While some hybrids can be built for performance, the Kia Niro is not one of them. As such, it takes the hybrid around ten seconds to go from 0-60 mph, but at least the power delivery is smooth and quiet. That is unless you force it to hold a lower gear for longer than the automatic gearbox would choose to, in which case the engine can drone unhappily. The plug-in Niro is a little quicker thanks to its 180 horsepower, which lets it get to the 60 mph mark in around nine seconds. Neither of these powertrains allow for all-wheel drive, so everything is sent to the front for an unspirited driving experience. Kia also doesn't provide any towing capacity figures, and with so little power to spare, we wouldn't try.
While there is a fully electric option for the Niro, we review that separately. For the hybrids, you get a choice between a regular model with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with full parallel hybrid assistance or one with an AC synchronous motor assisting the engine. The basic setup makes just 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. This is enough low-down grunt for hopping between traffic lights, but getting up to speed on the highway requires patience or prayers if you're going uphill.
The plug-in hybrid setup makes a more punchy 180 hp but still has the same amount of torque. You likely won't notice too much difference in its power delivery, but it doesn't strain quite as much when pushed to deliver. Regardless of the powertrain in play, a six-speed automatic transmission regulates outputs, and we are grateful that Kia didn't go the CVT route.
|Kia Niro Trims||Kia Niro Engines||Kia Niro Horsepower||Kia Niro Transmissions||Kia Niro Drivetrains||Kia Niro MPG/MPGE||Kia Niro Range|
|LX||1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid||139 hp @ 5700 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||53 MPG||N/A|
|EX||1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid||139 hp @ 5700 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||53 MPG||N/A|
|EX Touring||1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid||139 hp @ 5700 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||49 MPG||N/A|
|SX||1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid||139 hp @ 5700 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||53 MPG||N/A|
|Plug-In Hybrid EX||1.6L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid||180 hp @ 5700 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||N/A||46 MPG||33 miles|
|SX Touring||1.6L Inline-4 Hybrid||139 hp @ 5700 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||49 MPG||N/A|
|Plug-In Hybrid SX Touring||1.6L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid||180 hp @ 5700 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||N/A||46 MPG||31 miles|
Efficiency is the name of the game, and the Kia Niro has the mileage figures to back up its claim to fame. With the regular hybrid powertrain equipped, the compact SUV returns an impressive 53/54/53 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. However, opting for a Touring trim with 18-inch wheels significantly impacts the highway estimation, dropping it down to 45 mpg, for a mixed figure of just 49 mpg. In either case, an 11.1-gallon tank comes standard, allowing for 543 - 588 miles between refuels.
The PHEV is even more economical, with 108 MPGe to its name. The 11.1 kWh battery allows it to travel up to 33 miles on electric power alone. However, it has to make do with less fuel capacity - 9.8 gallons, to be exact. And recharging the battery on a standard 120-volt outlet takes close to three hours.
|Kia Niro Trims||LX||EX||EX Touring||SX||Plug-In Hybrid EX||SX Touring||Plug-In Hybrid SX Touring|
|Kia Niro Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)||53/54||53/54||53/45||53/54||N/A||53/45||N/A|
|Kia Niro Hybrid Battery Capacity||1.56 kWh||1.56 kWh||1.56 kWh||1.56 kWh||8.9 kWh||1.56 kWh||8.9 kWh|
Between the standard Niro hybrid and the PHEV, the latter is significantly more efficient if you recharge it regularly. Naturally, the BEV model is even more economical.
No, the Niro runs fine on 87 octane gasoline.