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2018 Kia Niro PHEV EX Plug-in Electric & Hybrid Crossover

Written by Marco Carvajal

The 2018 Niro PHEV gives you the best of both worlds, you get an electric plugin with a basic range of 26 miles drive All-Electric, and it also works as a regular hybrid with great functionality, style and performance as the Niro hybrid model.

If you like to save on gas and help the environment super low emissions. The Niro PHEV has amazing fuel consumption of 105 MPGe and 46 MPG combined.

The Niro

The Kia Niro is manufactured in South Korea. It was unveiled in the US at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2016. The Niro was a success since it release in 2016 achieving an all-time sales record, surpassing other cars in the green car market in South Korea during the first month of sales.

The Niro received the title of “Guinness World Records” for the lowest fuel consumption of a hybrid vehicle in 2016. It traveled all the way from site do side of the West coast to the East cost of the United States. From Los Angeles to New York, with an amazing world record fuel consumption of 76.6 Miles per Gallon. Impressive, worth of a Guinness Record!

The 2018 Kia Niro PHEV

The Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid is a new addition to the Niro family, it is perfect for those that like hybrid cars, but one to  go an step further by being able to use this car only with electricity, as a plugin. For now the plugin option only allows you to drive it for a range of 26 miles before charging again, but this is something that will increase in the future as Kia is able to develop new electric technologies.

Just like Kia is producing the Niro, there is a new trend for car manufacturers to produce plug-in hybrids. Competitors of the Niro are the Chevrolet Volt, the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and the Toyota Prius Prime besides a few other models.

The Niro PHEV, is very similar to the Niro hybrid, it has five seats, similar design and fun-driving . It has the same great crossover functionality and good cargo capacity, and it includes all the benefits of an electric car.


The Niro PHEV 2018 is offered in three trim levels:

  • LX
  • EX
  • EX Premium

The one I am test driving is the 2018 Niro PHEV EX

The LX is the base trim entry level but it has a lot to nice features included standard. The LX gives you 16-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, 60/40 split fold-down rear seats, keyless entry and start button, a nice 7-inch infotainment screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity , two USB ports, and a four-speaker sound system with satellite radio.

The EX, the one I am test driving, includes additional safety features and comfort-oriented. The Niro Plug-In hybrids EX includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert.

Then the EX Premium includes more luxury items, like leather upholstery and premium audio. The EX Premium is supercharged with LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, a larger driver information display, an 8-inch touch screen navigation, a high quality eight-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system, cordless phone charger and ventilated Front seats, one of my favorite interior features.

Kia Plug-In


The pricing of the Niro is good and provides good value for the cost, however the pricing is not as aggressive as I have seen in other Kia models, but we also have to consider the high cost of technology included on this hybrid plug-in.

Model Starting Price
Niro PHEV LX $27,900
Niro PHEV EX $31,500
Niro PHEV EX Premium $34,500


All three Niro models are powered by 2 engines, an all-aluminum four-cylinder, 1.6-liter Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI), DOHC, four valves, cylinder, Atkinson cycle with 104 horsepower and 109 torque, and an electric AC Synchronous Permanent Magnet Motor engine with 60 horsepower and 125 torque with a Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery

These engines work together with a dual clutch six-speed automatic transmission (DCT).

The Niro has a nice basic horsepower on the hybrid engine. It is not the fastest car but it gives a reasonible balance between power and energy consumption. This plug-in hybrid gives you the feeling of driving a sedan hatchback, more than a crossover vehicle.

An interesting feature to save energy, is the Driver-Only Air Conditioning, directing A/C vents toward the driver only, reducing the consumption of the air conditioning system and saving energy.


The cabin of the Niro Plug-In Hybrid has a beautiful design, full of interior features and comfortable but a little bit compact. The Niro offers an attractive amount of space and is very practical for its size if we compare it to a regular sedan.  But the Niro is small when compared to other hybrid hatchbacks.

To compensate the compact space Kia has created optional storage under the floor and a completely flat 60/40 split on the rear seats.

In terms of cabin materials and interior luxury I believe that there is room for improvement, but we also have to consider cost and value.

The information and entertainment menus on the touch screen are easy to use and is possible to use shortcut buttons. The Niro includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included as standard equipment and a large number of advanced security systems available. The Uvo navigation system is the same as in other Kia models.

Safety Features

  • Dual front advanced airbags
  • Dual front seat-mounted side airbags
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • Impact sensing auto door unlock
  • Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS)
  • Hill-Start Assist
  • Stability control
  • Traction control
  • Side curtain airbags and active front head restraints
  • Rear view camera
  • Frontal collision warning
  • Brake Assist System (BAS)
  • Automatic emergency braking mitigation
  • Lane maintenance assistance
  • Adaptive cruise control

Bottom line

The new Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid, priced around 31K, is a nice and practical compact crossover SUV using hybrid and electric engines.

It includes several standard safety and practical features, it has a nice interior but it could be more luxury. The size of this Kia is ideal for the city and it helps the environment around you with very low emissions.

The Niro is a great alternative instead of buying a regular hybrid or electric sedan. It is higher than normal sedans with its elevated stance. It has a wide and more open view of the road. The 2018 Niro PHEV gives you the best of both worlds, you get an electric plugin and a regular hybrid car.

If you like to save on your gas budget, the Niro PHEV offers one of the best fuel consumption rates on the market, with 105 MPGe and 46 MPG combined, it almos sounds like science fiction, but it is real!

2018 Niro Plug-In Hybrid

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