Kia has announced its all-new Niro hybrid crossover will start at $24,995. The news comes about a year after the Korean automaker first revealed the car at the 2016 editions of the Chicago and Toronto auto shows.
That opening price is for the entry-level L trim level, which includes heated four-way manual front seats, heated side mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, back-up camera, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, UVO infotainment with a seven-inch display and a heated steering wheel.
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The prices rise to $27,495 for the EX model, which adds power-fold side mirrors, passive keyless entry, wireless smartphone charging, a USB charge port, rear park sensors and cloth-and-leather seats.
EX Premium ($29,095) adds an eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar and blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert.
Finally, the $32,995 SX Touring is where all the active safety kit lives: autonomous emergency braking, front and rear park sensors, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning are all included here. Other features include 18-inch wheels, HID headlights, full leather seating with ventilation up front and heated rears and navigation with an eight-inch infotainment display.
Behind Kia's signature "tiger nose" grille lives a 1.6L four-cylinder engine mated with an electric motor fed by a 1.56-kWh battery. Together, the two power sources put a combined 139 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Kia expects the Niro to achieve a fuel consumption estimate of 4.7 L/100 km in combined (city and highway) driving.
Our initial reaction is that 139 hp seems like a modest output for a crossover; the Prius V is pokey with its 136-hp combo, while the C-Max is a relative hot rod thanks to a 2.0L that cranks out 188 hp with the help of its electric motor.
But if Kia is anywhere close with the Niro's fuel consumption figure, it'll be more efficient than either of those models in their current forms. And Kia says it will add a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version "later," but offered no specifics; that more advanced powertrain will line up against the plug-in Ford C-Max Energi.