Long Term Updates
Long Term Updates
Date: November 2017
This “eco sled”, dressed in red, is the top level Touring model; which due to high content level and weight is rated at 43 MPG Combined. Base Niros are rated at 49, with the Niro FE rated at 50. So, our average of 43.3 miles-per-gallon is so far right on.
And our Niro has been busy. In and out of our lot for just 2-months, we’ve racked up 4,500-miles already.
Most drivers have found a comfortable ride with ample pickup from the 104-horsepower electrically assisted 1.6-liter I4.
You can certainly tell when the gas engine engages, though some of the readouts are a little slow in showing the change; giving you a very optimistic view of what’s happening.
Controls work well, and there’s long distance comfort in the seats; however, the footwell placement of the parking brake robs a little space for the legs.
We’ll keep stretching the Niro’s legs over the coming months.
Date: December 2017
Much like Emperor Nero had his mother ungracefully removed, our 2017 Kia Niro with an “i” is out to put an end to our spending too much money on fuel.
And it’s off to a really good start. After 3-months and 6,300-miles, our average is up to 44.6 miles-per-gallon; slightly higher than its Combined rating of 43.
We’re taking quite a shine to this little hybrid, finding it highly maneuverable, comfortable, and safe feeling; with very natural operation from its regenerative brakes.
Electric assist helps the small 1.6-liter I4 feel adequate, though combined output is just 139-horsepower. We love the DCT transmission, even if it’s a little clunky; we’ll take it over a CVT any day.
Kia considers the front-drive Niro a crossover, but that’s mostly about its square shape since all-wheel-drive isn’t available; so we’ll see how it fairs this winter.
Date: March 2018
Better fuel economy is always a worthy proposition; thus the emergence of more and more standard hybrid-electric vehicles, including our long-term Kia Niro.
Still, true to its type, winter weather does take a toll on efficiency. With the gas engine running more during warmups, our average slipped to 42.0 miles-per-gallon from this front-drive 5-door crossover. That’s after 5-months and 10,500 miles. Still, that’s quite admirable and we often do see 50 on the highway.
But, the Niro is so much more than a gas miser. It’s comfortable, very roomy for its compact size, and we’re loving all of the features packed into our still reasonably priced Niro Touring.
We have had one snag. A faulty rear door latch caused a whole lot of unnecessary warnings; and required a day’s stay at the dealer.
Date: April 2018
There’s not quite minivan-like room in this 2017 Kia Niro, but it has been just as busy hauling our crews around, as our Mid-Atlantic winter has slowly turned to spring. This 139-horsepower 1.6-liter I4-based hybrid has performed admirably these last 7-months. But, at 13,500-miles, there are a few complaints about the Niro’s braking.
In our original Niro test we praised the natural feel of the brake pedal. But, as the miles have racked up, drivers are noting that the pedal has now gotten so soft, that it feels like the Niro lacks stopping power. It’s most noticeable in stop-and-go situations. Otherwise, there’s still plenty of comfort and utility to be found in this pseudo-crossover; and with warmer weather, our mileage is back on an upward trend, now at 42.7 miles-per-gallon. We think Kia has hit on the right hybrid formula with the Niro.
Date: May 2018
We’re still not sure what we were supposed to have gleaned from that original Kia Niro Super Bowl Commercial, other than that trying to save nature can be very painful.
Fortunately for us, nothing about the time we’ve spent with our 2017 Kia Niro has been agony inducing; having saved us a trip or two to the gas station, now averaging a very fine 42.9 miles-per-gallon.
Quite the opposite actually, with continuing praise for it’s nice highway ride, pretty interior, and easy to use tech features.
Rough roads will reveal a suspension setup that’s not quite as sophisticated as some, but it’s far from being a deal breaker by any means.
It certainly hasn’t stopped our staff, tacking on another 2,000-miles recently; bringing our 9-month total to 15,500.
Date: September 2018
We’ve been getting our hybrid driving on in this 2017 Kia Niro for almost a year now; and over the 20,000 miles we’ve managed during that time, we’re seeing more and more Niros on the roads, most wearing the same crimson red as our test car.
Our current mileage average from this 1.6-liter I4 based hybrid, is 43.5 miles-per-gallon. The powertrain puts out more than adequate power, and the Niro remains surprisingly fun to drive.
Kia must have heard our complaints about braking feel, as there’s now a recall in place, with a software update designed to add confidence.
"We've been able to spend quite a bit of time behind the wheel of this Kia Niro. One thing we noticed from the very beginning was its less-than-stellar regenerative braking feel. Luckily we live in an era where a software update can fix that and the one that we got seems to have done the trick. It's not a dramatic improvement, but I will say it's easier to gauge stopping distance in stop and go situations in the city. And ultimately it's safer."
Date: October 2018
Well, we all knew this day would come, but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s the day we say good-bye to our 2017 Kia Niro.
During its yearlong stay with us, we racked up a total of 24,236-miles.
Sure, it may not match the fuel economy of a Toyota Prius, but our average of 43.7 miles-per-gallon is quite good for this pseudo crossover. And we’ll take its 1.6-liter I4-based powertrain and accompanying true 6-speed automatic transmission over a Prius CVT any day.
It has plenty of room for spur-of-the-moment hauling, was amply comfortable for trips both short and long, and its plain-looking but full-featured cabin held up quite well. We’ll miss it for sure.
Engine: 1.6L I4 Hybrid
Horsepower/Torque: 139/195 lb-ft.
Trim Level: Touring
Price as Tested: $32,675