2017 Kia Niro Touring new car reviews

The Niro, Kia's new hybrid crossover, claims 50 combined mpg thanks to a new dynamic hybrid system paired with the utility that we've come to expect from a modern crossover. Our test car also came with the Advanced Technology Package, including HID headlights, adaptive cruise control and an built-in inverter.

Other staff views

Ed Higginbotham Ed Higginbotham

The Kia Niro (besides an unfortunate name) was good overall.

In my opinion it's one of the better looking small crossovers available. The interior is comfortable and everything in the cockpit is laid out logically.

Warning: the constant instrument cluster animation representing how electricity is being channeled through the car may be a distraction while driving.

The only complaint I have is how it drove. Whenever I was moving about 20 mph at a steady pace, the Nero would constantly stutter. It felt like it was misfiring or down a cylinder. To make sure I wasn't going crazy, I handed the keys off to JG and David, who confirmed that the Nero had some power deliver issues. We're not sure if this was just our test car acting up or if it's something more common among these cars, but it's worth stashing in the back of your mind if you're shopping.

I will say the fuel economy was fantastic. If the Niro drove as smooth as it looked, it would be one of my favorite crossovers available today.

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Yeah, I'll second what Ed said: The Niro seemed to stutter a bit, kind of like those first hybrids. Maybe there was a hiccup with our test car, or maybe the latest Toyotas have just spoiled us. Other than that, it's the right size and felt nice. Nice to see how far Kia has come in the last decade or so.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.
View comments on the GRM forums
Trackmouse SuperDork
10/6/17 11:13 a.m.

Still no awd? 

Bobzilla MegaDork
10/6/17 11:38 a.m.

In reply to Trackmouse :

I don't understand this. Why? You want a high mpg people mover you don't want the added drag of AWD. I've never understood the incessant need for AWD by most people. 

Trackmouse SuperDork
10/6/17 1:23 p.m.

In reply to Bobzilla :

Come to central Oregon for the next few months and say that. 

pinchvalve MegaDork
10/6/17 2:15 p.m.

As the modern equivalent of the Kia Rondo, it will clearly be one of the most incredible cars on the planet.  The Rondo never needed AWD, it could go anywhere, any time, under any conditions in comfort, safety and style.  It used a proprietary awesomeness-drive system that achieved 180mpg and 180 mph (owners called it the 180) Apparently, they have gone with a hybrid system on the Niro to help keep prices for used Rondo up in the stratosphere.  (One recently sold in Scottsdale for abazilliondy dollars)  

Kudos Kia, you are killing it!  

mazdeuce MegaDork
10/6/17 3:12 p.m.

I clicked on this because I had no idea what a Niro was. I was hoping for one of those sexy concept cars they keep showing. 

If this was a blind date I wouldn't walk out before introducing myself, but I did just feel my enthusiasm drain to nothingness. 

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
10/6/17 3:15 p.m.

I will say it looks better in person than in photos. It seems like almost all crossovers these days are either way too striking for my taste (i.e. Lexus) or are roughly modeled after an Easter egg. The Niro was neither, and I appreciate that.

ProDarwin PowerDork
10/6/17 3:23 p.m.
Bobzilla said:

In reply to Trackmouse :

I don't understand this. Why? You want a high mpg people mover you don't want the added drag of AWD. I've never understood the incessant need for AWD by most people. 

Do it Lexus style where it doesn't really create additional drivetrain loss or significant drag.

Bobzilla MegaDork
10/6/17 3:23 p.m.

In reply to Ed Higginbotham :

The two I've seen remind me of a tall wagon... in a good way. 

Trackmouse SuperDork
10/6/17 6:30 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

My current crosstrek does this. It’s fwd 99% of the time. Awd when needed. It gets 43mpg, and it’s not the hybrid model. 

ProDarwin PowerDork
10/6/17 8:29 p.m.

You are thinking of something different.  The Lexus system is basically the Prius transmission stuffed where the rear diff would be.  No center diff, no driveshaft, rear just freewheels unless needed.


Also, 43mpg is a total outlier datapoint.

m4ff3w UberDork
10/6/17 9:50 p.m.

Looked at one for wife a month ago.  Couple of options we'd have wanted drove the price point to 31k.


Bought 2014 Volt instead

Carsandbikes New Reader
10/18/17 2:59 p.m.

I first saw one of these about the time magazines were announcing it as a "coming attraction".  Yes,  it is good looking in the metal (made me think of the recently departed Volvo C30, but with 4 doors) and yes,  the name is stupid (don't Koreans get the possible MATRIX movies connection?).

Unfortunately, KIA dealers have THE worst reputation for their sales experience, followed by KIA dealer's warranty responses. 

Looks WAY better than the Prius,  but either brand is tough to work with. 

BTW,  I haven't seen any at local dealers,  but Toyota dealers don't highlight their Prius inventory either. 

Our Preferred Partners