2019 Kia Niro Hybrid Plug-In Review

Niro Hybrid Plug-In

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2019 Kia Niro Hybrid Plug-In Overview

The Kia Niro, an efficient small crossover, was introduced for 2017 and the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model followed in 2018. For 2019, the Niro PHEV carries over with minor updates to the vehicle’s three trim levels.

The Niro’s exterior is designed for mass appeal, looking fresh and modern. Kia has streamlined the color palette, omitting last year’s Platinum Graphite, Metal Stream, and Rich Espresso, and swapping out Crimson Red in favor of Runway Red.

Every Niro PHEV gets the same powertrain, a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine paired to an 8.9 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, 44.5 kW electric motor, and 6-speed automatic transmission. This combination yields 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, making it super efficient, with an EPA estimate of 105 MPGe combined and an all-electric range of up to 26 miles.

Trims include LX, EX, and EX Premium. Standard features in the Niro PHEV LX include cloth upholstery, 6-way adjustable front seats, projection headlights, LED daytime-running lights, LED turn signals, push-button start, a multi-function steering wheel, and 16-inch alloy wheels. The EX trim adds upgraded upholstery and door coverings, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, and power-folding outside mirrors with turn signals. The top-tier EX Premium includes ventilated front seats, driver’s seat memory, a heated steering wheel, wireless device charging, and LED headlights.

A 7-inch color touchscreen comes standard, and infotainment features include AM/FM radio, MP3 compatibility, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a 4-speaker audio system. Budget for the EX Premium to get an 8-inch touchscreen, an 8-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and navigation.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not yet evaluated the 2019 Niro, but the 2018 model earned Good scores and a Top Safety Pick+ award for models equipped with front crash-prevention technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not rated the 2018 or 2019 Niro. Standard safety features include a reversing camera, smart cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, forward-collision warning, lane-keep assist, and driver-attention assist. The EX model adds lane-change assist, blind-spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert. EX Premium includes front and rear park assist.

The Kia Niro is a great crossover, and the availability of a plug-in hybrid powertrain makes it even more versatile. There’s a lot of appeal here, for experienced PHEV owners as well as for newcomers to the fold.


Cherise is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor with nearly 15 years of experience covering the automotive industry. Cherise loves writing about car culture and sharing common-sense car-buying advice. She is eagerly awaiting delivery of a 2019 Subaru WRX Series.Gray, which will join her household's 2008 Toyota RAV4, 2007 Genuine Buddy Italia 150, and 2015 Honda Grom.

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