Review and Test Drive: 2018 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium

By Paul Riegler on 23 November 2018
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The 2018 Niro Plug-in Hybrid is the latest edition to Kia’s Niro line of hybrids. For those unfamiliar with it, the Niro itself was introduced in 2016 and a plug-in hybrid was launched in 2017 in the United Kingdom and 2018 in the United States.

The Niro is a subcompact hybrid utility vehicle that prides itself on not looking like a hybrid. Indeed, Kia markets it as the “un-hybrid.” The PHEV is similar to the standard Niro hybrid, but it comes with an 8.9 kWh battery that can keep the car going 26 miles (42 kilometers) on AER, or all-electric range, before switching over to normal hybrid operation, at which point you’ll be looking at 46 mpg (5.1 l/100 km). Another bonus in the Niro’s favor is that it costs less than most hybrids.

Kia describes the Niro as a crossover SUV but it’s more of a five-door hatch, given fairly low ground clearance and the lack of an all-wheel drive option. It comes in three trim levels: the base LX, the EX which adds some safety features, and our tester, the EX Premium which includes leather upholstery and premium audio.

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DRIVING THE 2018 KIA NIRO PHEV EX PREMIUM

All Niros with the EX Premium trim level come fully loaded and that includes heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel. Indeed, there are no factory options available.

The leather seats are comfortable and firm, and the Niro is well connected, with support for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Google Assistant.

The Niro shines in the rear passenger compartment, where it has more legroom and headroom than one might expect and – with the rear seats folded down – still plenty of cargo space.

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