From Concept to Incredible Production, Buy a Niro!
December 14, 2018
After significant research, and a lengthy shopping experience, I purchased my 2019 Niro LX (with technology package) at the end of October. Throughout the Niro remained at the top of my list. Now, about 6 weeks into ownership and just shy of 900 miles, I love this car / crossover / small SUV.
What I Love:
The Hybrid concept (delivers around 50 MPG, or more depending how you drive it), the price, the technology, the build (modern, sleek, stylish), the fit/finish and interior space and comfort. And the real transmission that SHIFTS gears (my last 2 cars were CVTs). Kia really hit a home run with this vehicle.
At 6'4", I'm tall, so half my battle is finding a car with ample headroom and proper visibility. My model, without a sunroof, offers incredible roomy space inside, despite the vehicles smaller build. This is my 9th car, and the majority have been sedans (the last 3 to be exact). The Niro is a great shift from 4 door sedan to small crossover. It’s slightly higher than most sedans, with a bit more ground clearance, and this provides real easy access.
Is a dedicated Hybrid model – that looks and feels like a normal car. If you want push buttons and other weird design items, the Prius or Insight might serve you better. The Niro features many unique elements, including a 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, which by default is in eco mode but offers instant access to sports mode which changes the driving experience dramatically. Only offered in FWD, the estimated MPG overall is around 49. Buyers can choose the tech package with the LX or EX models which adds autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, smart cruise control and lane departure warning. All models include the backup camera standard.
While “sports mode” felt like a necessity when I was in the buying stage, as an owner, I have yet to use it once! The car, in eco mode, has ample get up and go for fast highway merging when you need it. I’ve found the car encourages you to drive more economically by offering cool features like driving style and the opportunity to grow a tree as a reward for driving to save. Technology wise, the standard features list is quite long, including Android Auto (and Apple CarPlay) standard. While most base models do not include the auto braking options, it’s a very reasonably priced upgrade. This also allows buyers leery of all this technology driving your car to buy a model without.
I had concerns during the buying stage – first Kia, first Hybrid, seat comfort, stereo system and a few less than flattering reviews (mostly of the first year 2017 model). After months of shopping and research (the car and the brand), I have zero concerns now as an owner. Kia is about the future, and the Niro is their concept brought to life that keeps evolving year after year. As to creature comforts, I’ve done a few road trips and the (manual) seats are VERY comfortable. As a single driver of the car, I had no need for the power seat despite having that in recent cars – how often do you actually change the seat position? The base stereo system handles my needs for road trips, and the Sirius radio is a nice bonus – I almost listen exclusively to Sirius or music on my smartphone (via Bluetooth or Android Auto).
Driving a Hybrid is a new experience and buyers (of any Hybrid) need to educate themselves on the differences, as I did. The Niro decides which mode it needs for your situation, i.e. all electric, gas or a bit of both. I quickly adapted to the acceleration and braking, and for me, they are seamless transitions. If you have any concerns about the bugs of the 2017 model, then just buy a 2018 or 2019 model – because first year models of almost every car come with the most bugs. One major platform review talked about “lunging forward” as a concern in say a parking lot – trust me, that’s not an issue. Need to inch forward? Pull back on the brake pedal, wait, let the car advance forward, and then just apply the brake again. This is most challenging in a parallel parking scenario, on a hill.
I don’t understand why this is not a top seller! It’s just an awesome vehicle – check it out even if you don’t like Hybrids. And if you do? Buy one!