Not every new vehicle can claim to impress this automotive research company, but the 2017 Kia Niro’s practicality and fuel efficiency managed to win over Jason Allan from Kelley Blue Book (KBB).
As the automaker’s first crossover specifically designed to be a hybrid from the get-go, the Niro will lead the company’s push for improved fuel economy; competing against the likes the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Volt. Of course there was the original Optima Hybrid along with its current successor, but neither performs as well as the NIro.
Aside from a stylish design that doesn’t scream hybrid, both the acceleration and braking profiles are similar to what you would feel in a gas powered vehicle. Aided by a new 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that shifts similar to a conventional gearbox, the average owner would feel like they’re driving a regular gas crossover.
Adding to its performance is the hybrid system’s 195 lb-ft of torque, which helps the car accelerate quickly to highway speeds in spite of it beefy 3,000 pound body and 139 horsepower. Once up to speed the ride is quiet and comfortable, little steering input from the driver.
Completing the package is ample cargo space behind the rear seats and exceptional Guinness World Record breaking fuel economy. We still don’t know what the NIro’s MSRP is, but KBB’s estimates that it’ll start around $23,000 and cost around $32,000 for the top trim.