When it comes to hybrid compact crossovers, very few offerings throughout the automotive industry are held in such high regard as the Kia Niro. Each year this model continues to impress us and drivers all around the world who are interested in driving one of the best hybrid vehicles on the road, and the 2020 Kia Niro is no exception. Much like years prior, the Niro comes in three different variations, these being an EV, which is a completely electrical powered, a hybrid, and a plug-in hybrid. It’s worth noting however that the EV did not receive the same enhancements for this year and remains more or less identical to last year’s offering while the hybrid and plug-in hybrid’s upgrades, for the most part, are mostly cosmetic which helps differentiate the new models from the previous year.
What’s New and What Remained?
Among these upgraded features in store for the 2020 Kia Niro includes dual LED daytime running lights, a diamond pattern grille that looks stunning, and some new headlights and fog lamps. Wheels come in both 16 and 18-inch sizes, and every Kia Niro now comes standard with an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen system. The screen has been upgraded from the 2019’s 7-inch screen and will provide some excellent quality improvements whenever you’re on the road. This infotainment system allows for easy connectivity to your smartphones, thanks to the implementation of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Additionally, you can add a SiriusXM radio subscription or opt for a navigation system built into your 8-inch touch screen.
Powering the new 2020 Kia Niro are the same engines that were found in the 2019 Niro so you can expect performance to be much of the same. The engine that comes standard in both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants is a 1.6L 4-Cylinder Kappa III engine. This engine works in tandem with an electric motor, which adds an extra 43 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque that results in your Kia Niro having a combined power output of 139 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The base hybrid Niro for 2020 achieves an EPA-rating of 52 MPG in the city and 49 MPG on the highway, which we believe is very respectable mileage.
For those interested in a fully electric vehicle, we were impressed by the power output of last year’s EV model and believe the 2020 rendition will be no different. The battery-powered electric motor found standard on the base Kia Niro EV can output 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque, which is rather impressive when considering this vehicle relies solely on electricity. Speaking of electricity, this electric motor outputs 170 kW of power and outputs 360 volts. The EPA hasn’t released ratings yet for the 2020 Kia Niro EV, but if the 2019 Niro EV is anything to go by, then the vehicle should be able to travel up to 239 miles on a full charge.
One of the features we’re excited to see returning to the both the 2020 Kia Niro and Niro EV vehicles is Regenerative Braking which is a system that is able to reserve power that has been captured when you slow down your vehicle’s speed and uses this power to recharge the built-in lithium-ion battery. Also included on the Niro is a dual-clutch transmission which, when paired with the aforementioned 1.6L 4-cylinder gasoline engine and accompanied electric motor, results in quite a smooth ride.
Impressive Safety Features
What you’ll be pleased to hear is that the Kia Niro is not only safe for the environment but does an applicable job at keeping you and your passengers safe as well. A couple of features that are appearing first on the 2020 Niro include automatic high-beam control, and Kia has implemented a new adaptive cruise control system, which is essentially cruise control that remains active while you’re in heavy traffic and will stop and accelerate again without any additional input from the driver. Making a return from the 2019 Niro are features such as Blind-Spot Detection (BSD), a Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS), Front and Rear Park Assist System (FRPAS), and lastly an implementation of Smart Cruise Control (SCC).
What BSD does is gives the Niro the ability to detect if an object or any vehicle is approaching your blind-spot and will send out an auditory and visual warning message to help retain awareness of your surroundings. The FCWS is very helpful and is another system that gives both visual and auditory alerts if it detects anything that may cause a potential hazard in your path and can certainly help prevent any accidental front end collisions.
FRPAS will prove to be extremely beneficial, especially if you experience parallel parking more often than not in your daily routine. The Kia Niro utilizes ultrasonic sensors that have been implemented into both the front and rear bumpers to help enhance your safety by sending out warnings if you happen to get just a little too close to another vehicle or an object nearby. SCC will be very helpful for you if cruise control is something you often use while driving. What’s so smart about SCC is that it features a system that will automatically accelerate or decelerate your speed in order to maintain a certain distance from any vehicle ahead of you.
Taking safety even further with the Kia Niro is an iso-structure constructed design that is built out of over 50% high strength steel and contains a large number of airbags throughout the cabin. This includes front seat-mounted side airbags, dual-front, and full-length side curtain airbags that will certainly help protect you and your passengers from any danger. The Kia Niro also has a Traction Control System (TCS), which Kia claims will reduce wheel spin while you accelerate. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is also built-in to the Niro which will help the overall stability of the vehicle through various conditions, and Kia claims you can expect better and consistent braking performance thanks to the integration of Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD.) Finally, the addition of an anti-lock Braking System (ABS) can be very useful and can help you maintain control and avoid skidding in harsher driving conditions.
Going From Here
We did like what we saw from the 2020 Kia Niro as it is a perfect example of something not being broken, so there is no reason trying to innovate just yet. The additions to next year’s Niro are where it matters for the most part, and we were very pleased with the additions Kia has described. The Kia Niro clearly remains a solid contender in the race for the best hybrid crossover on the market, and we are excited to see where things go from here.
For a hybrid crossover, we think you’ll be very impressed with the power that Kia has been able to achieve alongside the respectable mileage you can achieve with the Niro. One thing about Kia that we believe is worth mentioning to you is the warranty they offer alongside your purchase of a Kia vehicle. These warranties include a 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year/60,000 mile basic warranty. No matter what, Kia will make sure that you’re satisfied with the vehicle you’re driving and is one of many reasons they continue to prove their commitment to excellent vehicles year after year.