2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Review: Stylin' And Hypermilin'

by Cobus F. Potgieter

The 2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid is the high-efficiency sibling of the normal Niro, which has been on sale in the USA since 2017. Still part of the first generation of the Niro compact crossover, the PHEV utilizes a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder gas engine and a plug-in hybrid powertrain for a combined 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Power is directed via a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission to a front-wheel drive system, netting the stylish CUV impressive gas mileage returns of 46 mpg combined. As a plug-in derivative, an all-electric range of 26 miles is also possible, placing it in the same ballpark as other PHEV rivals. But when the list of rivals includes the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - due its own plug-in variant for the 2021 model year - and the all-new Ford Escape Hybrid, to be stylish and frugal is simply no longer enough. Kia knows this and brings a high level of standard safety specification and easy-to-use infotainment to the table as well, hoping that these features can compensate for lethargic performance and the lack of an AWD drivetrain option.

Read in this review:

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2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid?

The compact Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid SUV is still quite new to the market, but it has received a mid-cycle refresh for the 2020 model year. Most of the changes are aesthetic, though. For the exterior, the front and rear fascias have been redesigned, and the front grille gets a new diamond pattern. The LED daytime running lights are now dual chevron-shaped, and the fog lamps are all-new. There are also new wheel designs for the 16-inch alloys. Inside, an eight-inch touchscreen is now standard, with the option to upgrade to a 10.25-inch model. Steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles are now offered, which can give the driver control over the PHEV's regenerative braking.

Pros and Cons

  • Good list of standard features
  • Sub-$30,000 price of admission
  • Top warranty cover and expected reliability
  • Well-built and practical
  • Somewhat lethargic performance
  • Ride comfort not class-leading
  • Only FWD drivetrain option offered
  • No rated towing capacity

Best Deals on Niro Plug-In Hybrid

2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Trims and Prices

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Plug-In Hybrid LXS
1.6L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$29,490
Plug-In Hybrid EX
1.6L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$33,290
Plug-In Hybrid EX Premium
1.6L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$36,390

Niro Plug-In Hybrid Exterior

2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Front Angle View KIA
2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Top View KIA
2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Rear Angle View KIA
See All 2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 171.5 in
  • Wheelbase 106.3 in
  • Height 60.4 in
  • Max Width 71.1 in
  • Front Width 61.6 in
  • Rear Width 62.2 in

Exterior Colors

  • Runway Red
  • Aurora Black Pearl
  • Snow White Pearl
  • Deep Cerulean
  • Silky Silver
  • Platinum Graphite
  • Horizon Blue

Niro Plug-In Hybrid Performance

2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Rear Perspective Driving KIA
2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Gauge Cluster KIA
2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Wheel KIA

Engine and Transmission

Every model in the 2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid crossover line-up is equipped with the same FWD drivetrain. This is a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter inline-4 engine with 109 hp and 109 lb-ft, which works in tandem with an electric motor developing 60 hp and 125 lb-ft for combined system outputs of 139 hp and 195 lb-ft. Unlike some rivals with a CVT automatic, Kia equips the Niro PHEV with a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. As a plug-in derivative, a full charge of the 8.9-kWh Li-ion battery takes up to nine hours on a Level 1 charger and 2 and a quarter hours on a Level 2 outlet.

  • Engine
    1.6L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Niro Plug-In Hybrid Gas Mileage

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    11.4 Gallons
* 2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid LXS FWD

Niro Plug-In Hybrid Interior

2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Dashboard KIA
2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Infotainment System KIA
2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Charging Point KIA
See All 2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.7 in
  • Front Head Room 40.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 37.4 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.1 in

Niro Plug-In Hybrid Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Interior Overview KIA
2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Underfloor Storage KIA
2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Maximum Trunk Space KIA

Niro Plug-In Hybrid Safety and Reliability

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

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid a good SUV?

The 2020 Niro Plug-In Hybrid could have been a class-leading vehicle if it weren't for the fact that it is somewhat let down by its lack of outright power and middling ride and handling characteristics. Coupled with somewhat limited cargo space and the fact that it is only available with front-wheel drive, the Niro PHEV doesn't feel much like a crossover SUV but more like a high-riding 4-door hatchback. However, there is much to commend it for, not least its superb fuel economy and very attractive starting MSRP. For the price asked by the 2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid SUV, it is extremely good value, boasts a genuinely efficient powertrain, and possesses a great list of standard features, a modern infotainment system, and great safety specs, with the normal Niro getting a class-leading IIHS safety rating.

🚗What Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Model Should I Buy?

The entire 2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid line-up offers excellent value so, for a change, you can afford to spend on a higher-spec car without worrying about breaking the bank. Stepping up a rung provides you with an affordable, well-specced EX derivative that benefits from blind-spot monitoring, forward collision avoidance, heated front seats, and wireless device charging for just $33,290. It might miss out on the EX Premium's larger infotainment screen, but it's the best value-for-money pick in our review of the 2020 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid range.zz

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