The 2019 Kia Niro compact crossover is about as easy at the pumps as one could hope but it doesn’t seem to be as popular as one would think. Let’s take a closer look.
The Kia Niro launched a few years ago to mostly rave reviews from automotive media. It was praised for its “normal” styling, efficient hybrid powertrain and pleasant driving experience. Although we liked it at first, you the consumer seemed less impressed by Kia’s alternative compact crossover.
The Kia Niro remains an interesting option in the segment for those who all-out efficiency is an absolute priority. Here’s what you need to know about the 2019 Kia Niro:
What’s important to know about the 2019 Kia Niro?
The Niro, as mentioned is a hybrid, also a plug-in hybrid and there’s an electric version forthcoming. Like the Kia Soul and the Niro’s unidentical twin, the Hyundai Kona, the 100% electric version is the most anticipated.
The Niro EV was expected to arrive this spring however no concrete dates have been confirmed. Deliveries of the Hyundai Kona EV are delayed which likely means the Niro EV will also see its introduction dates pushed back.
There is no pleasure to be derived from driving the Niro in the real world. No matter the drive mode, the Niro is designed principally for fuel economy. Despite the available 195 lb.-ft. of torque, passing manoeuvres on the highway require some planning. The standard 6-speed dual-clutch Sportmatic automatic transmission is programmed once more for seamless proficiency. The ride quality is correct, and nothing more.
For a small family, the Niro is fairly spacious and comfortable with one exception: it’s always noisy onboard. While driving, road and wind noises penetrate into the cabin. Highway speeds create a background drone that quickly becomes very unpleasant. Otherwise, the boot is large enough for most small family jobs, the same goes for the rear bench.
Equipment levels are high in both the Hybrid and PHEV. Items such as a heated steering wheel, heated seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and good-sized touchscreen are all standard.
What’s the 2019 Kia Niro’s price?
The base 2019 Kia Niro L sports a $25,495 starting price. The EX, at $28,095, is a good option thanks to its additional features such as smart key with pushbutton start, wireless phone charger and rear parking sensors.
The Niro PHEV trims begin at EX Premium and for $33,965. The principal difference being the large battery that provides up 42 km of 100% mobility. Importantly, the Niro PHEV is available in limited quantities.
The Niro EV’s pricing will likely start in the low $40k range.
When will it be released?
The 2019 Kia Niro and Niro PHEV are currently available. The Niro EV was expected to be available right about now (January-February 2019). According to Kia Canada, it will arrive in the next couple of months.
What other crossovers and SUVs should you check out if you’re interested in the 2019 Kia Niro?
For this section, we’ll concentrate on electrified options. The Toyota RAV4 hybrid is too planned for the next few months, much like the elusive Hyundai Kona EV. Otherwise, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the only other alternative. Its advantages are size and AWD capability in EV mode however it is far more expensive at $45,000.
As for other full EVs, the Nissan LEAF is one of our favourites. The Chevrolet Bolt is pricey but good and that leaves the Hyundai Ioniq, a very close cousin to the Kona and Niro.
Other hybrids include Honda’s Insight, Accord Hybrid and $40,100 Clarity which could also fit the bill.
A series of options that may seem odd are members of the Prius family. There are still some Prius v out there and, let’s not forget, the Prius will be available with AWD a little later this year.
What do we think about it?
The 2019 Kia Niro hybrid is without a doubt extremely efficient, even during the cold and snowy winter month. I managed an average of just under 5.5L/100km in mid-January which is exemplary. Unfortunately, I could not deal with the lack of sound insulation and the driving experience.
Despite not yet being available and not having driven the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, we’d wait for it to show up before purchasing any of the aforementioned vehicles. Base price should hover between $37,000 and $40,000, include AWD, be better to drive and more spacious.
If it’s a pricing issue, the $25,495 Niro L is difficult to match where fuel consumption and basic equipment are concerned.