 ft³24-61.8 ft³ (L trim)
21.5-61.8 ft³ (Other trims)
See Full Comparison

Materials and Colors

The LX has cloth upholstery and a Charcoal/Black cabin, with a urethane steering wheel and shift knob, metallic black interior trim, and metal-effect door handles. The two EX trims get a combination of cloth and SynTex leatherette on their seats in either of two interior colors - Charcoal/Black or Gray/Black - with a SynTex-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, gloss black interior trim, and chromed door handles shared with the rest of the trims. The two SX trims get perforated SynTex and also a predominantly black interior, but with a choice of Charcoal or Gray/Charcoal seats. The two Touring trims get alloy sport pedals.

2024 Kia Niro Back Seats KIA 2024 Kia Niro Trunk Space KIA 2024 Kia Niro Cup Holder KIA 2024 Kia Niro Door Storage KIA
2024 Kia Niro Back Seats
2024 Kia Niro Trunk Space
2024 Kia Niro Cup Holder
2024 Kia Niro Door Storage
The cabin is a fairly dull mix of grays and blacks, but the quality of life is good thanks to an absorbent ride and a very spacious back seat.

Features and Infotainment

The base LX isn't overendowed with features, making do with manually adjustable seats, cloth upholstery, keyless entry, and a urethane steering wheel and shift knob. Push-button start, heated power front seats, leatherette on the seats, steering wheel, and shift knob, a sunroof, LED ambient interior lighting, alloy sport pedals, a 4.3-inch driver-information display, and a heated steering wheel are the preserve of higher trims in the range.

The LX's base infotainment system is the only one with a smaller eight-inch touchscreen, and it comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, five USB ports, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker audio system. The other trims all get an upgraded system with a 10.25-inch touchscreen and navigation, Kia Connect services, SiriusXM, voice recognition, and a wireless charging pad, but bizarrely it loses its wireless phone interface, necessitating running Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via USB cable instead. In the two SX trims, the six-speaker audio system is replaced with a premium seven-speaker Harman Kardon setup.

2024 Kia Niro Infotainment System KIA 2024 Kia Niro Speaker KIA 2024 Kia Niro Infotainment System 1 KIA 2024 Kia Niro Steering Wheel KIA
2024 Kia Niro Infotainment System
2024 Kia Niro Speaker
2024 Kia Niro Infotainment System 1
2024 Kia Niro Steering Wheel
The controls are fairly easy to use, but the touch bar is distracting and the upspecced infotainment system doens’t get wireless phone connectivity.
LXEXSX Touring
Heated front seats
Leatherette upholstery
Power sunroof
10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation
Seven-speaker Bose audio system
Compare Features Between All Trims

Performance

Ride and handling do little to surprise or delight and are competent, if unexciting, with decent refinement in this class.

The engine in every Kia Niro is a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder, and in the regular hybrid model, system outputs are 139 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. In the PHEV, an 83-hp electric motor combines with the gas engine to boost the horsepower figure to 180 hp. All models get a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and FWD drivetrain. With its lack of power, the regular hybrid has sedate performance, giving the Kia Niro a 0-60 time of between 9.1 and 9.7 seconds, depending on the trim, with a top speed limited to 106 mph. The significant power advantage of the PHEV drops that time to between 7.3 and 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 120 mph. With front-wheel drive and a scant 6.3-inch ground clearance, the Niro is more accurately described as a hatchback than the SUV it pretends to be, so off-road driving is off the table, and so is trailering. You'll have to opt for the larger Sportage if you need to tow something.

Being an economy-minded car, there is little excitement on the road. The Niro's steering is fairly direct, handling is competent, and grip is good, but it isn't fun to throw around, which is fine for this type of vehicle. Throttle response is poor in the Eco driving mode, so you're better off taking it easy; at least the brakes are nicely progressive and blend regenerative and friction braking very well. The ride is controlled and compliant, favoring comfort over athleticism, though the Sport mode does tighten up the steering and give you manual control of the transmission. This seems a bit pointless in a car like this, and it's best left to its own devices. The hybrid feels adequate around town, but the lack of power makes highway driving, merging, and overtaking frustrating, and the lack of power means the transmission kicks down to fifth on the highway at the slightest indication of a hill or headwind. It makes the gas engine work hard often, with an accompanying noise penalty. The PHEV is far sprightlier and feels decently peppy in most conditions.

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2024 Kia Niro Engine
2024 Kia Niro Side Angle Driving
2024 Kia Niro Side Perspective Driving
2024 Kia Niro Side Angle Driving 1
2024 Kia Niro Gear Lever
The hybrid is fine around town but weak at speed, making the PHEV the preferred powertrain with good punch, excellent efficiency, and all-electric driving ability.

Fuel Efficiency

Gas mileage is, of course, what it's all about in a hybrid, and the Kia Niro's mpg figures bear this out. According to the EPA, the regular hybrid returns 53/54/53 mpg for the city/highway/combined cycles on the smaller 16-inch wheels, while the city cycle takes a nine-mpg hit on the models with the 18-inch wheels, taking the combined figure down to 49 mpg. Both of these figures are far better than the 42 mpg overall that the Corolla Cross Hybrid AWD can do. With an 11.1-gallon fuel capacity, this means a range of around 588 miles on 16-inch wheels and around 544 miles for the trims with the larger wheels.

The PHEV comes with an 11.1-kWh battery pack feeding an 83-hp electric motor, making all-electric driving possible for up to 34 miles, so you can realistically drive it as an EV to work and back during the week with a light right foot. It gives 108 MPGe, or 48 mpg combined once the battery is depleted. The battery can be recharged to 100% in two hours and 45 minutes using a 240-V Level 2 charger.

1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic
FWD
1.6L Inline-4 Plug-In Hybrid
6-speed Dual-Clutch Automatic
FWD
Power
139 hp180 hp
Top speed
106 mph120 mph
MPG
53/54/ 53 mpg (16-inch wheels)
53/45/49 mpg (18-inch wheels)
108 MPGe
48 mpg combined
0-60
Est. 9.4 sec.Est. 7.7 sec.

Safety

Safety credentials are impressive, with good crash scores and a full suite of driver assists, though the LX misses out on a few features the other trims get.

The NHTSA's safety review of the Kia Niro gave it a full five-star overall rating, but the IIHS has yet to conduct its own tests on the Niro.

Safety is bolstered by the standard fitment of the Kia Drive Wise Technologies driver-assistance suite on every trim. This includes front-collision alert with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic collision mitigation, lane-departure alert with lane-keep and lane-following assist, speed-limit assist, rear occupant alert, and safe-exit warning. Besides these, every Niro also gets automatic LED headlights with automatic high beams. The EX additionally gains rain-sensing windshield wipers, rear parking sensors, Highway Driving Assist, navigation-linked adaptive cruise control, and a front-collision system with cyclist and turning detection. Only the SX trims get an auto-dimming rearview mirror and front parking sensors, but the mirror is a $350 option on any other trim.

LXEXSX Touring
Front-collision alert with braking & pedestrian detection
Active lane-keep & lane-following assist
Adaptive cruise control
Blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert
Highway Driving Assist

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Reliability

The reliability of the Kia Niro hybrid seems reasonably good, and though JD Power only gave it a mediocre score of 76 out of 100 for its Quality & Reliability assessment, this might improve as teething troubles are sorted out with the advancing model years. The PHEV doesn't have a JD Power rating yet. There has so far only been a single recall of the Niro, and that was for the 2023 model for a blank gauge-cluster display that may fail to show important information.

The excellent warranty of the Kia Niro should provide plenty of peace of mind, though. The limited warranty covers the car for five years/60,000 miles, and the powertrain warranty runs for a very impressive ten years/100,000 miles.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

Design

The Niro has a distinctive look, as we've come to expect from Kias, and it cuts a striking figure with its modern interpretation of the Kia Tiger Nose grille and its angular LED DRLs that underline the standard-fit LED headlights situated at the outer reaches of the nose. Certain design elements, such as the faux front skid plate and glasshouse surround, are rendered in a bright finish, and there are the appropriate body cladding and wheel-arch moldings to convey an SUV vibe, though this is very much a hatchback with noticeably little ground clearance. All trims but the LX get roof rails, but they're optional on the base car. Most trims run on 16-inch alloys, but the two Touring trims get machined 18-inch wheels. Only the SX Touring gets upgraded LED-projector headlights.

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2024 Kia Niro Front Angle View
2024 Kia Niro Rear Angle View
2024 Kia Niro Rearward Vision
2024 Kia Niro Forward View
The Niro has a modern interpretation of Kia styling cues, and its modern body looks trendy and fashionable while retaining proper cabin space and practicality.

Verdict: Is The 2024 Kia Niro A Good SUV?

The Niro makes a strong case for itself among subcompact crossovers. It's far more spacious inside than the CX-30 or Corolla Cross, and it's well-equipped and very safe, with striking looks and excellent efficiency thanks to its all-hybrid lineup. However, there is no cheaper gas powertrain to compete with the high-value Chevy Trax, and it doesn't drive as well or feel as plush inside as the Mazda CX-30. But if you're looking for an HEV or PHEV, there are few better options in this market segment, and the strong 34-mile electric range and reasonable $4k price premium of the PHEV may be worth it if you do lots of city driving and can charge at home. The PHEV also fixes the weak performance of the regular hybrid, turning the Niro into an excellent package - if you don't mind its smaller trunk.

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