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2019 Kia Niro Review

The 2019 Kia Niro sits in the bottom half of our hybrid and electric SUV rankings. It offers excellent fuel economy and intuitive infotainment controls, while the all-electric variant boasts a lengthy driving range. However, the Niro is plagued by a small cargo hold and bland driving dynamics.

Pros & Cons

  • User-friendly infotainment controls
  • Spacious cabin
  • Good fuel economy estimates
  • Long electric range in EV model
  • Less agile than rivals
  • No all-wheel-drive option
  • Small cargo hold

Rankings & Research

The 2019 Kia Niro's #3 ranking is based on its score within the 2019 Hybrid and Electric SUVs category. Currently the Kia Niro has a score of 7.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 28 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.6
Performance: 6.8
Interior: 6.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.2
Safety: 9.4
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the 2019 Kia Niro a Good Used SUV?

Yes, the 2019 Niro is a good used SUV. Despite ranking in the bottom half of our hybrid and electric SUV class, this Kia has a lot going for it. It has low ownership costs, a comfortable ride, and easy-to-use tech features. Plus, it comes with several distinct powertrain options, including a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and a fully electric variant. Regardless of configuration, this crossover gets great EPA ratings, and the EV model joins the likes of the Hyundai Kona EV, Chevrolet Bolt, and Tesla Model X in breaking the 200-mile range barrier.

The Niro is far from perfect, however. Compared to other hybrid and electric vehicles, it has a small cargo hold. It's also less fun to drive than many rivals, and it has grabby brakes, though that's a common issue for hybrids.

Compare the Niro, Kona EV, and Bolt »

Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about this SUV in our comprehensive Kia Niro review. It combines concrete data like fuel economy estimates and predicted reliability ratings with professional evaluations from 28 automotive sources.

We’ve been reviewing cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. We also award the Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands on an annual basis. To ensure our impartiality, a third party handles our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much is the 2019 Kia Niro?

Based on listings for the 2019 Kia Niro, the average list price is $18,894. Prices range from $18,894 to $27,573 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2019 Kia Niro Cost to Own?

The 2019 Niro’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, taxes, fees, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $19,390, or $3,878 per year. Those are among the lowest costs in the class.

2018 vs. 2019 Kia Niro: What's the Difference?

For 2019, Kia added the fully electric Niro EV to the lineup. Otherwise, the 2018 and 2019 models are nearly identical.

Compare the 2018 and 2019 Niro »

Here are the key changes to the Niro since it debuted for the 2017 model year:

  • 2018: Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid introduced
  • 2019: Niro Electric debuted

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Niro and 2018 Niro reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Reliable Is the 2019 Kia Niro?

The 2019 Kia Niro has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Read more about Niro reliability »

2019 Kia Niro Recalls

There are no major recalls for the 2019 Kia Niro at this time.

See more information on Kia Niro safety recalls »

Which Used Kia Niro Trim Is Right for Me?

The first choice you’ll make when selecting a Niro is determining which powertrain you want: the hybrid, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV), or the all-electric (EV). The hybrid and plug-in models pair an electric motor with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine to produce 139 horsepower. The Kia Niro EV uses an electric motor and a battery pack to put out 201 horsepower.

The Niro Hybrid comes in five trim levels: FE, LX, EX, S Touring, and Touring. The PHEV comes in three trims: LX, EX, and EX Premium. The EV comes in two: EX and EX Premium. Well-optioned LX models and the EX trim are good bets for their combination of tech and safety equipment.

  • Kia Niro FE: Standard equipment in the entry-level FE includes the UVO infotainment system, a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a four-speaker stereo, a USB port, Bluetooth, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth seats, split-folding rear seats, alloy wheels, and a rearview camera.
  • Kia Niro LX: The LX trim only adds proximity keyless entry and a rear-seat center armrest to the standard features found in the FE. When new, however, the Kia Niro LX was available with several optional features, so you may find models equipped with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a driver condition monitor, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, or adaptive cruise control. The plug-in LX comes standard with all these features.
  • Kia Niro EX: The EX gains cloth-and-leather upholstery, heated front seats, a rear-seat USB port, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change assist. The same driver assistance features available in the hybrid LX are available with the EX (they're standard in the PHEV and EV). A wireless device charger is available in the EV.
  • Kia Niro S Touring: The S Touring comes with an 8-inch touch screen, a navigation system, an eight-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, satellite radio, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and larger alloy wheels.
  • Kia Niro Touring: The Touring adds a sunroof, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a wireless device charger, front and rear parking sensors, and all of the optional driver aids listed above.
  • Kia Niro EX Premium: Available only as a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric vehicle, the EX Premium generally has the same equipment as the Touring. A heated steering wheel is standard in the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid but optional in the EV. The sunroof is standard in the all-electric Niro but optional in the Niro Plug-In Hybrid.

See 2019 Kia Niro trims and specs »

What Does Kia's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Kia offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Kia’s certified pre-owned vehicles receive the balance of the original 10-year/100,000-mile new-car powertrain warranty as well as a one-year/12,000-mile comprehensive Platinum warranty on non-powertrain parts. Every CPO Kia must pass a 164-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Kia has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Niro?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Niro an overall safety rating of four out of five stars, with five stars in the side crash test and four stars in frontal crash and rollover tests. The NHTSA also noted that there was a higher likelihood that the front passenger could suffer a chest injury during a frontal crash. Neither the plug-in nor the all-electric model was tested.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2019 Niro hybrid and plug-in hybrid a Top Safety Pick+, giving it the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests. The FE, LX, and EX trims received the lowest rating of Poor for how well their headlights illuminate the road ahead, while Touring and properly equipped EX trims earned the highest rating of Good.

The IIHS uses a different scale for grading collision avoidance features. The Niro earned the highest rating of Superior for its optional vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system and the midlevel rating of Advanced for its optional vehicle-to-pedestrian system.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Driver condition monitor
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane change assist
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Front and rear parking sensors

See Niro safety scores »

2019 Kia Niro Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2019 Kia Niro or 2019 Hyundai Kona EV?

The 2019 Hyundai Kona EV ranks similarly to the Niro in the hybrid and electric SUV class. The electric Kona has the same horsepower rating as the Niro EV, but it has a longer all-electric range by around 19 miles. The Kona EV also has sharper handling, smooth brakes, and a higher safety score than the Niro. On the other hand, the Kia has a bit more room for passengers and cargo. If you can do without that extra bit of space, the Hyundai is the better vehicle.

Which Is Better: 2019 Kia Niro or 2019 Kia Sportage?

The 2019 Kia Sportage is a compact SUV. It's not available with an electric or hybrid powertrain, and as a result, its mpg ratings don't compare to those of the Niro. Additionally, the Niro comes with more standard features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which are optional in the Sportage. However, the Sportage does have a few advantages, such as a potent turbocharged engine option, available all-wheel drive (the Niro is front-wheel-drive only), and more cargo and passenger space. The Sportage has a better predicted reliability rating too. Choosing between these two Kias is a matter of preference.

Compare the Niro, Kona EV, and Sportage »

2019 Niro Performance

How Does the 2019 Kia Niro Drive?

The Niro Hybrid gets up to speed from a stop adequately, but it feels a bit sluggish when driving uphill or accelerating at higher speeds. There is a sport mode in some models that slightly improves throttle response. The Niro Hybrid's dual-clutch automatic transmission delivers smooth shifts. The Niro Electric’s instant torque provides brisk acceleration off the line.

The suspension soaks up most road flaws before they can be felt in the cabin, which makes for a smooth ride. Steering is responsive, but there’s not much feedback. The brakes are a bit grabby and will take some time to get used to. Plenty of rivals are more fun to drive.

  • Hybrid and PHEV: 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor with a combined 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque
  • EV: 64-kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor that make 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed dual-clutch automatic (hybrid and PHEV); single-speed (EV)
Does the 2019 Kia Niro Get Good Gas Mileage?

The base Kia Niro Hybrid is an exceptionally fuel-efficient vehicle that rivals the 2019 Toyota Prius. The Niro Plug-In Hybrid and Niro Electric fare well too.

  • Hybrid FE: 52/49 mpg city/highway
  • Hybrid, all other trims: 51/46 mpg
  • Plug-In Hybrid: 46 mpg city/highway; 105 MPGe city/highway
  • Electric: 123/102 MPGe

For more information, read What Is MPGe?

2019 Kia Niro Alternative Fuels and Charging

The Niro Plug-In Hybrid features an 8.9 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. According to EPA estimates, it has an electric-only range of 26 miles. The Niro EV has a 239-mile all-electric driving range, which is on par with the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt and even beats out some Tesla models.

Charging times vary depending on the method used.

Niro PHEV charging times:

  • 240-volt outlet: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • 120-volt outlet: 9 hours

Niro EV charging times:

  • DC fast charger: up to 75 minutes for 80% charge
  • 240-volt charger: 9 hours and 35 minutes
  • 120-volt charger: 59 hours

Read more about Niro performance »

2019 Niro Interior

How Many People Does the 2019 Niro Seat?

The 2019 Niro seats five people in two rows. The seats are well-cushioned and comfortable, and there’s plenty of head- and legroom in both rows, even for taller people.

The cabin design gets mixed reviews. Some critics praise it for having an abundance of high-quality materials, but others knock it for having lots of hard plastics.

Standard seating features:

  • Cloth upholstery

Available seating features:

  • Cloth and leather upholstery
  • Leather upholstery
  • Heated front seats
  • Ventilated front seats
  • 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Heated steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2019 Kia Niro?

This crossover has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the rear outboard seats and an upper tether for the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use, noting that the lower anchors are set deeply in the seats.

2019 Kia Niro Features

Kia's UVO infotainment system is easy to use, with a straightforward touch screen as well as physical buttons and knobs.

  • Standard infotainment features: UVO infotainment system, a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a four-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, a wireless device charger, an eight-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, satellite radio, and HD Radio
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: push-button start, proximity keyless entry, and a sunroof

See 2019 Kia Niro specs »

Read more about Niro interior »

2019 Kia Niro Dimensions

Kia Niro Cargo Space

Both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid Niros have 19.4 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and a total of 54.5 cubic feet when you fold down the rear seats. Compared to other hybrid and electric SUVs, those are subpar figures. They look more impressive, however, compared to other subcompact SUVs, and even a few compact SUVs.

The all-electric Niro has slightly less space because of its larger battery: 18.5 cubic feet behind the back seats and 53 cubic feet with those seats folded.

2019 Kia Niro Length and Weight
  • Length: 14 feet, 4 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,106 to 3,854 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 4,079 to 4,916 pounds

Where Was the 2019 Kia Niro Built?

Kia built the 2019 Niro in South Korea.

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