The 2018 Kia Niro is more appropriate to be called a hatchback, although officially classified as a hybrid SUV. SUVs and crossovers usually have extra ground clearance and can be equipped with all-wheel drive or even off-road capabilities. The Niro does not have one of these features.
The 2018 Kia Niro’s main appeal comes from the modern design that does not show a “hybrid”, as well as a relatively vibrant powertrain that makes it able to surpass the Toyota Prius with EPA fuel economy 50 Mpg in combined city and highway driving.
One surprising thing from the 2018 Kia Niro is how it allocates interior space. Compared to his brother, Hyundai Ioniq, the Niro has a smaller cargo area. But the rear passengers will enjoy a little more leg room and headroom, and most of that space can be converted into a cargo space when the rear seat is folded.
And like many Kia models, Niro offers many good features for money, especially on higher trims. But if you really need a real hybrid crossover, we suggest to check out the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Kia Niro is a five-passenger hybrid subcompact crossover SUV. Its available in five trims level: FE, LX, EX, Touring Graphite Edition and Touring.
Standard features for the base FE includes 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, six-way manually adjustable front seats, selectable drive modes, a 60/40-split folding rear seats, Bluetooth, a Uvo eServices app suite, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a rearview camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration and a four-speaker sound system with a USB port.
The 2018 Kia Niro LX trim adds keyless ignition and entry, roof rails, rear LED taillights, a rear center armrest with cupholders and an underfloor storage tray for the rear cargo area. The optional Advanced Technology package for the LX includes LED daytime running lights, foglights, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob.
The 2018 Kia Niro EX gets all the LX trim features along with a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, power-folding and heated side mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, cloth and leather upholstery, a high-gloss black upper console, an additional USB charge port and rear air-conditioning vents. Like the LX trim, all EX options are now bundled into packages. The Advanced Technology package gets the same safety features as the LX but also adds a 10-way power driver’s seat.
A Premium package for the EX trim adds almost all the Touring trim content. It includes a gloss black front grille with chrome trim, xenon headlights, front and rear parking system, a sunroof, a heated steering wheel, driver-seat memory function, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, LED map lights, navigation, an 8-inch touchscreen display, 110-volt power outlet, wireless phone charging, an eight-speaker premium Harmon Kardon sound system. The only item the package doesn’t include is the Touring 18-inch wheels.
The 2018 Kia Niro Touring gets all above content. The only choices are colors and smaller accessories. So if you plan to check all the boxes, you’re best to choose the Touring trim.
Just like the Touring Launch model from last year, the 2018 Kia Niro Touring Graphite Edition is standing between the EX and Touring trims. It’s similar to the EX trim but also adds glossy black 18-inch wheels, a metallic-colored front grille, glossy black roof rails, exclusive Platinum Graphite paint, 10-way power driver’s seat, a premium Harman Kardon audio system and 8-inch touchscreen with navigation. Note, that none of the EX trim packages are available with this trim.
The 2018 Kia Niro is powered by a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor. Together this combination produces a total output of 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sent power to the front wheels.
In performance testing, the 2018 Kia Niro accelerates from 0 60 mph in 8.7 seconds and stopped from 60 mph in 134 feet. The base Kia Niro FE return an impressive EPA fuel economy at 50 mpg combined (52 city/49 highway) but mid-level Niros are rated at 49 mpg combined (51 city/46 highway). The Touring model has the lowest fuel economy rating at 43 mpg combined (46 city/40 highway)
Release Dates and Price
The new 2018 Kia Niro is on sale and has arrived now at dealers. The Rio main competitor includes the Ford C-Max Hybrid, Toyota Prius and RAV4.
Official pricing starts at $23,240 for the base FE. The LX adds $300 for an MSRP of $23,550. EX trim price start at 26,050, while the top range Rio EX at $19,295 for the sedan and $19,595 for the hatchback.