Like many of you, we have been eagerly waiting to test drive the newest version of Kia’s hybrid crossover minivan, the Niro. With unparalleled fuel efficiency and style, the Niro boasts an impressive tech edge that is sure to draw more than a few second glances. And, after having driven one, we can absolutely assure you that hype is well deserved.


Fuel Efficient Hybrid Drive

Let’s start with the fact that the Niro broke the Guinness Book of World Records title for fuel efficiency. The design team drove across the entire length of the U.S. and only had to fill the tank four times. That’s a fuel efficiency of better than 76 miles per gallon. To better understand how this is possible, let’s take a look under the hood.

The Kia Niro employs a 1.6L, inline 4, Full Parallel Hybrid system that transitions seamlessly between the gasoline and electric motors. The 1.6-liter engine delivers a modest 106 hp to the drive train, while the electric motor produces 43 hp. Combined, this brings the Niro to 139 horsepower. The electric motor uses a lightweight but powerful lithium-ion polymer battery that produces 1.56 kWh, providing a dynamic and fun driving experience.

Well Connected Infotainment System

When we decided to host the 2018 Kia Niro near Albuquerque, the first thing we did was check out the online buzz. That was how we found NiroBot. It only makes sense that Kia’s first advanced crossover should have an equally unique spokesman. NiroBot is a brand new chatbot for Facebook Messenger that can answer questions about Niro, offering pictures and full-sized multimedia stories and giving directions to local dealerships. It is unique and refreshing, having all the information laid out through a handy chatbot interface.

But, the unique innovations and dedication to connectivity do not end there. The Kia Niro employs a wireless smartphone charger built directly into the armrest and power charging points throughout the cabin. There is even a 110v power inverter and two center outlets. This is truly a forward designed vehicle for the tech-savvy driver.

Kia’s standard infotainment system, the UVO, allows the driver to send and receive texts without ever taking their hands off the wheel. Drivers are able to connect their smartphone to the Harman/Kardon Premium Sound System with either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto interfaces. The 7 or 8-inch color touchscreen display made navigating a breeze, and the hands-free, voice-activated technology keep our hands on the wheel while drivers navigate the user-friendly logic menus.

Better than the entertainment aspects, the UVO eService Apps allow instant access to a number of features, including roadside assistance, vehicle diagnostics, and a parking reminder. It is a truly interconnected and worry free system for staying on top of the ins and outs of the 2018 Kia Niro.

Safety and Responsibility

When seeking to test drive the Kia Niro near Albuquerque, you can expect safety to be a main focal point in the design. The Niro features dual-front seat airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver’s seat knee airbag. The 4-Wheel antilock disk brakes come standard on all models, and the 3-point seat belts for all positions keep everyone in the cabin secure.

Vehicle stability management and electronic stability control come standard on all trim packages as well as Kia’s traction control system and brake assist system. The vehicle is designed to be strong, with side impact door beams and front and rear crumple zones. It features a hill-start assist control and high line tire pressure monitoring system.

And because our most precious cargo often travels with drivers, the Kia Niro features Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children (LATCH) systems for car seats and boosters. Likewise, the rear doors come equipped with child-safety door locks.

Interior and Cargo Space

Sitting down in the driver’s seat of the Niro, you really begin to see the differences that this vehicle brings to the market. There is a lot more room, and the driver seat offers lower lumbar support and an integrated memory system that remembers the seat and mirror position for up to two drivers. The seats and steering wheel are both heated, which is a nice feature when the temperatures regularly drop to the lower 20s in January.

The rear seats fold down and open revealing hidden under-floor storage areas. The 60/40 seat split allows longer items to be transported, and the rear cover offers an attractive method of concealing items in the trunk. It was more spacious than we anticipated and definitely adds to the value of this crossover hybrid.

Test Driving the 2018 Kia Niro near Albuquerque

As the first in a line of innovative crossover vehicles, the Kia Niro sets the bar for style, efficiency, and technological connectivity and ease. If you are looking for a way to enter the new generation of hybrid fuel-efficient vehicles without sacrificing comfort and utility, take the time to test drive the 2018 Kia Niro today.   

Categories: Kia Niro