With the 2020 edition, the Kia Niro SUV continues to impress. The five-seater crossover continues to push forward with enhanced fuel economy through hybrid and electric versions. The Niro also boasts wide cargo space and attractive pricing. Indeed, starting at under $35,000, the Kia Niro is a top SUV for anyone who wants rugged durability and performance at an affordable price. Here is a peak inside the 2020 Kia Niro, including standard, hybrid, and full EV models.

Exterior Styling

The exterior styling of the 2020 Kia Niro is not radically different from the 2019 model. It remains a five-door subcompact crossover SUV and looks about as sleek as its competitors. While the exterior style is decent, it is unlikely to be the main selling point for most buyers. The real benefit to owning the Kia Niro is found under the hood.

That said, the new Niro remains a handsome SUV. The most recognizable changes can be found at the front, with reshaped headlights and a new bumper that contains arrow-shaped LED lights that have been placed lower down than in previous models. The LED taillights are new too. The rear bumper now has a silver skid plate. For 2020, the Niro comes with 16- and 18-inch wheel designs. All these changes are meant to bring the hybrid model in line visually with the all-new electric variant.

Engine and Performance

The engine and performance are where the 2020 Niro really stands out from the crowd. The gas powered model sports a 1.6 liter, four-cylinder engine. This engine includes a parallel hybrid system, boosting fuel economy without being a full plug-in model. This front-wheel drive ride makes the car feel solid and composed on the road. Reviewers have described its handling as “nimble” and the overall drive is said to be a lot of fun.

Furthermore, the hybrid version of the Niro uses a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which, in conjunction with the electric drive unit, produces an impressive 139 horsepower. The engine is mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The lithium-ion battery is placed under the rear seat, creating a useful flat cargo floor area when the rear seats are folded down.

If there has been one complaint with the all-electric version of the Niro, it’s that the ride can be a bit choppy, particularly as the battery drains. However, this is a really small quibble when compared to the overall success of this SUV. The gasoline and hybrid versions perform admirably under all conditions, according to recent reviews.

Trimlines and Prices

The standard Niro comes in five trimlines that range in price from $23,490 for the base model to just over $32,000 for the top end version. The hybrid version comes in three trims, and ranges from $28,500 to $35,200. The fully electric Niro only sports two different trims — the EX ($38,500) and the EX Premium ($44,000).

Niro

The gas powered Niro comes in FE, LX, EX, S Touring, and Touring models. It’s a lot of choice! The good news is that even the base model is decently equipped. Highlights include 16-inch alloy wheels, Apply CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, dual zone climate control, and Kia’s UVO connected car service.

Like most cars these days, the car gets more features as you splurge on higher trims. The LX adds roof rails and push-button start. The EX tacks on an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated seats, a variety of interior accents, and some smart safety features. The S Touring starts to get really fancy. It boasts 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10-way power adjustable driver seat, an upgraded stereo system, and graphite grille with chrome trim. The top-trim Touring model adds even more smart driving features, like automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking assist, forward collision warning, and lane keep assist. There’s also some luxury add-ons, like a power sunroof, leather seats, and wireless phone charging

Niro Plug-in Hybrid

Although the hybrid model only comes in three trims, you’ll find a similar add-on system in place. The base model LX comes with a ton of great features. However, you’ll need to jump up to the EX in order to get some of the extra niceties like heated seats or a sunroof. The top of the line EX Premium adds a better sound system, LED headlights, navigation, and other higher-end features. Oddly enough, many of the advanced automated safety features come standard on the base model for the hybrid Niro.

Niro EV

There are only two choices for the fully electric Niro — the EX and the EX Premium. The features aren’t much different here than the hybrid model, except for the engine. The upgrade to the EX Premium basically gets you every bell and whistle available on your new EV. For about $5,500 less, the EX remains a terrific green crossover.

Interior

The 2020 Niro is one of the roomiest subcompact crossovers on the market today. A large center console area allows passengers to stow everything from water bottles to small bags. Total cargo space is a mighty 1,543 liters of room. That’s on par with rival subcompact crossovers such as the Honda HR-V.

Also noteworthy is an upgraded dashboard that has more soft-touch finishes and additional gloss-black trim. There’s optional colored trim too, in either red, orange, or purple. An eight-inch touchscreen remains standard,  but there’s a newly optional 10.3-inch touchscreen at the higher trim levels. Both incorporate newly upgraded software that will enhance any driving experience.

Features and Warranty Coverage

Available safety features on the Niro include automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic warning. Changes to safety features for 2020 include the addition of an electronic parking brake, larger rear brakes, and paddle shifters for the transmission. Active-safety features that have also been added include stop-and-go capability for the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist – all of which are available standard in the higher trimlines.

In terms of the warranty, the new Niro comes with the same five-year, 60,000-mile warranty that was included in earlier model years. While not the best in the industry, the warranty on the Niro is better than those offered on many crossover SUVs these days.

Fuel Economy

The electric version of the 2020 Kia Niro has a range of 239 miles on a single battery charge. That’s close to best-in-class, and almost on par with the range found in many Tesla vehicles. The standard model provides 43 miles per gallon overall (city and highway driving combined). The plug-in hybrid version gets 105 MPGe, giving drivers a welcome break from the gas prices. That’s good for an SUV but not quite as impressive as the mileage achieved by competitors such as the Hyundai Ioniq and Toyota Prius. Still, people wanting to go green or simply save cash at the gas station could do worse than to purchase the newest Kia Niro.

The Good

  • Impressive battery range in the fully electric version.
  • Lots of available cargo space.
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard in all trimlines.

The Not-So-Good

  • The driving experience can be choppy in the electric version.
  • Limited safety features are available in the base model.
  • Only cosmetic changes made to the exterior of the vehicle.

The Last Word

The 2020 Niro has not been radically redesigned. Rather, a few changes have been made here and there to upgrade it for the new decade. With its battery range, the electric version competes strongly against other subcompact SUVs, including the much-hyped Tesla Model X. On price though, the Niro continues to slay the competition with a reasonable starting price for all versions. People wanting a small SUV that is good for the environment and relatively affordable should be sure to checkout the 2020 Niro.

Source: Kia.ca

Devon is a veteran of the online publishing world, having written about everything from cars to movies, sports to parenting. Although he drives a minivan (#DadLife), he's especially fond of classic muscle cars.