2020 Kia Niro Review, AWD, EV

Kia Niro is going to break the supremacy of existing electric vehicle. Available as EV, but also hybrid and PHEV crossover, this vehicle is going to surprise you with its versatility and driving capabilities. The 2020 Kia Niro is going to be unchanged compared to the current edition and we can expect the first big update in 2021. For now, the subcompact crossover launched in 2017 is still fresh and attractive.

Whatsoever, the company will shake things up between trim levels and add more options and technologies. The overall look and layout are the same. The crossover is not confirmed for the US yet. Rumors are already there, claiming there won’t be the 2020 YM and the company is preparing the redesigned version for 2021. This is not going to happen, especially with the European crossover’s debut at Geneva Auto Show.

2020 Kia Niro Hybrid Specs

The base and the most affordable version of the crossover is the 2020 Kia Niro Hybrid. The vehicle combines a 1.6-liter engine with a small electric battery that will combined burst 140 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Estimated fuel economy exceeds 50 mpg average, and this is one of the best results you can find in the US market. Well, higher trim level are consuming more fuel (48 mpg), and the Touring version is the least economical one (46/40 mpg for city/highway). A six-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox is forwarding power to the front axle.

Plug-In Hybrid

The 2020 Kia Niro PHEV is going to use the same petrol displacement as the base for its system. Also, the transmission is the same, as well as the FWD. The difference is in the electric battery and outputs it affects. Petrol engine alone is producing 105 hp and 110 lb-ft of torque. A 44.5-kW motor adds 60 hp and 125 lb-ft. Combined, that is about 150 hp and 210 lb-ft of twisting power. Of course, the PHEV version saves more fuel and the crossover is going to be able to run on the electric power only. The range of this system is 26 miles.

2020 Kia Niro EV

Finally, there is a pure electric version of the subcompact crossover. It is the most interesting vehicle in the lineup, with its 239-mile range. This is possible thanks to the 64-kW motor. The small crossover is achieving 200 hp and 290 lb-ft, which is a respectable result for the vehicle of its size. Estimated EPA fuel economy is 115 MPGe.

We expect improvements in the recharge system. That will speed up the time needed for the battery to refill. For now, the home outlet will do it in 60 hours. Of course, Kia has special systems, called level 2 and the 220-volt charger will do it in less than 10 hours. Speed charger will be there to do the same in 2 hours, while it also recharges 80 percent of the battery in 75 minutes. In the future, we will see the Niro EV with the 300-mile range.


It is really hard to compete with the Kia Niro. There are no too many vehicles with the all-electric drivetrain. The 2020 Kia Niro EV is the only subcompact crossover in the market with such setup. Well, we can find similar vehicles in other classes, such as Chevy Volt, or Nissan Leaf. On the other hand, there are some notable hybrids that could draw away the attention from the Niro. For example, Subaru Crosstrek PHEV or the new Rav4 hybrid. Still, none vehicle has such wide offer of engines based on electric power.

Pros and Cons

The main reason you will go buy the 2020 Kia Niro is its exceptional fuel economy. With the standard hybrid returning 50 mpg, there is no surprise why the Korean company is selling 30,000 units per annum in the US. Usually, the transmission is the main problem for such vehicles, but the gearbox is not taking away any driving impression from the hybrid and PHEV versions. Handling is great thanks to the battery mounted under seats. Kia Niro will have a low center of gravity, although its weight is slightly increased for the subcompact segment.

It is not all about the performance since the vehicle is looking cool and it can be used for the commuting. For longer trips, you will have to find more spacious crossover or SUV. Finally, there is a 100,000-mile warranty as a cherry atop the cake.

Well, the 2020 Kia Niro is not a perfect model. It lacks interior space and towing capabilities. The biggest downside is the lack of all-wheel drive. The company will have to think about this version to settle the worries. Sport mode available on Touring trim level is dropping the fuel economy by 5 mpg. The cost of the plug-in hybrid is significantly higher (starts at $31,500 compared to $24,500 for the Kia Niro Hybrid).

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