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If you're looking for a small crossover that's great on gas, check out the 2019 Kia Niro. A hybrid drivetrain enables it to save drivers a lot of money at the pump. You can also take advantage of the Niro's spacious design, which makes it one of the most family-friendly vehicles in the segment. Furthermore, young drivers will especially like the Niro's cool appearance. However, is this crossover a good fit for you?
What's New for 2019?
This year, KIA revamped its UVO infotainment system. A S Touring model also replaces last year's Graphite Edition. No changes were made to the crossover's drivetrain.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2019 Kia Niro – The Pros
1. High Fuel Economy FE Model
All versions of the 2019 Kia Niro offer strong fuel economy. However, the base FE model is especially efficient. Like the rest of the lineup, it comes equipped with a number of fuel-saving technologies. A regenerative braking technology helps replenship the battery pack while you drive. According to the EPA, drivers can expect the Niro FE to deliver a combined 50 mpg. After filling the Niro's tank, you'll be able to cruise up to 500 miles before needing to refuel.
2. Six-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic Transmission
Most of today's other hybrid vehicles come equipped with a continuous variable transmission. While automatic CVTs are great for conserving fuel, they tend to sap some of the vehicle's fun factor. Luckily, the 2019 Kia Niro does not suffer from this problem. It comes equipped with a responsive, six-speed automatic transmission. When you're accelerating in the new Niro, you'll be able to clearly feel the gears shifting.
3. Good Performance in Sport Mode
The Niro's Eco drive mode enables you to save the maximum amount of fuel. Unfortunately, it causes the 2019 Kia Niro to accelerate slower. If you desire a quicker performance, simply activate the Sport mode. When the Sport mode has been turned on, you'll find the Niro to be significantly quicker than hybrids such as the Toyota Prius. Along with the extra kick under the hood comes a more responsive steering feel.
4. Plug-In Hybrid Model
If you happen to live in an urban area, the plug-in hybrid version of the 2019 Kia Niro will prove to be a good choice. Although you won't notice a difference in performance or fuel economy, an all-electric mode sets it apart. You can drive up to 26 miles without burning any gas. This means you may be able to easily run daily errands on a single charge. The best part is it only takes two or three hours to recharge the plug-in hybrid at home.
5. Handles Better Than a SUV
While behind the wheel of the 2019 Kia Niro, it'll feel like you are driving a regular hatchback. It definitely inspires more confidence than a traditional SUV. Although the Niro isn't sporty as crossovers such as the 2019 Mazda CX-3, it does handle quite well. By placing the battery pack beneath the rear seat, Kia was able to enhance the Niro's center of gravity. When taking curves, there's always a good sense of balance.
6. A Cool Appearance
Unlike the hybrid vehicles of yesteryear, the 2019 Kia Niro doesn't look boring and uninspiring. In fact, it actually enables you to make a bold entrance. Sleek projector headlamps and an aerodynamic body help give the Niro an attractive look. A wide stance and available 18-inch wheels accentuate the Niro's sportiness. Featuring an exclusive Platinum Graphite paint color and blacked-out exterior trim, the new S Touring trim certainly has a high coolness factor. Some of the other available colors include Deep Cerulean, Crimson Red, and Metal Stream.
7. Good Comfort for Daily Commuting
The new Niro proves to be a comfortable vehicle for daily commuting. Good padding and solid lumbar support help the front seats to feel relaxing. According to testers, Kia's optional heating and ventilating seat functions work very well. A satisfactory ride quality makes the Niro even more fulfilling. If you need to transport your family and friends, they shouldn't have any issues with the Niro's passenger room.
8. Solid Warranty and a Fair Number of Standard Features
In comparison to today's other hybrids, the 2019 Kia Niro proves to be a competitive value. It comes with a 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. An MSRP of less than $24,000 also makes the Niro a solid bargain. Some of the noteworthy standard features include a 7.0-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, and a backup camera.
9. Above-Average Predicted Reliability
Like the top-selling Toyota Prius, the new Niro has an above-average reliability rating. This is great news for the drivers who want to avoid repeated trips to the repair shop. Remember, parts such as the battery pack and electric motor are all covered by Kia's standard warranty.
10. Updated UVO Infotainment Works Great
You are unlikely to have any performance issues with Kia's UVO infotainment system. Its responsive touch screen never freezes up. You will also enjoy UVO's concise graphics and helpful physical buttons. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are found throughout the Niro lineup.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2019 Kia Niro – The Cons
1. No AWD System Makes It a Less Capable SUV
Kia decided not to offer all-wheel drive on the new Niro. This means the Niro may not suit the needs of drivers facing harsh winters. A low ground clearance also limits the Niro's capabilities in the snow. Furthermore, you shouldn't expect the Niro to deliver a good off-road performance. If you desire a hybrid SUV with all-wheel drive, check out the all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
2. Sport Model Lowers Fuel Economy
A lot of drivers will be tempted to use the Niro's Sport mode. It enables the transmission to shift quicker, which translates to stronger acceleration. However, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Activating the Sport setting causes the hybrid's fuel economy to take a noticeable hit. You definitely will not be able to get up to 50 mpg. If you crave driving fun, check out the non-hybrid Mazda CX-3. It delivers more driving excitement while averaging a combined 31 mpg.
3. No Advanced Safety Features Come Standard
According to the IIHS, the 2019 Kia Niro offers superior impact protection. Unfortunately, it does not come standard with any advanced driving aids. In order to get safety features like automatic braking with pedestrian detection and lane-keep assist, you must step up to at least the LX model. On the bright side, you'll only be paying an extra $300.
4. Plug-In Hybrid Costs More
The plug-in hybrid version's main attribute is its all-electric driving mode. It does not have many other perks over the regular Niro. Prices for the plug-in hybrid start at an estimated $31,500, which is a big difference in cost.
5. Not for Towing
Kia engineered the Niro to conserve fuel. This is not a good SUV for pulling trailers. In fact, the Niro is rated with a maximum towing capacity of less than 1,000 pounds.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition
Before you settle on the new 2019 Kia Niro, be sure to first test drive the new 2019 Toyota RAV4 hybrid. It's expected to be just as reliable. Although the RAV4 Hybrid won't save as much fuel, it does pack a lot more power under the hood. There's also more space inside the RAV4 Hybrid. All-wheel drive is another one of the RAV4 Hybrid's perks. However, don't overlook Kia's superior warranty.
Although the 2019 Honda HR-V isn't a hybrid, its matches up well to the Niro. In terms of fuel economy, expect the HR-V to deliver just over 30 mpg. While Honda HR-V buyers will sacrifice some fuel economy, they will in return be rewarded with a vehicle that's slightly more engaging to drive. A much lower MSRP also makes the HR-V a fulfilling option.
When looking for a hybrid vehicle, the 2019 Toyota Prius is likely to cross your mind. While the Prius is a solid option, you may be turned off by the hatchback's polarizing exterior styling. You'll also have more fun driving the Kia Niro.
If you hate the thought of driving a gas-guzzling SUV, the 2019 Kia Niro will prove to be a great alternative. Over time, this hybrid crossover will save you a lot of extra money in fuel. While activating the Sport mode livens up the Niro's performance, fuel economy will plummet. You also can't use the 2019 Kia Niro for taking off-road excursions.
• Why buy a 2018 Kia Niro? w/ pros vs cons