2019 Kia Niro

2019 Kia Niro
2019 Kia Niro Three Quarter Rear Right Side View
2019 Kia Niro Infotainment System

2019 Kia Niro Review

The Kia Niro is a front-wheel drive compact crossover hybrid SUV that's part of the three-strong Niro model range first introduced in 2017. It's powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine connected to a six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission and a 43-horsepower electric motor which combine to make 139 hp. The range comprises the FE, LX, EX, S Touring, and Touring models, sharing a drivetrain but catering to various price points and specifications, but presenting a wider range than most hybrids do. As a practical hybrid crossover that's loaded with features and boasting phenomenal fuel economy, the Niro really delivers. The styling appeals to the crossover-crazed world we live in, giving buyers an appealing alternative to humdrum hybrids like the Toyota Prius, which is one of the few hybrids on the market capable of getting near the magical 50 mpg mark.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 5 /10
  • Fuel Economy 9 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 8 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
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2019 Kia Niro Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2018 Niro?

Apart from the improved infotainment system, there haven't been any updates to the Niro since it was introduced in 2017, except for the addition of new models to the range including the Niro EV. For 2019 the Niro Hybrid's changes are minimal, with an update to the navigation software, and a minor trim adjustment - last year's Graphite Edition model is now the S Touring trim.

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Comfortable interior
  • Broad model line-up for a hybrid
  • Decent cargo space
  • Appealing crossover body styling
  • Only available in front-wheel drive
  • Average ride quality
  • Not the most agile
  • Base model is scantily equipped
  • Powertrain feels a little dull

What's the Price of the 2019 Kia Niro?

The FE is the cheapest Niro in the range and carries a starting MSRP of $23,490. Next is the LX which starts at $23,900 and the EX at $26,400. At the top of the line-up is the S Touring at $28,800, and the Touring at $32,250. These prices exclude any registration, tax, and licensing fees, as well as the destination charge of $995.

Best Deals on 2019 Kia Niro

2019 Kia Niro Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Plug-In Hybrid LX
1.6L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
S Touring
1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
See All 2019 Kia Niro Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Niro needs a second or two to compose itself before it gets off the line and although the delay can be irritating, it can be easily remedied by the Sport mode. The drive of the Niro feels more like a car than an SUV and there's very little body roll around the corners, the result of its lower ground clearance compared to many other crossovers. The ride, while not the best, is more than adequate and the Niro does an admirable job of keeping the bumps from being felt in the interior. The additional ride height benefits the Niro here, as the inch or so of extra suspension travel deals with larger bumps just a little easier.

The steering provides decent responses and doesn't feel too light or too heavy, but in Sport mode weights up substantially. It naturally tracks straight and true with no dead spots to speak of aside from a vagueness on center. Braking is generally quite good, but under duress, the brakes can sometimes feel a bit spongy due to the changeover to regenerative braking. Even at speed, cabin noise is thankfully kept at a minimum and there are also no rattles or squeaks.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Kia Niro A Good SUV?

The Kia Niro has many brilliant attributes, but like all other cars also has some drawbacks. There's no all-wheel drive available and it hasn't got the best cargo space when compared to some of its rivals. In the performance department, the acceleration is slightly above average, but nothing special, and the handling is also average at best.

Where the Niro excels is in providing an economical way to travel, while sitting in relative comfort and having many features. The excellent fuel economy is a huge selling point but could be improved by getting the plug-in hybrid version. The interior has comfortable seats and a decent amount of space, even for long journeys. Combined with the up-to-date infotainment system, as well as the different driver aids, the Niro is competent for both long and short trips, and with a class-leading warranty owners can have peace of mind that they will be taken care of should any problems occur. For those weary of a switch to full EV, the Niro is one of the best hybrids with which to bridge the gap.

What Kia Niro Model Should I Buy?

The FE and the LX models are very well priced but are a bit sparse and don't have some of the latest safety features like blind-spot detection available that we feel are important for a vehicle at this price point. Even when the LX has the Advanced Technology Package equipped, it still lacks some of the best features. The EX has a great level of standard features, but to get the best out of it, both the Advanced Technology Package and Premium Package needs to be added. It's almost pointless buying the EX and then adding the packages because it brings the price to the same price point as the Touring, which is why we feel it's best to only equip the EX Advanced Technology Package, saving yourself some cash, and still achieving impressive economy figures - a key reason for buying the Niro.

Check out other Kia Niro Styles

2019 Kia Niro Comparisons

Hyundai Kona Hyundai
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Toyota

2019 Kia Niro vs Hyundai Kona

The Niro is the least electrified of the three-model Niro range, which begs the question of whether or not it's even worth looking at in this guise? Perhaps the Hyundai Kona is a better, more traditional option. The Kona boasts more striking looks and offers a range of engines to cater to the requirements of many. It's also available with all-wheel-drive, unlike the Niro. The Kona also drives like a hot-hatch, particularly with the turbocharged motor, but it suffers for its sins, with gas mileage estimates of nearly half what the Niro can provide. The Kona is more cramped than the Niro but packs equivalent levels of tech and comfort features, all at a much cheaper price. Still, the gas mileage of the Niro is tempting, and frankly shouldn't be overlooked, making it our pick for the future-thinking young adult.

See Hyundai Kona Review

2019 Kia Niro vs Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

The Toyota RAV4 hybrid produces more power than the Niro at 219 hp compared to the Niro's 139 hp. It is also available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive while the Niro is only available in front-wheel drive. With AWD, it also carries a higher ground clearance of 8.1 inches compared to the Niro's 6.3 and has a towing capacity of 1,750 lbs while the Niro has no towing capacity. The RAV4 is larger and has more cargo, as well as passenger space, but it comes with a price tag that's $4,000 more expensive than the Niro. It also can't match the Niro's mileage estimates, making it more expensive in all aspects. Unless you really need the space afforded by the RAV4, the Niro is the better objective buy.

See Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Review
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