The 2017 Kia Niro is the latest addition to Kia’s popular vehicle lineup. It’s unique in that it’s the company’s first true subcompact crossover. Of course, there is the Sportage and Sorento, but these are all full-sized SUVs, which is why the subcompact crossover is so popular. It’s a car that looks like an SUV but lacks the same size, weight, and price.
The Kia Soul EV is the closest thing Kia has to a electric crossover vehicle. However, due to its boxy appearance, it only appeals to a small part of the market.
It is time for Kia to enter the subcompact crossover market, and their Niro model will be an excellent candidate. In addition, the 2017 Kia Niro is a hybrid vehicle, which adds some exciting value to this new crossover.
The Kia Niro was formally introduced at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, with a design that “doesn’t shout hybrid,” according to Kia’s vice president of product planning. We think the VP was referring to a hybrid’s lack of aesthetics or boxy appearance. However, not all hybrids look like that anymore.
Anyway, the 2017 Kia Niro looks nice, though not very thrilling or ground-breaking. The car’s front end has the iconic tiger-nose grille, which is relatively large in comparison to previous Kia vehicles with it. Then there are headlights, which are a pair of sharply pointed, somewhat vertical units.
The foglights are located in the lower section of the car, on a black air vent with two silver borders. Finally, two vertical air vents are located on either side of the car’s front, directly in front of the wheels.
The side differentiates itself by displaying a standard SUV profile. A chrome line is added above the side windows, and the bottom door panels have a deep crease. The wheel arches are perfectly spherical and made of a black plastic material. That’s a pity, since we think the 2017 Kia Niro would have looked much better with body-colored wheel arches.
We can detect some design cues from the Kia Sportage in the back. The small rear window and license plate area, as well as the high-positioned taillights, are easily identifiable. The taillight pattern, tailgate spoiler, and body-colored bumper section with metal inserts are among the new features.
There are seven exterior color options to choose from!
The inside seems clean and clutter-free, which is a difficult thing to do. The inside, like the outside, isn’t especially spectacular, which isn’t necessarily a negative thing given that it does suffice. The modern design of the interior is most noticeable, with glossy black and white inserts and a minimized dashboard. Then there’s the instrument cluster, which adds some flare to the interior.
The infotainment screen, like the door panels and center console, is attractive and large. The screen measures 7 inches and is easy to use. Furthermore, the interior has been completely insulated to exclude any noise from the engine, road, or tires.
Because the 2017 Kia Niro is a HUV (Hybrid Utility Vehicle), it will have a traditional engine as well as an electric motor and battery under the hood. The battery is actually hidden behind the rear seat floor. The gasoline engine of the car is a 1.6 liter Kappa four cylinder engine with 103 horsepower. The electric motor has 43 horsepower and is powered by a lithium-polymer battery with a capacity of 1.56 kWh.
The combined output of the motor and engine is 143 horsepower, and it is mated to a high efficiency six-speed double clutch gearbox and an all-wheel drive system. The use of these high-tech features stems from Kia’s desire to produce a “un-hybrid” driving experience.
The software used to operate the infotainment system is the most latest edition of the award-winning UVO tech, which was previously featured in the tech specs of the Kia Sportage. The system is compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Aside from that, there are the UVO eServices, which include fourteen telematics services, Wi-Fi, apps like Soundhound and Pandora, and 8 GB of music storage.
Then there’s the advanced driver assistance and convenience technology, which Kia hasn’t forgotten about. Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist, and Advanced Cruise Control are standard features. Finally, there’s Lane Departure Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking.
Eco-DAS, which stands for Driver Assistance System, is another software package that comes standard on the 2017 Kia Niro. Kia introduces Coasting Guide and Predictive Energy Control for the first time. Coasting Guide ensures optimum fuel efficiency by literally telling the driver when to coast and brake. This is a feature that may frighten some drivers, but it may come in handy if you run low of gas or battery life.
Then there’s Predictive Energy Control, which actively manages energy by using the navigation system and cruise control to assess changes in road quality, ascension, and descension. This allows it to automatically determine when it is optimal to replenish the battery and when it is best to discharge stored energy in order to maximize the car’s overall efficiency.
Price, release and sale date
The 2017 Kia Niro FE starts at $22,890 in the United States. The LX is one trim level higher and starts at $23,200, with the EX following at $25,700. Finally, the Touring Launch Edition and Touring, which start at $28,000 and $29,650, respectively, are available. The Niro went on sale in the first quarter of 2017.
In Europe, the Kia Niro went on sale in November of 2016. The car is well-liked by the general public, as seen by higher-than-expected sales figures. In November, 23,000 Niros were requested, with Kia only able to provide 6,000 at the time. The 2017 Kia Niro has a starting price of €24,990. (Germany).