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2020 Kia Niro Pros vs Cons

Why Buy a 2020 Kia Niro?
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

Are You Considering a 2020 Kia Niro? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

If you are searching for a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, then you have definitely come across mention of the Kia Niro. But what does the new 2020 Kia Niro have to offer? Is it as good as its rivals? It will be released in the spring of 2020, and what we know right now is that the front fascia is getting an overhaul and that there will be a plethora of new technology inside of the cabin. Of course, you will still have to deal with having a small cargo area and Eco mode feeling pretty sluggish.

What's New for 2020?

As already mentioned, the 2020 Kia Niro receives a redesigned front fascia. The grille, headlights, and fog lights have all been updated for the model year. Also, a sleek 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display is now available on higher trim levels, and the adaptive cruise control system gains more advanced functions. All in all, these are some good changes that Kia is making to the Niro's line-up and will likely attract more buyers for higher trim levels.

Ten Reasons You May Like the 2020 Kia Niro – The Pros

1. Excellent Fuel Economy

You get an excellent fuel economy from this hybrid vehicle. The 2020 Kia Niro has a base trim that is able to get a total of 51 mpg in the city and 46 mpg on the highway. Not bad, right? Even the line-topping Touring and S Touring get 46 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. Overall, it is a strong showing for this segment, but the base trim is definitely the way to go if you want the top fuel economy numbers.

2. It Is Affordably Priced

Starting in the low $20,000 range and going up to the mid $30,000 range, it is safe to say that this hybrid model is reasonably priced. Others can go much higher and gouge you with all the add-ons you will need to get to make it feel well-equipped. The Niro is already well-equipped, even on the base trim, but, of course, there are always extras that can be tacked on. But Kia keeps those prices reasonable too.

3. Sport Mode Gets Spunky

Eco mode can be a bit of a drag, but when you switch it over to Sport mode, you get a pretty spunky ride. You will likely want to keep it in Sport mode when going along on the highway or taking high-speed back roads. You do lose a bit of fuel efficiency, but for the performance you get, it is worth the hit.

4. Better Handling Than Other Hybrids

Handling can be problematic for some hybrids in this class. But this is not the case for the Niro. It actually handles pretty well in most conditions. It is basically built more along the lines of a hatchback and not an SUV, so the outcome is that it feels more like you are driving a sedan. It feels like it has a low center of gravity because it does carry its weight low thanks to the placement of the battery underneath the rear passenger seat. The Niro maintains composure while rounding through all kinds of turns, and you will never feel like the wheels are about to leave the pavement.

5. Climate Control is Easy to Use

In some newer vehicles, climate control seems designed to confuse drivers. The Niro has climate controls that are logically laid out along the dash and are all appropriately and clearly labeled. Since it is a dual climate control system, you get a nice, even air flow throughout the entire cabin. Heat and air conditioning each pump out quickly and will stay at the right temperature. The heated front seats get pretty warm too, which will feel fantastic during those cold winter months.

6. Everything is Straightforward

The climate controls are not the only ones that are logically laid out. It looks as though all of the controls are well sorted out. One of the coolest features that you will undoubtedly enjoy using is the gauge cluster that brings up a prompt and shows your current selections and others that you can make if you want to. This makes it easy to switch the wiper and headlight settings. Everything is placed easily within the driver's reach and is well-labeled. The only thing that has a short learning curve is the infotainment system.

7. Entering and Exiting is Simple

Sliding in and out of the cabin is going to be easy for most people. The doors are able to open out to almost 90 degrees, leaving plenty of space for getting in and out. The step-over is small enough that even those with mobility issues should be able to make it in without a problem.

8. Expansive Outward Visibility

Outward visibility is extensive from the driver's seat. The front pillars are raked, but despite that, you get quite the broadened view out of it. The rear roof pillars are slightly thick and create blind spots, but even those are fairly minor. The rear seat's headrests do not get in the way when you look directly out the back, and you get a good view from the rear view camera.

9. Finding a Comfy Driving Position is Quick

Sit down, strap in, and find your perfect driving position. The steering wheel is tilting and telescoping, so you can move it around quite a bit. If you decide to get the available power-adjustable driver's seat, you can easily adjust it to your liking. That seat also has height adjustment and two-way power lumbar support, which really do an excellent job of lending comfort and support.

10. A Lot of Infotainment and Safety Features are Standard

For the price you pay, you get a lot of standard infotainment and safety features included on the Niro. Smartphone app integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay comes standard, and you can still opt for a lot of premium features like the Harman Kardon sound system. The newly available 10.25-inch touchscreen display offers a nicer set-up than ever before and is definitely going to be tempting to get.

Reasons You May Not Like the 2020 Kia Niro – The Cons

1. The Brakes Get Weak When Trying to Make an Emergency Stop

The biggest issue that people will likely take with the Niro is that the brakes can feel pretty squishy when you have to quickly step on them. Making a panic stop in this vehicle is not ideal, even though these are not the worst regenerative brakes in the world. In normal circumstances, they do okay. However, it takes 129 feet for the Niro to come to a panic stop from 60 mph. That is longer than the average for this segment. The brakes need some tweaking if Kia wants the Niro to become a top performer in its class.

2. Steering Takes Too Much Effort

You will not get a lot of feedback coming through the steering system. There is barely any on-center feel, and this will demand a lot more effort than you might feel comfortable giving. You have to always be focused on how the vehicle is tracking, and that just is not typical of a lot of newer vehicles.

3. You Cannot Take It Off-Roading

There is no option for getting all-wheel drive, and given how little ground clearance you get with the Niro, you definitely cannot take this vehicle off of the beaten path. You will have to keep it to the paved roadways unless you want to bottom this car out, and for the price, you probably want to avoid that at all costs. If you need an off-roader, this is not the vehicle for you.

4. Lacks Utility on All Fronts

This vehicle has a serious lack of utility to it, which is not what you would expect for a crossover. There is not a lot of cargo space available, and what is available could use more clever storage elements. You only get 19.4 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in place, and that number maxes out at just 54.5 cubic feet. Quite a few of the Niro's rivals can best that. To top it all off, the LATCH anchors are buried within the seat cushions. That makes getting your child's car safety seat even harder to get strapped in.

How It Stacks Up to the Competition:

2020 Kia Niro vs. 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

As far as competitors go, the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid ranks high on the list. It gets an excellent fuel efficiency, and the all-electric range is good too. And Hyundai offers extremely generous warranty coverage while loading you with standard features. On the downside, however, things feel a bit sluggish when you try to get it into full-throttle. There is more road noise than what you should expect, a too-stiff ride quality, and a transmission that is not able to shift too smoothly.

2020 Kia Niro vs. 2020 Toyota Prius

The Niro also gets some stiff competition for the 2020 Toyota Prius. The Prius has long held a top position in the hybrid world, and for good reason. You get around 50 mpg from this vehicle, and even when you are running on the gasoline engine, things stay pretty quiet inside of the cabin. Also, you can get all-wheel drive on the 2020 Prius - a nice bonus! On the downside, the instrument panel is not within the driver's direct line of sight, so it can be a bit distracting. The ride quality also gets bumpier than one would like when going over broken-up surfaces.


The 2020 Kia Niro is becoming a stronger competitor in its segment. There are a lot of features that get packed into this vehicle, and there are a few exciting changes that have been made for the model year. While it gets a great fuel economy and has a certain amount of ease to its controls, the Niro's driving performance is somewhat lackluster. Eco mode is dull, Normal is only slightly better, but Sport mode is really fun. The Niro needs to be a little bit more 'hit' and less 'miss' in order for it to become a top contender in the hybrid segment.

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