Danielle Villeneuve

Incognito Hybrid: 2017 Kia Niro

There’s plenty of monotony on the road nowadays. We’re always on the look-out for a vehicle that does things a little differently, in its own unique way. The all-new Kia Niro does many unique things that we find favorable. The Niro is considered a compact hybrid crossover, a pairing which sounds very favorable for a number of audiences. Although most anyone who looks at the Niro would consider it to be more of a hatchback in appearance. It’s also one of the few hybrids that is styled exceptionally well and doesn’t advertise its hybrid nature for the whole world to see.

2017 Kia Nero 1

You can normally peg an entry-level hybrids and EVs from a mile away. Between the colors, styling and obtrusive badges, they stick out. Kia’s quirky Soul EV is a perfect example. The Niro blends in with the crowd. That is not to say its styling is boring though! Kia’s signature grille, angles and aggressive front and set it off nicely. This would be a good looking crossover even without the hybrid tech. Its athletic stance and LED taillights finish off the overall look. It’s an interesting combination of crossover and hatchback, and it’s awesome; simple, practical, and completely non-polarizing. But even in silver, it doesn’t seem boring at all.

2017 Kia Nero 6

The Niro is available in five trim levels – FE, LX, EX, Touring, and a Touring Launch Edition. Our tester was a Touring, adding upgrades like leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and wireless charging. Kia’s infotainment system, also standard on the Touring and Touring Launch Editions, is still one of the best in the business and the UVO navigation system works well. But with Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto now standard equipment, you’ll find yourself using the built-in system less and less. For its price point, the interior is a nice place to be overall but the is a lot of hard plastics used throughout the cabin Front seat comfort is good as well, but the Niro comes up short on rear seat length; for taller passengers it could really impact long trips.

The mighty little Niro is powered by a 1.6 liter four cylinder gas engine and an electric motor. And instead of a CVT, it’s paired with a dual-clutch automatic transmission. Total output is 139hp. While its 0-60 time of 9.6 seconds might indicate sluggishness, the instant electric torque available in Sport mode helps it scoot around in stop-and-go conditions. Plus, the Niro manages to edge out the Pruis Three by returning 43mpg combined. Drive feel is very good, especially for this class and the sightlines are excellent. The ride is a bit stiff and there is some road noise, but the Niro otherwise offers very easy way to travel.

2017 Kia Nero 3

The 2017 Kia Niro is an incognito hybrid. It combines fuel-efficient hybrid technology with the modern compact crossover platform. It sets itself apart not in appearance or flair, but by the values and features it provides beneath its skin. So don’t judge a book by its cover. Make sure you get to know the story underneath.

-Danielle Assenheimer

2017 Kia Niro Touring
Silky Sliver w/ Light Gray and Electric Blue Accents $0
Touring Advanced Technology Package $1,900
Destination Charges $895
As Tested MSRP $32,445

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