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What's New for 2018?
Quite a few things are new for the 2018 Kia Niro. First and foremost, Kia is introducing the all-new plug-in hybrid variant, which prices just below the Optima's plug-in variant. Also new for 2018 is a standard auto-dimming rearview mirror on the EX. The Advanced Technology package now includes Lane Keep Assist. The Touring trim also gets a series of updates, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and HID headlights. The Touring Graphite Edition is brand-new and includes a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat and a stellar Harmon Kardon sound system.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2018 Kia Niro – The Pros
1. Swift Acceleration
One of the most noteworthy aspects of the 2018 Kia Niro is its quick acceleration. When flipped into Sport mode, the Niro can go from 0 to 60 mph about a second faster than the Toyota Prius, making it one of the quicker vehicles in its class.
2. The FE's Fuel Efficiency
While it can't quite beat the Prius, the Niro does get an impressive fuel economy of 52 mpg city and 49 mpg highway on its base FE trim. While the higher-level trims don't do as well on fuel, the FE is the way to go if fuel efficiency is your top priority.
3. Non-Traditional Appearance
The 2018 Kia Niro doesn't look like your average hybrid model. It looks far more similar to the gas-powered crossover hatchbacks that you see on the market. It has an athletic exterior and is quite contemporary in its overall design.
4. Plenty of Interior Space
While some vehicles in this segment struggle with space, the Kia Niro has a rather spacious cabin. The driver and front seat passenger will have no problem getting comfortable, and even taller individuals can fit into the rear seats with ease, as there is plenty of leg and head space.
5. A Good List of Features on the Base Trim
The base FE trim has a surprisingly long list of desirable standard features. These features include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a 7.0-inch touchscreen display, Driver Mode Select, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
6. The Decked-Out Touring Trim
The line-topping Touring trim is quite luxurious. It is decked out with a power-sunroof, power-folding heated side mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a rear USB charger. Although you will pay more for these features, it is worth it if you privilege high-tech gadgets over everything else.
7. Numerous Driver Assist Features
There are plenty of driver assist features to be found on the 2018 Kia Niro. Optional on the EX and LX and standard on the Touring are forward collision warning, lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control. Additionally, blind spot monitoring is standard on the EX and Touring.
8. Transitions Well Between Power
The Kia Niro transitions smoothly between hybrid and gas power. In fact, it is almost impossible to notice when the vehicle is switching over. When it transitions between EV and hybrid mode, the switch is unnoticeable.
9. The EV's Range
The Niro EV has a range that keeps pace with the Ioniq at 124 miles on one charge. The plug-in offers a decent 26 all-electric range, but the Niro EV is definitely the way to go if you want to rely more on electric power.
The Niro is a more affordable alternative to the Kia Optima's hybrid variants. It also packs a good amount of reasonably-priced stand-alone and package options into the mix. Overall, it is a smart buy for the price regardless of which model you choose.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2018 Kia Niro – The Cons
1. Excessive Noise From the Tires
One of the most noticeable issues drivers face on the 2018 Kia Niro is that the tires produce an excessive amount of noise. This doesn't completely compromise the ride quality, but it is present when taken up to highway speeds and could be annoying for drivers who want total peace and quiet.
2. Inferior Brakes
For some reason, the Niro's brakes just don't feel as comfortable and secure as they should. When the vehicle is being driven under everyday circumstances, the brakes feel fine when applied. However, when forced to come to a panic stop from 60 mph, the pedal goes all the way to the floor. The stopping distance is a very disappointing and slightly alarming 129 feet. Some trucks have shorter stopping distances, so this is truly an issue that Kia needs to iron out in future models.
3. Wind Noise
In addition to the copious amount of noise generated by the tires when put under pressure, there is a bit of wind noise that filters into the vehicle. It seems to come mostly from the front side-view mirrors when you take the vehicle up to highway speeds. It isn't a complete deal-breaker, but the noise is a little bit intrusive for the driver and front seat passenger.
How it Stacks up to the Competition:
2018 Kia Niro vs. 2018 Hyundai Ioniq
The 2018 Hyundai Ioniq hybrid variant has a chic and contemporary design. It also gets a best-in-class fuel economy of 58 combined mpg. Also, it has a respectable electric-only range of 124 miles, which is said to be upped to over 200 miles in future models. However, the Ioniq EV model has a battery that impinges on cargo space, and the cabin isn't quite as spacious as some of its competitors.
2018 Kia Niro vs. 2018 Toyota Prius
The 2018 Toyota Prius is, as always, a top contender in the hybrid segment. This vehicle gets excellent fuel economy regardless of which model you buy, and, for being such a small vehicle, is incredibly spacious. On the downside, it, too, suffers from wind and road noise intrusion at higher speeds. It is unfortunately quite slow to accelerate.
The 2018 Kia Niro might not be the immediate choice for a new hybrid variant, but it absolutely deserves some consideration. While it doesn't match the Ioniq's fuel efficiency, it is a budget-friendly alternative that provides great acceleration and a long list of excellent standard features.
• Why buy a 2017 Kia Niro? w/ pros vs cons