Kia are looking to challenge Toyota in the hybrid market with the all-new Niro, a dedicated compact crossover with subtle styling.
Using the same running gear as the Hyundai Ioniq, Kia’s bet against the likes of the latest Toyota Prius fell in the hands of Consumer Report’s Mark Quincy, who found it quite smooth to drive, but not as agile around corners as the Ford C-Max and Fusion hybrids.
However, it compensates by making a quiet transition between electric and gas engine power, and if one goes easy on the throttle, then the Niro can also be driven on electricity alone, at relatively low speeds.
On the outside, the vehicle follows the brand’s latest design language, and the only thing that gives away its hybrid identity is the ‘EcoHybrid’ badge on the tailgate, while in the cabin, it has a layout familiar to other Kia products, with easy to master controls.
There are also many driver aids offered on the Niro, including blind spot warning, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control, but they do not coming as standard on all trim lines, and this is reflected in the crossover’s starting price, which sits at around $1,700 less than the equivalent Prius.