2018 Kia Niro Eco Plugin
There is only one thing I do not like about the Kia Niro, irrespective of the version, and that is the rear end. It is too simple, too unsophisticated, to rectangular, too simply cut off. If you look at the rest of the vehicle, there is logic, there is harmony, there is balance, there is character, and then it suddenly ends. I fail to see why that was needed? Did Kia just run out of time? Did someone just say “Ah what the heck”. It doesn’t fit the car and I would suggest it would be the first thing to do on a facelift.
The rest of the car I have loved ever since I first saw it and had a ride in it when I attended the Frankfurt IAA Auto Show last September. They were using various cars as shuttles between the vast complex of exhibition halls, and I was surprised to get a ride in a white Kia Niro, one that I hadn’t seen here in the US before at all.I was talking to the driver, who explained that it was indeed, just like this one, a Kia Niro Plugin Hybrid, that he picked it up in the morning with a full charge and a full tank, and come mid day, the needles on both EV charge as well as fuel had not moved yet, despite having run for 4-5 hours already. I know, he was driving slowly on the show grounds, but that is a heck of a long time to have so little drainage of the fuel resources.
So I could try it out for myself here in this Kia Niro, and indeed, with a full charge and a full tank my range was well close to the 500 miles range, which is perfect in my opinion. Of course it shares a lot of the technology with the Hyundai Ioniq, and I have been really enthsiastic about that one already, but this is a different vehicle all together. It is not sleek and round like the Ioniq, it is functional and aesthetically more conservative, but also in its build it seems to have more substance, be built with better materials, thicker, more quiet. Perceived quality level is a lot higher to me. With the Ioniq I heard a lot of noise from the rear wheel wells, in the Kia Niro I did not have that issue at all.
Also the interior, the IP and the used materials in the color and trim seemed to be of a higher quality level than the Ioniq, which kind of surprised me, since I was expecting Hyundai to want to make a statement more with the Ioniq than with the Niro, seeing all the advertising to that effect. In fact, to me, the Niro makes more of a statement since it is more practical, more space efficient, and of better build quality, it seems to offer more bang for the buck. The Ioniq has the sleek lines, but that is about it.
Now, about that rear end design….