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2018 Kia Niro PHEV Review

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2018 Kia Niro PHEV Review

PORTLAND, Ore. — It looks like such a no brainer. The 2018 Kia Niro PHEV has the physique of somewhat SUV, which is simply the factor that everybody, their mom, brother, and good friend named Phil are clamoring for in the intervening time. The remainder of the plug-in hybrid phase is dominated by slug-formed eco mobiles that ape the Toyota Prius or which are actually a Toyota Prius.

Personally, I do not need to drive a slug. I additionally do not need to cope with bizarre interior controls, weirder interior design or 4-individual again seats. The Niro could be very regular by comparability. Get in, press begin, slide utterly regular PRNDL shifter into D, and go.

Higher nonetheless, the PHEV does not endure from the laggardly throttle response of the regular hybrid Niro that hampers drivability and makes its EPA-estimated forty nine mpg mixed a little bit of a mirage. You will both get that mpg and stay with an accelerator pedal seemingly unattached to the powertrain, or slot the shifter into Sport and reside with fuel financial system within the low forty’s. That is far superior to the 20-one thing you’d get in comparably sized SUVs, however nonetheless in need of the 50-one thing-mpg within the Toyota Prius, Honda Perception or the Niro’s mechanically associated Hyundai Ioniq cousin.

In comparison with a typical, disconnected-feeling PHEV throttle, the Niro PHEV’s throttle is completely regular, leaving Sport to these moments whenever you need just a little additional zest out of your plug-in hybrid (such a second by no means appeared to come up). One can assume that is because of the bigger battery that permits for higher electric enter even when the plug-in battery range is depleted. When crammed to the brim, it provides an EPA-estimated all-electric range of 26 miles, a determine I bettered by 1 mile throughout my analysis route. That is almost half of what you will get out of a Chevy Volt or Honda Readability PHEV, however is just like the Toyota Prius Prime and Ioniq PHEV.

And actually, how a lot you drive in all-electric mode makes the most important distinction. In case your every day commute is within the 20-mile range, it does not actually matter which of the above-talked about plug-ins you select. If it is extra, although, the others will make extra sense. The Volt and Readability can run on electrical energy longer, and the Prius Prime and Ioniq are extra environment friendly as soon as their plug-in range is depleted.

In the long run, although, is not this actually simply splitting hairs? The Niro PHEV continues to be extraordinarily environment friendly (you’d perhaps spend an additional $one hundred per yr in comparison with probably the most miserly competing PHEVs) and is a extra viable vehicle away from the every day commute given its physique fashion and general packaging. It additionally does not seem like a slug.

Particularly, I might wager it will be a lovely selection for city-dwelling younger couples who solely have one car and like getting out of city for the weekend. You realize, those each little SUV is marketed to. It might not fulfill the extra rugged wants of sure crossover consumers (it is entrance-drive solely and floor clearance stands at a modest 6.three inches), nevertheless it maintains a lot of the advantages nearly all of consumers truly care about.

That features cargo capability. I managed to suit two midsize examine-in suitcases and two carry-on rolling suitcases into the cargo area with some room to spare for a duffle bag. That matches the Subaru Crosstrek and betters the Hyundai Kona, which left two of these suitcases behind. On paper, the Niro’s 19.four cubic ft behind the again seat is definitely nearer to the Kona, however by being boxier, it is finally extra practical. Plus, with its conventional hatch and lengthy, flat roof, the Niro is best suited to mounting bike racks or roof packing containers than a type of slug-formed automobiles.

When it comes to passenger area, a pair of 6-footers ought to have the ability to match back and front. Headroom is plentiful. There also needs to be sufficient area for a rear-dealing with baby seat to suit on one aspect, however do not quote me there, I used to be eyeballing it. So, though exceedingly giant strollers and different child-supporting accoutrement might overwhelm the Niro, I think these city-dwelling younger couples might handle to lug round a toddler for a short while. And hopefully Kia has cooked up a Sorento PHEV by the point child No. 2 arrives.

As for the price, the PHEV begins at $28,840, together with vacation spot, and tops out at $35,440 for the loaded EX Premium — there are not any choices. That compares to $24,280 for a base Niro and $32,940 for a prime-of-the-line Touring, however these aren’t eligible for the $four,543 federal tax credit score you’d get with the PHEV. Do the maths, and that both cancels out the PHEV’s price premium or truly places you within the inexperienced, and that is earlier than any state-degree rebates that is perhaps on the market. Translation: The PHEV shouldn’t be solely cheaper to run however in all probability cheaper to purchase too.

Now, the engine is slightly louder and gruffer when it lastly involves life, and the general driving expertise is best described as “detached.” These hardly look like grave considerations given the bar set by each plug-in hybrids and subcompact SUVs, however it’s one thing to think about if there’s room for just one car in your storage. One thing zestier (Ioniq) or refined (Readability) could possibly be appreciated.

But, that brings me again to the start. Individuals want the SUV physique fashion now, and the Niro is strictly that, whereas additionally assembly the errand-getting, fuel-sipping city runabout M.O. of a plug-in hybrid with out being bizarre, annoying, compromised or miserable. It looks like the best way of the longer term.

– 2018 Kia Niro PHEV Review –

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