2021 Kia Niro

MSRP $24,590 - $32,790

Ranked #9 in Subcompact Suv

2021 Kia Niro Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 19, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The Kia Niro is not a very old car. It has just been in the market for a couple of years and has managed to win a lot of hearts since its introduction four years back. The surprising thing is though the car hasn’t been through any major update in these four years, it kind of still looks like a fresh car to us. The 2021 Kia Niro manages to be an interesting pick, and we explain how.

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Pros

Hatchback practicality

Great fuel economy

Good value

SUV-like style

Cons

Not exactly exciting

No AWD despite the looks

Some versions are thirstier than others

Active safety tech shouldn’t be optional

What's New?

All models now come equipped with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Rear-seat reminder, passive hands-free entry, and remote start. 

An updated version of the navigation which includes map-based adaptive cruise control


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$28290

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

5

top speed

104 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

96 cu.in.

horsepower

104 hp @ 5700 rpm

torque

109 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm

transmission

5 speed automatic w/OD and auto manual

chassis

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

capacity

passenger volume

100.9 cu ft.

cargo volume

54.5 cu ft.

towing capacity

2800 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

6.7 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

14.8 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

131 ft.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

46/43/40 mpg

highway range

476 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

powertrain warranty

12 yr./ 100000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

LX$24,590 onwards

LXS$25,990 onwards

Touring$28,290 onwards

Touring Special Edition$30,790 onwards

EX Premium$32,790 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Kia Niro in Aurora Black color
Aurora Black

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Features

8.0

Engine and Performance

7.0

Fuel Economy

8.0

Interior

7.0

Exterior

7.5

Safety

7.5

Competition

6.0

7.2

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.2

Overall Rating


The style hasn’t gotten old yet, and though we are keenly waiting for an all-new Niro from Kia, this certainly has been one of our favorites throughout these years. Starting at a price of just MSRP $24,690, it is also one of the most value-for-money cars around. The 2021 Kia Niro rivals the likes of 2021 Toyota C-HR, 2021 Fiat 500X, and 2021 Honda HR-V.

2021 Kia Niro SUV front view
2021 Kia Niro SUV rear view

7.0/10
Engine and Performance

8.0/10
Fuel Economy

7.0/10
Interior

7.5/10
Exterior

7.5/10
Safety

6.0/10
Competition


2021 Kia Niro Features

The 2021 Kia Niro comes with as much as five trim levels with the prices starting from just under 25 grand and going all the way up to $32,790. The base LX trim kicks off the ball at $24,590, whereas the top-of-the-line EX Premium brings a heated front-row cushion, seats, and seatback, heated mirrors, park assist, and 16-inch alloy wheels to the table for just $32,950. The complete distribution of features across the five trims is given below.

Model

LX

LXS

Touring

Touring Sport/Special Edition

EX Premium

MSRP (FWD)

$24,690

$26,090

$28,390

$30,950

$32,950

Key Features

Dual-zone automatic front air conditioning

Automatic emergency braking

Driver lumbar support

Leather seat trim

16-inch aluminum wheels

 

Seek-scan AM or FM radio

Active lane control

Satellite radio

LED headlights

Heated front-row cushion, seats, and seatback

 

Dual first-row LCD monitors

Keyless ignition

Front fog lights

10.3-inch touchscreen

Heated mirrors

 

Key Fob entry

Leather-wrapped steering wheel

Heated mirrors

Larger wheels

Park Assist Parking Assist

 

Cloth seat trim

Seek-scan AM or FM radio

Partial Leather upholstery

 

 

 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility

 

Sunroof

 

 

Which Trim should you buy?

The mid-tier Touring seems to be the most value for money proposition here. It gets partial leather upholstery, sunroof, and fog lights, all while staying under the 30 grand mark. If you are really on a budget, just don’t opt for any optional features as they tend to get a bit expensive and Kia offers a lot of them.

2021 Kia Niro Engine and Performance

7.0/10

The 2021 Kia Niro comes equipped with a 1.6-liter inline-4 coupled to a 1.6-kWh battery and 43-hp electric motor for a combined output of 139 horsepower. It is delivered through a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The numbers are not exactly class-leading, and there are a lot of cars that are certainly more powerful than the Niro, so don’t expect any sort of neck-spinning performance from this Kia. 

2021 Kia Niro 

No doubt, the Niro is no slouch, but the car is also not an athlete. It will take its own sweet time to build speeds, and while you’ll feel the power to be quite adequate for your daily city commutes, you’ll be left wanting for more on the freeway as the engine runs out of steam quite quickly. It is better to drive the car at a sedated pace and get out most from that hybrid powertrain in terms of fuel economy as that is what it is designed to do.

Models

2021 Kia Niro

2021 Toyota C-HR

2021 Fiat 500X

2021 Honda HR-V

MSRP

$24,690

$21,595

$25,815

$24,420

Engine 

1.6 L inline-4

2.0 L inline-4

1.3 L turbo inline-4

1.8 L inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

AWD

FWD

Transmission

6-speed automatic

CVT

9-speed automatic

CVT

Power 

139 hp @ 5,700 rpm

144 hp @ 6,100 rpm

177 hp @ 5,500rpm

141 hp @ 6,500 rpm

Torque

195 lb-ft @ 2,400 rpm

139 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm

210 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm

127 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm

0-60 MPH (sec)

8.9 

8.9

7.5

8.7

Quarter mile (sec)

14.9

16.6

15.7

16.3

Top Speed (MPH)

125

130

130

N/A

The Fiat 500X is the one with the smallest engine here, but thanks to forced induction, it is pretty much the most powerful car here. It also managed to outrun all the others in a sprint from 0-60 mph, and that is quite commendable. The Niro, on the other hand, is the only hybrid here and also the least powerful one. The 1.6 L inline-four is only able to push the car from zero to 60 in under 9 seconds.

How well does the 2021 Kia Niro handle?

The 2021 Niro is certainly an exceptional handler for its category. It is a bit tall for a crossover SUV, and while it is no ladder-on-frame SUV, the soft suspension means that there is a fair bit of body roll, and you’ll feel that while flinging the car around corners. Still, the Niro is able to maintain its line quite well, and there is nearly no drama while pushing the car around. 

2021 Kia Niro handling

It is one of the best handling crossovers in the market right now, and there is no doubt about that. The ride though gets a bit jarred as you go for the higher trim levels as they come with a bigger set of rims and with lesser tire sidewall height. Overall, it definitely keeps one engaged although it never feels athletic.

Braking Performance of the 2021 Kia Niro

Braking is certainly not a very strong game for the Niro. The 2021 Niro comes with 11-inch rotors at the front, while the rear gets 10.3-inch rotors. This is not very efficient braking hardware, and often it feels choppy and inadequate. There is near to no feel at the brake pedal, and the regenerative braking makes the matter even worse. The car comes with autonomous emergency braking in the upper trims which use both the camera and radar to sense any obstacle on the road and thus apply the brakes automatically. 

Models

2021 Kia Niro

2021 Toyota C-HR

2021 Fiat 500X

2021 Honda HR-V

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

11

11.8

12

11.5

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

10.3

11.1

11

11.1

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3122

3300

3305

2959

60-0 MPH (feet)

129

NA

130

NA

The SUV takes 129 feet to reach a halt from 60 mph, which is 1 foot less than the Fiat 500X. The Fiat 500X is the most powerful car here and also comes with the biggest braking hardware to stop all that mass with the least drama. The 2021 Niro, on the contrary, comes with the smallest brake discs both that the front and the back. Nonetheless, all cars come equipped with enough stopping power, coming to a halt within 130 feet.

2021 Kia Niro Fuel Economy

8.0/10

The most frugal car here is the Kia Niro, being rated at 53 mpg city, 48 highway, and 50 combined. This definitely sets the category benchmarks since no other car is offered with a hybrid powertrain. Combined with a tiny 11.9-gallon fuel tank, the Kia Niro returns exceptional range figures of 631 miles in the city, 571 miles on the highway, and 595 miles combined.

Models

2021 Kia Niro

2021 Toyota C-HR

2021 Fiat 500X

2021 Honda HR-V

MPG (City)

53

27

24

28

MPG (Highway)

48

31

30

34

MPG (Combined)

50

29

26

30

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

11.9

13.2

12.7

13.2

Range (City/Highway /Combined, in Miles)

631/571/595

356/409/383

305/381/330

370/449/396

The Niro, being the only one here that is a hybrid, makes it the most fuel-efficient car here. That certainly gave the Niro quite an advantage over the others. Even though the fuel tank is small, it offers close to 600 miles of driving range. The Fiat 500X offers the least fuel efficiency figures and is quite unimpressive in terms of range as well. Both Honda and Toyota sit quite close to each other in this department.

2021 Kia Niro Interior

7.0/10

This has got to be one of the most desirable points to talk about in 2021 Kia Niro. The interior design is literally a cut above and feels like it is from a car much more premium than the Niro. It is designed beautifully with the use of high-quality plastics and leather at places where you’ll like it. Leather appointments enter the mix starting on the mid-level Touring trim, but even the fanciest Niro features synthetic upholstery. We genuinely loved the big slab of piano black plastic running across the width of the cabin and housing the infotainment display and AC vents. It is just one very seamless design integration and makes the overall dashboard look a lot less cluttered and is very easy to the eyes.

2021 Kia Niro front seats

The seats are also very lovely and supportive. The feel and texture are quite nice, and being comfortable on these is rather easy. The seats are 6-way power-adjustable for both the driver and front passenger. The Niro is more like a tall crossover than a hatchback, so the upright seating position also helps while driving, and that gives you a towering feeling. Rear seats pretty much like all the cars in this segment are best suited for two adults. Three can sit here as the Niro is quite a wide car, but those journeys would be better kept short. 

2021 Kia Niro seating layout

Models

2021 Kia Niro

2021 Toyota C-HR

2021 Fiat 500X

2021 Honda HR-V

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

40.1/56.0/41.7

38.1/49/43.5

39.1/54.3/41.4

37.6/56.8/41.2

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

39.1/55.2/37.4

38.3/52.5/31.7

37.8/52.8/34.8

38.3/54.5/39.3

Cargo Capacity (cu-ft)

19.4

19.1

NA

24.3

The Niro has a decently sized 19.4 cu. ft. of boot space, and though this is not a lot, it will be rather enough for carrying a weekend worth of luggage for four occupants. While the Toyota is the longest car here, it certainly is the one with the smallest cabin. The Niro is undoubtedly the most spacious among all in both the front row and the second row. The Honda HR-V shows the most practicality by offering the best cargo space of 24.3 cubic feet. Standout interior features include:

  • Leather upholstery
  • Dual-Zone Automatic Temperature Control 
  • Interior Lamps with Delay
  • Cloth Seat Trim
  • 6-Way Adjustable Driver's Seat
  • 6-Way Adjustable Passenger's Seat

What’s there to keep you entertained?

Flaunting the beautifully designed dashboard, there is an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display as standard in the 2021 Niro. But things start to get quite serious once you opt for the optional 10.3-inch display which looks absolutely gorgeous. The color reproduction, punchiness, and saturation of the display are just amazing. It comes preloaded with navigation in upper trims which have adaptive cruise control. The audio system available with the car is more or less just average. Standout infotainment features include:

  • 8-inch touchscreen display
  • Wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay
  • 6-speaker audio system
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Rear-View Camera w/ Dynamic Parking Guidelines
  • Steering-Wheel-Mounted Audio, Hands-Free Phone, and Cruise Control Buttons

2021 Kia Niro Exterior

7.5/10

For 2021 MY, Kia has done a few tweaks to the exterior, which are quite subdued and chances are near to zero that you’ll be able to spot them. It is quite an athletic-looking car, and we certainly love the way it looks, especially from the front. The big frog-eyed headlamps with sharp DRLs and projector lamps look quite purposeful. Vertically stacked LED fog lamps in the arrow-styled housing look quite good as well. 

2021 Kia Niro SUV 

The signature Kia grille has a different mesh design in the 2021 Niro, and we are not really sure about what to say about it. There is just enough amount of chrome used, and that makes the overall design look rather elegant. The rear profile might not be the most attractive angle to look at the car, and also, there is some stark similarity between the design of Niro and a certain British compact crossover. 

Models

2021 Kia Niro

2021 Toyota C-HR

2021 Fiat 500X

2021 Honda HR-V

Curb weight (lbs)

3122

3300

3305

2959

Length (inches)

171.5

172.6

167.2

170.4

Width (Inches)

71.1

70.7

70.7

69.8

Height (Inches)

60.8

61.6

63.7

63.2

Ground clearance (inches)

6.3

5.9

7.9

5.4

Wheelbase (inches)

106.3

103.9

101.2

102.8

Dimensions wise, all the cars more or less are in the same ballpark. The 2021 Niro is the second-longest here, after the Toyota, but one thing is that the Toyota has longer overhangs and lesser interior space, and that can be well judged by the wheelbase. The Kia has the longest wheelbase here, although the Kia rides quite low and thus has the smallest height among all. Standout exterior features include: 

  • LED headlamps and tail lamps
  • 18-inch wheels
  • Roof Rails
  • Body Claddings
  • Fog lamps
  • Body-colored side mirrors with turn-signal indicators
  • Power sliding sunroof

2021 Kia Niro Safety

7.5/10

Overall, the 2021 Niro has performed quite well in all the crash tests it was subjected to. IIHS has rated the car “Good” in all the tests including the small overlap front tests. However, NHTSA has a different story to tell. While the car did quite well for the side crash tests and received “5 stars” there, the front and the rollover scores are a mere “4 stars.”

The car comes with autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blindspot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control, but they are not standard fitments in the lower trim cars, and that is where the Kia Niro loses a few points in our tally. Otherwise, the car comes with 6 airbags, ABS, EBD, TCS, tire pressure monitoring system, and brake assist. Standout safety features include: 

  • Tire Pressure Monitor
  • Brake Assist
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Blindspot Monitoring

2021 Kia Niro Competition

6.0/10

2021 Kia Niro vs 2021 Toyota C-HR

The Toyota C-HR is more like a wannabe car. While the Kia uses a rather conventional styling with not a lot of drama and has played it safe with the looks, the C-HR is just opposite to it with quirky styling and adding drama wherever possible. The C-HR is also quite cheaper than the Niro, and while it doesn’t feel as premium as the Niro from the inside, it is still more powerful than the Niro and also has Toyota’s reliability card in its armor.

2021 Toyota C-HR

2021 Kia Niro vs 2021 Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V is for those who want to play it safe or for the people who don’t want to explore the market a lot and just want to get home after a quick purchase. No, we aren't saying that it’s a bad thing, but the HR-V certainly looks a bit depressing to us. It is by far the least exciting vehicle both inside and outside in this comparison, and while we agree that it is more practical and spacious than the Niro in some aspects, it just doesn't make you feel rather special.

2021 Honda HR-V

2021 Kia Niro vs 2021 Fiat 500X

Maybe the most non SUV looking car in the bunch, the 2021 Fiat 500X is certainly a very attractive package and also a very desirable car. The old-school design might not be for a lot of people, but the performance that the 500X offers for the price asked makes the car a very good option. It has a very distinct approach to how the crossovers should look, and if you love being unique and love Italian flavors, then the Fiat 500X is certainly the one for you.

2021 Fiat 500X

 

2021 Kia Niro Final Verdict

The Niro is due for an update, and we are suspecting that the update is going to arrive soon. But even then, if you are in the market right now to buy a compact crossover, the 2021 Kia Niro should be on your shortlist. It looks gorgeous, has a wonderfully laid-out cabin, and is extremely fuel-efficient as well. The Niro is also among the most spacious cars in this price bracket, and while it is a four-year-old product now, it certainly doesn’t look like one. 

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