Now here’s a name you may not have heard of yet.   And no, KIA doesn’t add “Hybrid” to the name.    I did.     Kia just refers to their new Niro as “A smarter kind of crossover”.     I guess “smarter” means a crossover that just happens to get 40 -52 MPG…..or more.


KIA’s Niro is brand-new.   It’s a 5-door crossover that frankly looks a bit like a 7/8ths version of one of Mercedes’ and Acura’s new crossovers.   It’s a tidy, affordable, efficient, and in “Touring” trim, an almost jewel-like way to move 5 people + a reasonable amount of luggage in high-mileage style.


And therein like KIA’s potential challenge.     The Niro doesn’t scream “Hybrid”.

It barely even mentions it.   So while it’s an attractive, sensible, economical package, have hybrids really been selling to that market?   Or, instead, has the appeal been to those who want to display their “Green Card” in the most visible way possible?


We’ll soon see.


A Niro will set you back somewhere between the low $20’s to around $30,000….depending upon trim level.     And you can expect somewhere between 40 and 50 MPG according to the EPA, although a team of professional drivers recently set a World Record of 76.6 MPG between Los Angeles and New York.


I believe it, as I got an indicated 60 MPG on a couple of occasions.


Usually, tho’, I got high 40’s in the regular “Eco” setting….and high 30’s in “Sport”.


“Sport”, BTW, delivers a very spirited ride.  Use Sport in traffic, and shift to Eco on the freeway, and you should get mid-40’s mileage….AND performance.


Our test Niro was KIA’s “Touring” version…the roughly $30,000 version with darned near everything.    Heated and cooled perforated memory seating, heated steering wheel, big sunroof, 18” alloys, concealed storage and more.    Yesterday’s luxury cars would be embarrassed by the level of content that KIA gives you today for around 30 thousand.


Compared to it’s main competitors, KIA’s new Niro will cost a thousand or more less in base trim….and roughly the same when comparing the top-of-the-line models.    Count of getting a couple more MPG, too.   The biggest difference, tho’, is that the Niro looks a bit more “normal”, if you will.


If you’re looking for a fashionable little 5-door crossover that gets outstanding mileage, and you don’t care if neighbors know whether or not you’re “Green”, KIA’s new Niro deserves a good look.


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