2017 Kia Niro Touring: Hybrid Benefits Without the Hybrid Look

Published: Wednesday, October 25, 2017 | 10:06 PM

2017kianiro475For 2017 Kia introduces the all-new Niro, a compact hybrid crossover SUV that looks more like a traditional car. Offering the driver about 43/combined mpg, the Niro really delivers on fuel economy without fudging on power.

Available in five trim levels, FE, LX, EX, Touring and limited-edition Touring Launch, this review will focus on the Touring option.

With 18-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a glossy black front grille trim, the sunroof, driver-seat memory settings, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, a larger 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, HD and satellite radio, an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, LED interior lights and door scuff plates. Options that are only available on the Touring trim include xenon headlights, a 110-volt outlet and a wireless phone charger, there’s a lot to recommend the Niro Touring.

The 1.6-liter four cylinder engine works in concert with an electric motor to produce 139 horses and 195 lb-ft of torque. In Sport mode the Niro is quick off the dime, but the default Eco mode makes it much more ponderous. My recommendation is that when getting on the freeway kick it into Sport mode for a much-needed extra burst of power. Expect to get 46/city, 40/highway, and 43/combined mpg.

2017kianirointThe interior of the Niro is a mixed bag of soft-touch surfaces and hard plastic. The seats are plenty comfy, great for long rides up the 5. Both back seat and front seat passengers will have plenty of head and legroom.

There’s plenty of technology included in the Niro from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to adaptive cruise control, this car is fully-loaded. I have a few must-haves like a backup camera, blind spot warning, and voice control, the Niro hits all three.

When acceleration is needed the Sport mode is a necessity because in Eco mode acceleration is sluggish. The steering wheel responds well and handles through turns. The cabin is a bit on the noisy side with some road noise at higher speeds. But all-in-all this new hybrid delivers a good driving experience.

Want a hybrid without the hybrid look? Test drive the all-new 2017 Kia Niro Touring.