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the guys at MotorTrend saw the model in person last week, Kia stopped by their office with the all-new 2017 Niro hybrid crossover.

They were able to get a close look at the Toyota Prius competitor that’s set to go on sale early next year after the release of the Optima hybrid and plug-in hybrid. Their cool facts list didn’t mention much regarding the crossover’s driving dynamics which leads us to believe that they weren’t given a chance to drive it and this was purely a show and tell kind of meeting. During they discussion, they learned of eight new details about the 2017 Niro.

Kia Intentionally Designed The Niro To Be Crossover/SUV-Like

Most hybrid vehicles already in the market were designed to optimize aerodynamics so they are generally wedge shaped and the designers at Kia didn’t want to follow this trend. They wanted something to set their first dedicated hybrid vehicle apart from the rest and thus the crossover/suv- like body. Kis calls this a "hybrid utility vehicle", something that is both practical and has enough interior space for the whole family.

CVT Was Never Going To Make An Appearance

Just like the body, most hybrids comes with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) but Kia just didn’t want a belt-type transmission in the Niro. That’s why they equipped it with a six-speed dual-clutch unit instead so it doesn’t drive the same as its competitors.

Niro Is Only 10% Related To The Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte

We know that the 2017 Kia Niro shares the same platform as the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte but, what we didn’t know was that it only shares 10% of the chassis parts with the other two models because the Niro was designed to be a hybrid only.

The Powertrain is Hybrid Only

Kia engineered the 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine specifically for Hyundai and Kia hybrid applications so you won’t be seeing this Atkinson Cycle engine in anything but a hybrid.

Plug-In Hybrid Is Coming

For those of you waiting for the plug-in hybrid Niro, your wait won’t be too long because it’s set to be revealed a few months after the standard Niro hits showroom floors early next year. If it’s similar to the Hyundai Ioniq, we could be seeing a pure electric range of 25 miles (40 km) or more.

No All-Wheel Drive

At least we won’t be seeing it anytime soon. The Niro will be front-wheel-drive only and the same would apply to the plug-in version too. In order to make it AWD, the platform would need to be changed to fit the system. Maybe one day we’ll see an AWD Niro with an electric motor fitted into the rear.

Navigation System Helps You Save Fuel

Depending on the type of elevation you’re driving on; uphill, downhill, or on level ground, the Niro will use the navigation system and cruise control to anticipate topographical changes and adjust the energy flow as needed to optimize efficiency. Kia is the first company to adjust this system for both ascending and descending settings.

Fuel Efficient And Affordable

The Niro was engineered to be fuel efficient at 50 mpg (4.7 L/100km) and even with a body that’s not wedge-like, it still only has a drag coefficient of 0.29. We can expect the starting MSRP to be around $25,000 USD which puts it on par with the Toyota Prius. That’s a long of bang for your buck.
 

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But the Prius is hideous now.. and it seems the Niro is more spacious no ? Ultimately, it comes down to what you'll be using it for and what serves better for you, but I do agree, they could have priced this a lot better
 

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That depends on who you ask since to some people it will still look good, to some they might even look past its design and just take it for what it is. A lot of people are comfortable with the idea of buying from a certain brand over another, that alone can dictate their purchase. The same can't be said as much for Kia, although its growing.
 

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Kia is definitely growing, but is no where as followed as much as Toyota is. Toyota has long developed that relationship with the world for loyalty, reliability and it shows in their sales. This is gonna be an interesting one to see how the Niro is going to perform.
 

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i took a look at a Prius and was shocked at the cost. sure it did have a low starting price, but you pretty much had to load it up with extras to get a vehicle that you could drive. I did ask to take the absolute base model out for a test drive but the dealer didn't have any. I asked why not and he was upfront in that they don't sell them with anything less than the middle package trim car. That was the point that I liked with the Niro is it came pretty well equipped as standard. you really don't need to buy up. I did buy the model above base just because I needed a car in stock and not wanting to wait for one to get ordered because I didn't want two BLACK cars.
 

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Starting at $25000? I can get a Prius starting at $24200 with proven hybrid system and 60 mpg. Way to screw up Kia.
Now that I have had the opportunity, while on vacation, to drive my Niro exclusively on service streets (no highway) I have averaged 59-61 MPG for 11 of the 12 gallons that fit in the gas tank.
 

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We test drove the 2018 Prius Prime and 2019 Kia Niro Plug In Hybrid several times each last year about this time. We chose the Kia with the Ex Premium trim. The Kia had more room for driver and passenger (wife and I are both 300+ and I am 6 feet tall). Kia had a larger storage area behind the rear seat. We did not like the Toyota rear seat, seats only two with a mini console between them. It took awhile to get accustomed to the Kia transmission versus the Prius CVT that we had used for 10+ years. We bought the Kia on New Years Eve to get the slightly larger tax break. It currently has over 16000 miles with trips to AZ, PA, TX, NC from our MO location. We are not disappointed with our choice. Our other car is a 2015 Nissan Leaf. We trickle charge both cars, same cord, different times, same dedicated outlet (110 with 20amp fuse).
Bill
 
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