While SUVs may never really overtake cars as the go-to vehicle around the world and within North America, it’s becoming apparent that a large and growing percentage of car-buyers are looking into SUVs as their daily vehicle. They can basically do everything a car can, but with added versatility in the form of increased cargo space and ground clearance. One of the main draws for people looking into getting a sedan is the fact that they will usually come with some great fuel economy numbers attached, but as technology continues to improve, we’re seeing SUVs matching many sedans in those regards. Take the 2020 Kia Niro, for example. Although complete specs haven’t yet been released, we can assume the upcoming Niro from Kia will retain similar specs to the 2019 models. Specifically, the exceptionally high MPG numbers that got up to 52 city and 49 highway. There aren’t even many cars that can boast those numbers. Granted, the Niro is actually a crossover SUV, so it has a lot more similarities to a sedan than a typical SUV.
If Kias are new to you, or you don’t know much about the Kia Niro, then let me give you a quick rundown. The Kia Motors Corporation, or Kia, is a South Korean car company based out of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. It is the second-largest automotive manufacturer in South Korea, while Hyundai is the largest. However, it’s interesting to note that Hyundai owns a percentage (above 30%) of Kia. Still, their vehicles and branding are different, and they operate independently from each other.
Kia was initially marked in North America for as having cheaper, sometimes “plasticky” vehicles, but over the years, that perception has changed dramatically, and the company is now seen as a rising contender within the automotive industry. With consistent displays for many years from vehicles like the Optima and Sorento and splashy intros from the all-new Telluride and recently released Stinger, Kia is making waves. Insert the hybrid-electric Niro, and you’re looking at a very respectable lineup of vehicles.
Pricing and Features
As mentioned, we don’t yet have the full spec sheet, but we’ve been able to piece together some different bits of information to keep you informed on the new 2020 Kia Niro.
The Kia Niro was first released in 2017, and it continues its production run today with the 2020 model. Pricing numbers are slated to be released early this year, which should be just about anytime now. Still, going off of the 2019 model prices, you can expect pricing for the new models to remain largely the same from bottom to top trim. For the 2019 hybrids, the MSRPs were $23,490 (FE) and $32,250 (Touring). For the plug-in hybrids, MSRPs were $23,900 (LX) and $35,200 (EX Premium). And with the EVs, $38,500 (EX) and $44,500 (EX Premium). Overall, we are expecting the new 2020 Kia Niro prices to be very similar to the 2019 model.
As briefly mentioned in the pricing above, you can expect the three different types of Niro, in the form of a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and an EV. Changes are coming to the hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, but the EV model will remain mostly untouched. The hybrid Niro continues to be powered by a 1.6L four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor that has up to 139 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. You can expect about 50 mpg of combined (city and highway) fuel economy. However, as you add more equipment and weight, the fuel economy will decrease slightly, as is the case with the top-level Touring trim. The plug-in variant comes with a 1.6L 4-cylinder engine and a separate electric motor for a combined 104 hp and 109 lb-ft of torque. This engine will give you a 46 mpg fuel economy rating, although you’ll be able to travel up to 26 miles on electric power only. The Niro EV is powered by a 64-kWh lithium-ion battery that produces up to 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque and gives you an incredible 123 mpg (electric) on the highway and an overall 239 miles of range.
On the exterior, the Niro receives new headlights and a new grille, plus the interior gets a boost to the touchscreen options. The former standard 7-inch display has been swapped with an 8-inch unit, and you now have the option to include a large 10.25-inch touchscreen to replace the standard fare, making it even easier to navigate the display controls. If you want a more premium audio experience, you now have the optional addition of a Harman Kardon premium audio system.
The Niro has always had a stylish and sporty feel to it, even though it’s not necessarily the quickest vehicle around. Still, since it’s made of lightweight materials and includes a Sport setting drive mode, it feels faster than its horsepower implies. Add in the soon-to-be-released optional paddle shifters and regenerative braking control, and you have a fun, fuel-efficient compact crossover.
Along with some fun driving, it’s essential to have advanced safety and driver-assist features as well. The 2019 Kia Niro included many features, depending on the trim level, like Front & Rear Parking Assist System, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist System, Autonomous Emergency Braking w/ Pedestrian Detection, Smart Cruise Control, and Forward Collision Warning System. The 2020 Kia Niro adds on features like High-Beam Assist, Lane-Following, and Lane-Keeping Assist. These features are extremely useful in keeping you and your family safe in the car.
Other features include the addition of mood lighting, which is available in six different colors, and new wheel designs. Unfortunately, there is no AWD capability on the Kia Niro, which makes it less competitive with similar hybrid vehicles that include this capability. Still, if you have no need for AWD, then the 2020 Kia Niro looks like a great option for you if you’re looking for a versatile SUV with fantastic fuel economy ratings.
Kia Looking Promising
The recent years have shown a lot of promise for Kia Motors, especially with their continual releases of new and updated vehicles all the time. More vehicles have joined the lineup, including the Stinger, Niro, Telluride, and Seltos. Plus, the availability of hybrid or all-electric models continues to be expanded upon, with the 2021 Soul EV being one of the soon-to-be latest released models. As more consumers look for variety, style, and affordability for their next car, vehicles like the Niro will stand out as very competitive options. The Niro doesn’t overdo it on the design choices, you’re saving a lot of money at the gas pump, and it has the premium and advanced features you either want or need. There are a lot of cars and SUVs out there, but this one is a real winner.
It’s clear that Kia is going places. It’s already become a popular brand choice amongst consumers worldwide, and with updated vehicles like the 2020 Kia Niro, the popularity is only going to increase even more. It can be tough trying to move into a fuel-efficiency market where vehicles like the Toyota Prius have reigned for decades, but it looks as though Kia will do just fine. Stay tuned for more updates about the 2020 Kia Niro and other vehicles as additional information is released from the manufacturers.