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Since its introduction onto the market in 2017, the Kia Niro has been impressing car gurus and everyday consumers alike. The 2020 model year marks an exciting refresh for the first generation. The 2020 Kia Niro gets a revised front fascia (with new fog lights, headlights, and a re-style grille), a 10.25-inch touchscreen that is available (while the previously optional 8-inch screen is now standard), and an advanced adaptive cruise control system. There is also some new ambient lighting throughout the cabin and new paddle shifters. Automatic high-beam control is also standard now.
Last year's infotainment system was starting to feel kind of clunky, so those who waited it out for the 2020 revamp will be impressed with the new system. The 10.25-inch is definitely worth opting for, even though the 8-inch screen does just fine. Overall, there are a ton of standard features, and there are enough options left over for you to be able to customize your vehicle to your liking.
Of course, this is a hybrid vehicle, so expect to find a lot of hybrid specs on the Niro. And the fuel economy? On the base trim, it is downright impressive and is hard to beat. But the higher trim levels still do well on fuel economy.
The downsides to getting a Niro? The default mode (Eco) feels kind of sluggish. Yeah, sure, you get a better return on fuel by keeping it in this mode, but it does not bode well for highway driving. Also, even though this is a crossover vehicle, you cannot get it with all-wheel drive. You also will not get as much cargo space in the Niro as you would on some of its competitors.
However, the downfalls are outweighed by the positives. But choosing which trim level to buy might be difficult as you have five of them to choose from. There is the base FE, the LX, EX, S Touring, and Touring, all of which have a lot of desirable features and look lovely. So, which one is the best deal for the everyday driver? Read through this trim level comparison to find out. In the end, we will tell you which trim level we think is going to present the best deal to the average consumer looking for a hybrid vehicle.
Compare the 2020 Kia Niro FE vs LX - What is the Difference?
On the 2020 Kia Niro's FE trim, you can take your pick of four different body colors and two interior trim styles. The LX adds a fifth exterior color option and keeps the same two interior trim style options. Both have a gloss black radiator grille with a matte surround and chrome trim. Also, they both have a black fender and rocker rail cladding, a rear spoiler, body-colored exterior side mirrors, body-colored door handles, solar control glass, a sound-absorbing front windshield, privacy glass, variable intermittent front windshield wipers, a rear wiper, heated rear glass with a timer, auto light control, and projector beam headlights. LED positioning lights are standard on both, but on the LX, you can opt for LED daytime running lights. Fog lights are now standard. Also, the LX adds LED rear combination lights.
Both trims ride atop 16-inch alloy wheels with full wheel covers. You will also get a tire mobility kit with each trim level. Take note that the LX gets standard roof rails while they do not come at all on the FE.
On the inside, you will find the standard 8-inch infotainment touchscreen display with AM/FM radio, MP3 playback, and pre-wiring for SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard on every trim level. Both the FE and LX get a 6-speaker sound system, a rear-view camera, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control (with controls, along with those for audio, mounted onto the multi-functional steering wheel), a USB/auxiliary input jack, two 12-volt power outlets up front, a Supervision Meter Cluster with a 4.2-inch LCD trip computer, active eco system, a tilt and telescoping steering column, power door locks, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto windshield defog, and a center console up front that functions as both an armrest and storage bin. Also, you get two front cupholders, a bottle holder on each front door, a seatback pocket on the front passenger's seat, a day and night interior rear-view mirror, ambient cabin lighting, two map lights, and dual illuminated vanity mirrors on the sun visors up front. The upholstery is cloth, and the driver's seat is adjustable 4 ways. There is a 60/40-split folding rear seat that has adjustable headrests and a center armrest.
To all of that, the LX adds options for autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, a forward collision warning system, lane keep assist, and smart cruise control. Standard is the Smart Key feature with an engine immobilizer and push button start. You also get a folding rear center armrest with cupholders built in. You can opt for a cargo cover on both trims, and the LX lets you opt for a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob.
Bear in mind that all of the Niro's trim levels are powered by a standard 1.6-L 4-cylinder engine and full parallel hybrid system. They also get dual continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) and an AC synchronous permanent magnet motor. There is a 240-volt lithium ion polymer battery as well as a dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic. Altogether, there is a combined 139 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The trims on 16-inch wheels get a combined 50 mpg (on the FE) or 49 (on the LX and EX). Those that ride on the 18-inch wheels (on the S Touring and Touring) get 43 mpg combined.
Finally, let's get into safety features. These come standard across the board as well. All trim levels get vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, traction control, brake assist, hill start assist, and a high-line tire pressure monitoring system.
Compare the 2020 Kia Niro LX vs EX - What is the Difference?
If you are looking for more than what the LX trim level offers, then you might want to move up a notch to the mid-level EX. It still offers the same grille but gives you the option of equipping one with a gloss surround instead of matte. It adds integrated turn signals to the side mirrors (which also become heating and power-folding), illuminated door handle pockets, Smart Welcome, an optional power sunroof, optional high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, standard LED daytime running lights, and fog lights.
What about the inside? Well, there are some important changes there too. If the 6-speaker sound system doesn't impress you, you can opt for a Harman Kardon premium sound system with 8 speakers, Clari-Fi, and an integrated subwoofer. An option for front and rear parking assist opens up as well. Lane change assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert all become standard. Options also include a wireless charger and 110-volt inverter. A rear seat USB is standard equipment, as do power windows with one-touch auto-up/down on the front windows, rear vents, a cargo cover, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, cloth/leather mixed upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob, satin chrome interior door handles, and high-gloss black interior accents. There are options on the EX for a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, a driver's seat integrated memory system, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat with 2-way power lumbar support, and leather-trimmed seats.
Compare the 2020 Kia Niro EX vs S Touring - What is the Difference?
The S Touring is focused on sporty elements. Take the exterior, for example. It gets upgraded to a graphite radiator grille with a gloss surround and chrome trim. There are also black roof rails and 18-inch alloy wheels with black finish.
There are some sporty-looking upgrades on the inside, too. The upgraded 10.25-inch touchscreen display comes standard with the voice command navigation system. The 8-speaker Harman Kardon sound system also gets standardized on this trim level. The driver's seat becomes 10-way power-adjustable with 2-way power-adjustable lumbar support.
Other than that, you won't find as many options on the S Touring as you do on the EX. The S Touring is feature-rich but places its emphasis more on a sporty vibe.
Compare the 2020 Kia Niro S Touring vs Touring - What is the Difference?
At last, we have arrived at the top of the 2020 Kia Niro's line-up. The Touring is upscale in appearance with its gloss black radiator grille with gloss surround and chrome trim. A power sunroof comes standard, as do HID headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Inside of the cabin, there are way more standard features. Front and rear parking assist comes equipped, as do autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, the forward collision warning system, lane keep assist, and smart cruise control. The 110-volt inverter and wireless charger come standard, as well as seatback pockets on the front seats, dual LED map lights, a stainless-steel door scuff plate trim, leather seat trim, driver's seat integrated memory, ventilation on the front seats, and a heated steering wheel.
That is the extent of the differences you will find on the Touring trim level, but this trim level definitely comes off as luxurious and sophisticated.
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Which Trim to Choose?
So, which 2020 Kia Niro trim level should you choose? In all honesty, these are each good choices. They get excellent fuel economy and drive pretty well around town. And each one offers something a bit different than the others. The Touring is certainly an attractive trim level despite its higher price, and the FE is going to seem like a smart choice based on its low cost. However, there is a way to go that gets the best deal, and that is with the mid-level EX trim.
The EX sits at a reasonable price - not as cheap as the FE, but certainly not as expensive as the Touring. It offers a good mix of standard and optional features. If you want things like ventilation on the front seats and a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, you can get them for an extra cost. But if you do not need them, then you do not have to worry about paying more to get them.
The EX does give you the nice leather/cloth mixed upholstery, and the look and feel of it is chic yet cozy. You do get a lot of features for the price you pay, like the cargo cover, rear vents, and one-touch auto-up/down power windows. These are the features you should expect to find on a mid-level trim, and Kia does not skimp when it comes to giving the EX just what every driver wants and needs.
• Compare the 2019 Kia Niro Trim Levels