2018 Kia Niro Review
Pros & Cons
- Impressive fuel economy from the base trim model
- One of the more affordable hybrids in the segment
- Batteries are hidden under the rear seat and don't affect cargo space
- All-wheel drive isn't offered despite crossover styling
- Feels lazy when driving in the default Eco mode
- Less cargo space than most rivals
- Feature-laden Touring trim sacrifices fuel efficiency
List Price Range
$16,990 - $23,000
Used Niro for SaleSee all for sale
Which Niro does Edmunds recommend?
If fuel efficiency is your No. 1 priority, the base Niro FE is the way to go, with fuel economy of 50 mpg combined . But the sweet spot of cost and comfort is the EX trim, with added features such as push-button ignition, heated seats, and blind-spot and cross-traffic monitoring. We'd also spring for more driver aids with the optional Advanced Technology package. But for those who want "the kitchen sink," there's the Premium package, which equips the EX with everything the Touring trim has but retains the more fuel-efficient 16-inch wheels.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Edmunds' instrumented testing confirmed that the Niro is quicker than its rival, the Toyota Prius, by a good margin. But we also found its emergency braking performance to be subpar, and the powertrain tuning on this production model to be far more crude than the model we previously drove.
The Niro may not feel luxurious, but there's a good level of comfort on hand for the daily commute. The seats have sufficient support and powerful heaters, with ventilation available at the EX and Touring levels. The biggest strike is the amount of road noise, which gets tiresome on long drives.
The cabin of the Niro is easy to get in and out of and scores high marks for interior passenger space, driver accommodation and a simple user interface. We might have had a small complaint with rear visibility, but all Niros come with rearview cameras so it's not an issue.
Compared to a small sedan, the Niro offers an appealing amount of utility for its size. But, when compared to other hybrid hatchbacks or crossover SUVs in the class, it doesn't offer quite as much cargo space or clever cabin storage for small items.
The Niro is strong on the technology front, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included as standard equipment and a host of available advanced safety systems that aren't even offered on some cars above its class. The Uvo navigation system could use a design update but functions well.
|Overall||7.0 / 10|
Most helpful consumer reviews
LX 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6AM)
it's not fast. in fact from a stop light you wont beat anyone. im 52, its plenty peppy for me. took it too nashville tn. (frm nyc) first week and a steady 82 mph is easy, no noise. super comfortable, for both front passengers. you need a smart phone with minimum 6.0 platform for the linkup navigation, google music. tech is very advanced. nav is very good, voice command music is still a challenge to get right. dont know if its googles or kias fault. brakes need a good mash for stopping, spongier than any car ive owned. mpg is 50ish local and 47 on long hiway trips. i like this car. my first hybrid. serviced today and there were 3 recalls, all repaired. brakes, hybrid motor, wire harness. this may be a concern to some. my dealership and service dept are very friendly. id buy a kia again.
EX 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6AM)
We had a Soul that was up on lease. We really liked the Soul, but in primarily city driving, the gas mileage was terrible. Having owned 4 Kia vehicles, beginning with a 2001, Kia Rio, the vehicles keep gaining refinement and great features. Build quality is at it's highest level so far. To the Niro, this car is a perfect Soul Replacement. It feels like it rides high like the Soul, but the gas mileage has been better than estimates. We averaged just over 56 mpg, in mixed driving in the first week. It runs so smoothly, the transition between electric and gas are noticeable, but not a hindrance of any kind. While I doubt we'll win a drag race, the car moves so quietly and easily, you can quickly find yourself over the speed limit. We opted for the mid-range EX, because it had all the tech we wanted. The tech package added leather seats and dash trim, but honestly it was way too much car, and the car as we have it is comfortable and has all but emergency braking. The interior craftsmanship is modern and interfaces are easy to use. I feel Edmunds 3 Star rating sells this vehicle way too short. Granted, I'd agree the mpg drop off for the highest trim level is unfortunate, but the EX, with or without the Tech package, provides more than enough comfort and safety features for the average commuter. I honestly can't wait to get another when our 2nd car is ready to be replaced.
EX 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6AM)
Before getting the Niro, we purchased the KIA Soul in 2014. By far, the KIA Soul was worth the price and extremely reliable (140,000 miles and no problems). This made us decide to purchase our next vehicle from KIA. Yet again, we were not disappointed. The value this car has it truly phenomenal, most cars/suvs with this level of features range in the high 35,000's. The MPG is exceptional too; we've been getting 50 mpg which I believe is quite astonishing. For room, it is basically the same size as the KIA Soul. That being said, at 6'4 person like me will be able to fit in the front & back. The one thing I'd say is a negative is the acceleration. It feels like a 4 cylinder. If you don't have a heavy foot though, this will do just fine. We plan on getting another vehicle in about 6 months, and it's definitely going to be another KIA.
Touring 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6AM)
We have only put on 1000 miles to date. Kia thought of everything and we are really enjoying the comfort and gas mileage. I am totally impressed with the headlights...you can see EVERyTHING ahead and at the sides of the roadway and the back up camera is impressive both during the day and more so at night! My wife feels so much more confident changing lanes with the "blind spot" feature. This is our second Kia and we are thrilled.
Features & Specs
Our experts like the Niro models:
- Blind-Spot Monitoring
- Detects and alerts you with visual and audio warnings when a vehicle in the adjacent lane is in your blind spot.
- Smart Cruise Control
- Maintains a set speed and interval to the car ahead and will bring the car to a stop briefly before relinquishing control.
- Lane Keeping Assist
- Identifies lane markings and applies a steering correction if you begin to drift out of your lane.