2019 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid SUV

#19
in Suvs
2019 MODEL
$28,500 - $35,200

7.0

Overall Rating

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2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

The Kia Niro is a perfect example of Korean manufacturer catering to green products like Japanese Toyota Prius and American Tesla model S. It is marketed as a crossover but looks much like a grown up hatchback with low ground clearance and only front wheel drive. Niro combines state of the art technology in a conventional body, luring mainstream buyers.

The parallel hybrid powertrain of Niro integrates electric power for outstanding efficiency. The cabin is handsomely designed and comes with intuitive technology and premium features.

See detailed review »

Pros

Best in class fuel economy

One of the most affordable hybrids

Plenty of standard features

6-speed dual clutch transmission

Cons

No AWD option

Sluggish acceleration

Low ground clearance is a crossover

Low cargo space

What's New?

Addition of all-electric plug in hybrid model is the major news for 2019

Infotainment system is updated

Minor color and trim combination changes

Graphite Edition has been renamed as S Touring

Kia Niro largely remains unchanged for the year 2019


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$28200

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

horsepower

104 hp @ 5,700 rpm

torque

109 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm

transmission

6-speed automated manual

chassis

suspension rear

Independent multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

dimensions

wheelbase

106.3 in.

length

171.5 in.

width

71.1 in.

height

60.8 in.

curb weight

3161 lbs.

ground clearance

6.3 in.

capacity

cargo volume

19.4 cu ft.

payload capacity

1028 lbs.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

48/46/44 mpg

highway range

497.2 mi.

highway range (evs/hybrids)

497.2 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 years/60000 miles

drivetrain warranty

10 years/100000 miles

corrosion warranty

5 years/100000 years

roadside assistance

yes


Pictures & Videos


Styles

 2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV in Aurora Black Pearl color  2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV in Gravity Blue color  2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV in Platinum Graphite color  2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV in Runway Red color  2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV in Snow White Pearl color
Aurora Black Pearl

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

Features

7.5

Interior

8.0

7.0

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV LX

LX

power
104 hp @ 5700 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
46 combined

$28,500


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
LX 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6AM) Starting at $28,500 MSRP (48/46/44) 104 hp @ 5700 rpm, 1.6 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automated manual front wheel drive 5

 2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV EX

EX

power
104 hp @ 5700 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
46 combined

$32,100


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
EX 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6AM) Starting at $32,100 MSRP (48/46/44) 104 hp @ 5700 rpm, 1.6 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automated manual front wheel drive 5

 2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV EX Premium

EX Premium

power
104 hp @ 5700 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
46 combined

$35,200


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
EX Premium 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6AM) Starting at $35,200 MSRP (48/46/44) 104 hp @ 5700 rpm, 1.6 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automated manual front wheel drive 5

Top Kia Cars

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7.0/10

Engine: 130 hp @ 6300 rpm, 1.6 L I-4

MPG: 27 combined

2019 Kia Optima
8.0/10

Engine: 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L I-4

MPG: 27 combined

2019 Kia Cadenza
7.5/10

Engine: 290 hp @ 6400 rpm, 3.3 L V-6

MPG: 23 combined

2019 Kia Stinger
8.4/10

Engine: 255 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L I-4

MPG: 25 combined

2019 Kia Sorento
8.1/10

Engine: 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L I-4

MPG: 25 combined

2019 Kia Sportage
7.3/10

Engine: 181 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L I-4

MPG: 26 combined

2019 Kia Niro hybrid
7.3/10

Engine: 104 hp @ 5700 rpm, 1.6 L I-4

MPG: 50 combined

Expert Review


CARHP Editorial March 28, 2019

7.0

Overall Rating


Kia Niro's price falls squarely in line with Honda HR-V, Buick Encore, and Subaru Crosstrek. While other manufactures offer all-wheel-drive as an option Kia makes up for it with stellar fuel economy.


7.5/10
Features

 
 
 

8.0/10
Interior

 
 
 
 
 

2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV Features

7.5/10

The 2019 Kia Niro is a five-passenger hatchback available in five trims which are priced as follows:

  • FE: $24,430
  • EX: $26,150
  • EX Premium: $35,200

Every variant is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder hybrid-electric powertrain which produces139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The power is transmitted exclusively to the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Trims

FE

EX

Ex Premium

MSRP

$24,430

$26,150

$35,200

Features

1.6 liter GDI 4-cylinder engine

60 hp electric motor, 8.9 kWh

FE +

1.6 liter GDI 4-cylinder engine

 Ex+

1.6 liter GDI 4-cylinder engine

 

6-speed dual clutch automatic

6-speed dual clutch automatic

60 hp electric motor, 8.9

kWh

 

16-inch alloy wheels

60 hp electric motor, 8.9 kWh

 

Projection headlight

6-speed dual clutch automatic

6-speed dual clutch automatic

 

UVO eco 7-inch touchscreen

Apple Car play and Android Auto

16-inch alloy wheels

16-inch alloy wheels

LED headlight

 

Rear-Camera Display

HID headlight

 8Inch touchscreen with navigation

 

Autonomous Emergency Braking

Forward Collision Warning System

Sports mode

Blind spot detection

Rear Cross-traffic alert

Front and rear parking assist

Wireless phone charging

Heated and ventilated front seats.

 

Lane Keeping Assist

Driver Attention Alert

Blind spot detection

Leather seat trim

 
 

Smart Cruise Control

10-way power-adjustable seats

 
 

Cloth seat trim

   
 

60/40 split-folding rear seats

Dual Zone automatic Climate control

Leather wrapped steering wheel

   

Kia offers best in class warranty like its kin Hyundai and provides a comprehensive warranty.

  • The limited warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
  • Hybrid components are covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance

We Recommend

The EX hits the sweet and comes loaded with standard features. For fuel-conscious drivers, the FE is the obvious choice because it gets the best fuel economy of the Niro range. But if you'd like a few more features, opt for the EX. It features heated seats and push-button ignition, and it also includes blind-spot detection and cross-traffic monitoring. Consider taking on the Advanced Technology package for its additional driver safety aids.

2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV Engine

The Niro is an approachable and practical, crossover-like hatchback—one that just happens to have a hybrid powertrain and EPA city ratings of up to 52 mpg. Refreshingly straightforward, it has no unfortunate packaging concessions, no bizarre styling, and no weird controls that are different just for the sake of being different (we're looking at you, Prius shifter)- Car and driver

Engine and Transmission

The Kia Niro PHEV is powered by a 1.4 liter inline 4 which works together 8.5kw electric motor. The total output is 164 hp which is mated to a dual clutch 6 speed automatic transmission. Niro has enough grunt for day to day driving but you can’t call it sporty.

The six-speed dual clutch automatic optimizes the engine’s responsiveness for enhanced acceleration and a sporty feel. The standard mode leads to longer shift time and moderate engine performance. The Sports mode will make upshifts noticeably snappier and offers seamless engine power.

Models

Kia Niro FE suv

Honda HR-V LX suv

Hyundai Kona SE suv

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i suv

Mazda CX-3 Sport suv

Buick Encore 1SV suv

MSRP

23,490

$21,515

$21,035

$22,870

$21,365

$24,195

Engine

1.6L i4 Gas/Electric

1.8L i4 Regular Unleaded

2.0L i4 Regular Unleaded

2.0L flat4 Regular Unleaded

2.0L i4 Regular Unleaded

1.4L i4 Turbocharged

Transmission

6 Speed Dual Clutch

Continuously variable automatic

6 Speed automatic

6 Speed manual

6 Speed automatic

6 Speed automatic

Horsepower

139 hp@ 5700rpm

141 hp @ 6500 rpm

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

152 hp @ 6000 rpm

148 hp@ 6000rpm

138 hp@ 4900rpm

Torque

195 ft-lbs@ 2400rpm

127 ft-lbs. @ 4300 rpm

132 ft-lbs@ 4500 rpm

145 ft-lbs@ 4000 rpm

146 ft-lbs@ 2800rpm

148 ft-lbs@ 1850rpm

The Subaru Crosstrek produces the highest number of horses and after that comes the Honda HRV. Kia Niro and Buick Encore produce a somewhat equal amount of horsepower. The Niro surpasses all of the rivals in terms and provides seamless power delivery.

Acceleration

The Kia Niro in FE, LX, and EX trim can sprint to 60 mph from standstill in just 8.6 seconds. Top trims take a second longer due to their extra weight and bigger wheels. The Niro’s 1.56-kWh hybrid battery is so small that most of the task in moving 3,200-pound hatchback is done by the gasoline engine.

Models

Nissan Kicks S suv

Kia Niro FE suv

Honda HR-V LX suv

Hyundai Kona SE suv

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i suv

Mazda CX-3 Sport suv

Buick Encore 1SV suv

0-60 MPH

9.9 sec

8.9 sec

9.3 sec

10 sec

9.2 sec

8.8 sec

7.8 sec

Quarter mile

17.6 sec

16.8 sec

17.3 sec

17.3 sec

N/A

16.6 sec

N/A

Engine

1.6L i4 Regular Unleaded

1.6L i4 Gas/Electric

1.8L i4 Regular Unleaded

2.0L i4 Regular Unleaded

2.0L flat4 Regular Unleaded

2.0L i4 Regular Unleaded

1.4L i4 Turbocharged

Emission

(Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

5.3

N/A

6.0

6.6

6.1

6.1

6.3

The Buick Encore provides the fastest acceleration and Kia Niro tails behind it. The Subaru Crosstrek and Honda HRV clock the same time in reaching 0 to 60. More peculiarly, HR-V crosses quarter mile neck-to-neck with Niro despite being almost a second slower than Niro from 0 to 60.

Ride and Handling

The Kia Niro is powered by a 1.6-liter gasoline engine which produces a total of 139 hp in conjunction with an electric motor. The power is adequate for city jaunts and highway passes. You can choose between two drive modes, which can alter throttle response and engine performance. Standard mode optimizes fuel efficiency or opt for Sports mode for an enthusiastic drive. The chassis is made with high-tensile strength steel alloys to help improve rigidity for great driving dynamics and a quiet ride.

In terms of handling the Kia Niro performs surprisingly well with a swift and accurate response. With no dead zones the steering firms up in sports mode. There is little sway when taking a turn due to the electric motor's battery being stowed under the second-row seat which makes Niro well-planted. This little crossover easily tackles mild terrains but there is some noise which peeps into a cabin. Wind noise is effectively muted sound-insulating windshield glass and noise-absorbing insulation throughout the vehicle ensures compliant ride.

Braking

You will never notice how the Niro transitions from regenerative braking to conventional braking. The pedal feel is light and it travels a long way in panic braking. The Niro requires 129 feet to stop from 60 mph which is below average for this segment.

Model

Kia Niro FE suv

Honda HR-V LX suv

Hyundai Kona SE suv

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i suv

Mazda CX-3 Sport suv

Buick Encore 1SV suv

Brake Front (in.)

11

11.5

11

11.6

11

11.8

Brake Rear (in.)

10.3

11.1

10.3

10.8

11.1

10.6

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3106

2902

2890

3113

2809

3237

60-0 MPH (ft.)

122

127

175 (70-0)

N/A

135

N/A

The Buick Encore has the best braking performance in contrast to all the rivals. The Honda HR-V takes the largest amount of distance to stop from 0 to 60.

2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV Fuel Economy

The Kia Niro is designed to use the best of both worlds, the gasoline engine, and electric motor work together for optimum fuel economy. The engine was specifically developed for a hybrid employing Atkinson cycle and Cooled EGR technology for maximizing efficiency. The entry-level FE is most fuel efficient and returns 52 miles per gallon in the city and 49 mpg on the highway. The two midlevel LX and EX come in at 51 mpg city/46 mpg hwy. The most expensive Touring variant returns 46 mpg city/40 mpg hwy. 

Model

Kia Niro FE suv

Honda HR-V LX suv

Hyundai Kona SE suv

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i suv

Mazda CX-3 Sport suv

Buick Encore 1SV suv

MPG (city)

52

28

27

23

29

26

MPG (highway)

49

34

33

29

34

31

MPG (combined)

50

30

30

25

31

28

Range (miles) (city/highway)

N/A

370/449

356/436

382/481

368/432

364/434

Tank Capacity (gal)

11.9

13.2

13.2

16.6

12.7

14.0

Regardless of the trim, the Kia Niro outclasses all of them in terms of fuel efficiency. It will be the best bang for your bucks if fuel budget is your concern.

2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV Interior

8.0/10

"A number of years ago, Kia’s interior design went from frumpy to fantastic, and the cabin of the 2019 Kia Niro is one of the finest in its class. The design is clean and simple with an upscale feel and high-quality materials. The layout is intuitive, and all of the controls work with precision" - Kellybluebook

Seating and Comfort

Inside the Kia Niro is intelligently designed with smart features to be as welcoming to you as to your passengers and cargo. The cabin is fuss-free, made for arriving at your destination relaxed and happy. Leather wrapped steering wheel and bright meter cluster lets you take charge of sports luxury.

The spacious inside is adorned with ultra-comfortable leather seats available in contrast stitching. The sporty 10-way power adjustable driver seat lets you customize your comfort. The rear seats can accommodate 3 people but not for a long journey. The front and rear seats offer great headroom and legroom with commanding outward visibility.

Model

Kia Niro FE suv

Honda HR-V LX suv

Hyundai Kona SE suv

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i suv

Mazda CX-3 Sport suv

Buick Encore 1SV suv

Passenger capacity

5

5

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

40.1/56/41.7

39.5/56.8/41.2

39.6/55.5/41.5

39.8/56.7/43.1

38.4/53.5/41.7

39.6/54.2/40.8

Second

(Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

39.1/55.2/37.4

38.3/54.5/39.3

37.8/54.5/34.6

38.0/55.6/36.5

37.2/50.4/35.0

38.8/52.6/35.8

The HR-V has a lot of interior room, including the most rear-seat legroom of the group and the largest rear cargo compartment. Buick Encore has the smallest amount of cabin space due to its compact dimensions. Subaru crosstrek is also spacious from the inside.

Interior Features

  • Leather wrapped steering wheel
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Cruise control
  • Dual zone front automatic climate control
  • Illuminated glove box
  • Leather wrapped shift knob
  • Auto dimming rearview mirror
  • Front armrest and rear center armrest
  • Air filtration
  • Power adjustable seats
  • Engine immobilizer

Infotainment System

The Kia Niro comes with standard 7-inch UVO touchscreen infotainment system which is intuitive to use. The optional navigation system uses GPS data to predict the geographical location. It pre-charges before going uphill and employs regenerative braking on downhill sections. Steering mounted control to make it easy to adjust your audio and use cruise control. It comes equipped with the following amenities:

  • Android Auto and Apple Carplay
  • Sirius XM radio
  • Bluetooth Audio
  • Aux Input
  • Satellite Navigation (optional)
  • Voice recognition
  • Real-time traffic alert
  • Integrated roof antenna
  • 6 speaker sound system

Cargo Capacity

The Kia Niro offers 19 .4 cubic feet of storage seat which can be increased to 54.5 via 60/40 rear folding seats. You can expand the cargo area when needed and still accommodate rear passengers. The cargo space is enough for your groceries, camping gear, dogs or all of them. Niro’s hybrid battery takes a considerable amount of space but optional underfloor storage adds a bit more utility. The load height is lower and more accessible.

Model

Kia Niro FE suv

Honda HR-V LX suv

Hyundai Kona SE suv

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i suv

Mazda CX-3 Sport suv

Buick Encore 1SV suv

Cargo Volume (ft.3)

19.4

24.3

19.2

20.8

12.4

18.8

The rear seats don't form a flat load floor when folded, and other similarly sized crossovers can accommodate more cargo. The Honda-HRV tops the list with the largest amount of cargo space.

2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV Exterior

“The handsome Niro fits right in with its squat crossover pals. You’d never guess that a gas-sipping hybrid is lurking under its skin.” – Car and Driver

Dimension and Weight

The Kia Niro is designed to thrill, it looks much like a grown up hatchback than a crossover. Kia’s signature tiger-nose grille is distinctive with a lower grille hiding the different sensors. A wide variety of detailing like body cladding, roof rails, rear skid plate, and large wheel arches befit its crossover tag. The stance is sporty with short front and rear overhangs.

To get the maximum fuel efficiency the exterior is optimized for lowest drag coefficient (0.29) which is close to the Nissan GTR (0.26). The front air splitters a channels air through them to the neatly designed 19-inch alloy wheels. For maximum aerodynamic efficiency, active grille shutters close at around 35 mph to smooth the airflow In the rear, the available combination LED tail lamp gives a striking appearance to Kia Niro.

Model

Kia Niro FE suv

Honda HR-V LX suv

Hyundai Kona SE suv

Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i suv

Mazda CX-3 Sport suv

Buick Encore 1SV suv

Curb weight (lbs.)

3106

2902

2890

3113

2809

3237

Length(in)

171.5

170.4

164.0

175.8

168.3

168.4

Width(in)

71.1

69.8

70.9

71.0

69.6

69.9

Height(in)

60.4

63.2

61.0

63.6

60.7

65.3

Ground clearance (in)

6.3

7.3

6.7

8.7

6.1

6.2

Wheelbase (in)

106.3

102.8

102.4

104.9

101.2

100.6

Track width (in) F/R

61.6/62.2

60.4/60.6

62/62.4

61/61.2

60/59.9

60.7/60.6

The Honda HR-V has lowest curb weight which accounts for better driving dynamics and that comes to the Kia Niro. The Subaru Crosstrek cast the longest shadow and Buick Encore is smallest among all due to which it has the shortest turning radius.

Exterior Features

  • 16” inch alloy wheels
  • Clear coat paint
  • Body-colored front and rear bumper
  • Black body side molding
  • Chrome side window trims
  • Body-colored door handles
  • Power heated side mirrors
  • Variable intermittent wipers
  • Lip spoiler
  • Liftage rear cargo access
  • Roof rack rail

2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV Safety

Even the best drivers can’t be perfect 100% of the time

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • ABS And Driveline Traction Control
  • Side Impact Beams
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
  • UVO eServices 911 Connect Emergency Sos
  • Blind Spot Detection (BSD) w/Lane Change Assist (Lca) Blind Spot Sensor
  • and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
  • Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
  • Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
  • Airbag Occupancy Sensor
  • Driver Knee Airbag
  • Rear Child Safety Locks
  • Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3 Point, Height Adjusters and Pretensioners

2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV Competition

Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V is among the top rated crossover as it comes with best in class passenger and cargo space. The Honda HR-V is the most practical subcompact SUV with generous cargo capacity, great balance of ride and handling and plenty of interior features. Although the HR-V is very fuel efficient for a conventional crossover, the Niro is hybrid and has a definite edge in fuel efficiency. However, Niro also commands a significant premium over the competitor.

Buick Encore

The Encore’s performance is however disappointing due to the sluggish acceleration with 134 –horsepower four-cylinder engine. Buick’s optional 153 hp engine is a substantial improvement. The Encore based on the same underpinnings as the Chevrolet Trax. It makes a case for itself as an in-between by outclassing subcompact crossovers from mainstream makers Honda and Nissan. With the Encore, you pay more, but you get more. Though its performance is not lively, the Encore has a comfortable ride and composed handling. Larger and more powerful than the Niro, the Rogue doesn't approach Kia's fuel economy, but if cargo hauling is a bigger concern than mpg, it's a solid choice.

Subaru Crosstrek

The Subaru Crosstrek is all wheel drive and has high ground clearance, unlike the Kia Niro. Surprisingly both have an identical amount of cargo capacity and interior space. The Subaru Crosstrek has an upscale interior, a ton of standard features, and decent off-road capability. However, it comes up short on cargo space and has mediocre overall performance. If you live off the tarmac then the Subaru will befit all your needs otherwise the Kia Niro is better to package allover.

2019 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV Final Verdict

The Kia Niro is a versatile package and offers the best value for your money. Unlike other hybrids, the Niro looks like a conventional subcompact crossover, it has excellent luggage capacity, spacious interiors, commanding driving position, and a rugged raised stance. Niro is attractively priced with a host of standard safety features. Niro is a good choice for buyers who want it all. Just as long as they don't want all-wheel drive, too, since the Niro doesn't offer it.