When Kia unveiled its concept Niro, eco-warriors rejoiced. The unique standalone crossover hybrid is debuting for the 2017 model year, so if you’re a consumer who cares about the planet, here are a few reasons to love the Kia Niro.
It’s Part of a Brand New Segment
Rather than opt for a Prius-like hybrid, Kia decided to do something different. The Niro is unlike any hybrid vehicle ever seen, so it’s paving the way for what should be a highly popular niche. Crossover vehicles have remained popular for more than a decade now, and it seems only natural that an automaker like Kia would seek to combine crossover styling with hybrid technology.
This new “hybrid utility vehicle” is based on a dedicated eco-car platform using high-strength steel that’s strong and lightweight, giving it a car-like feel without sacrificing the sports utility practicality. In original concepts, the Niro had gullwing doors, bulging wheel arches, and neon highlights, but Kia has scrapped all these designs to present something more practical for the everyday driver – and that’s a good thing.
You Can’t Beat the Fuel Economy
With its new gas-electric setup, Kia has targeted a 50-mpg combined fuel economy rating for the Niro. That’s an impressive gas mileage for any vehicle, let alone a small crossover. We won’t know exact numbers, of course, until the car hits dealership lots and receives the proper testing, but it’s safe to assume this is going to be the best crossover utility vehicle in terms of gas mileage. Autotrader has already tested the car on Korean country roads and seen a return of 44 to 46 miles per gallon, and that was achieved with more extreme road conditions.
The Drive is Amazing
One thing the Kia Niro certainly has going for it is that it’s fun to drive. Most people assume hybrid cars are small and underpowered, and that may have once been the case, but with this new crossover hybrid segment, Kia has pulled out all the stops to create a vehicle that has plenty of oomph. The Niro’s transmission is surprisingly smooth, offering a sportier feel than you may expect. There’s even a Sport mode to up the ante if you’re feeling adventurous.
The Niro also features smooth regenerative brakes and a secure handling. Simply put, it’s noticeably faster than your average hybrid car, and when you couple that with the fact that its exterior design is intentionally “un-hybrid,” you may forget you’re driving a hybrid vehicle altogether.
Naturally, though, the Niro isn’t a sports car, so expect its horsepower to fall somewhere between 120 and 140 hp, which is more than adequate for most drivers. Those figures aren’t athletic, though, so the Niro’s towing capabilities will be limited. Despite this drawback, the Niro is a great choice for anyone craving better gas mileage without having to give up their preference for crossover vehicles.
If you’re in the market for a new car, keep an eye out for the 2017 Kia Niro. It’s definitely worth the wait.
“2016 Kia Niro” via Flickr by janitors. Used with permission via CC BY 2.0 | cropped from original