Car Review: Kia Niro Plug-in allows you to run on electric part time; Niro EV gives you big range

More manufacturers are adding hybrid vehicles to their lineups. Kia is no exception with its Niro. The Niro can be bought as a plug-in hybrid or a new Niro EV, an all-electric version, with a healthy 239-mile range. No matter what Kia Niro you prefer, they prove to be a capable, small crossover with good space in both front and back seats.

Driving the Kia Niro Plug-in and the Niro EV are different experiences. The Plug-in seems a bit timid when you’re accelerating and the gas engine often helps. Choosing Sport mode is helpful. The Niro EV is sportier when you hit the accelerator with plenty of punch. Both handle with confidence, more like a car than the small crossover body suggests.

Cost: Kia Niro Plug-in ranges from $28,500 to $35,900
Kia EV ranges from $38,500 to $44,000

MPG: 46 mpg on gas only; 105 mpg driven on a full charge

Safety: A full suite of driver aids include forward collision warning, lane keep assist, smart cruise control and blind spot detection.

Options: Kia doesn’t skimp on features. Both the Plug-in and EV versions come in top-of-the-line EX Premium trim, so heated/ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel is standard.

Pros:

  • Niro EV has plenty of instant power
  • Niro EV has long-range capability for the price
  • Niro Plug-in offers 26 miles on electric power before the gas engine kicks in

Cons:

  • No AWD is available
  • Plug-in version acceleration is a bit tepid
  • Rear cargo area is smaller than other small crossovers

Mike Parris is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by DriveShop, FMI, NAVS DC or Motus One for the purpose of this review.

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