As Kia’s smallest SUV, the 2022 Niro offers practicality and value in a small package. But the Niro is unique in its segment due to its hybrid powertrains; rivals like him Mazda CX-30 and the Hyundai kona don’t offer that option. The entry-level powertrain is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that is combined with an electric motor to generate 139 horsepower. Also offered is a plug-in hybrid version that can drive up to 26 miles on electric power before turning on the gasoline engine. The Niro isn’t as fun to drive as some of its competitors, but for buyers looking for an SUV with impressive fuel efficiency, there are few better options than a hybrid Niro. If you’re interested in going all-electric, Kia also offers the Niro EV, which we review separately.
What’s new for 2022?
The Niro adopts the new Kia logo on the nose, tail, wheels and steering wheel hub for 2022. Otherwise, the brand’s smallest SUV carries over unchanged to the new model year.
Prices and which one to buy
The plug-in version not only has added value, but also provides approximately 26 miles of pure electric range and more satisfactory driving manners. The LXS PHEV comes standard with automatic high beams, blind spot control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear stick, remote start, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Engine, transmission and performance
A 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and electric motor are paired with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in the regular Niro. The system generates a total of 139 horsepower and motivated the Niro to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds during our tests, putting it on the hunt with much of the competition. the Fully loaded EX Premium trim we testedBeing overwhelmed by all the additional equipment, it took 9.5 seconds to complete the same task. The plug-in hybrid version uses the same basic powertrain as the standard model, albeit with a larger battery pack for a wider range of electric vehicles. That battery adds up to 26 miles of EV operation, according to the EPA. The Niro tackles uneven roads with ease, offering a stable and controlled ride. However, we did notice an unusual level of impact noise entering the cabin when driving on roads with hidden potholes. Steering responses on the Niro are fast and accurate. We also appreciate the availability Steering wheel mounted multipurpose shift paddles, which can be used to change gears or toggle between four levels of regenerative braking, depending on the selected driving mode.
Fuel economy and MPG in the real world
The most economical Niro hybrid is rated at 53 mpg city, 48 mpg highway and 50 mpg combined. The latest version we tested returned 46 highway mpg in our 75 mph fuel economy test. The Niro plug-in hybrid boasts a combined city / highway rating of 105 MPGe, and it also has an estimated 26-mile all-electric driving range. To learn more about the Niro’s fuel economy, visit the EPA website.
Interior, comfort and cargo
The LX base features a fuss-free interior that weighs a lot of plastic and fabric. Leather details go into the mix starting with the mid-level Touring trim, but even the fanciest Niro features synthetic upholstery. Also standard across the line is two-zone automatic climate control, with controls for the driver and front-seat passenger. There’s even a button to turn off the passenger climate control if that seat is empty, which could save energy in the hot summer months, when hybrids traditionally lose efficiency due to increased air conditioning load. The Niro was designed from the ground up to be a hybrid, not converted from an existing gasoline vehicle. As a result, your battery pack does not reduce your cargo space. Unfortunately, the rear seats don’t form a flat cargo floor when folded down, and other similarly sized crossovers can accommodate more cargo. We managed to fit six carry-ons behind the rear seats and 18 folded with the rear seats.
Infotainment and connectivity
The standard infotainment system is an 8.0-inch touchscreen, but a larger 10.3-inch unit is installed on higher trim levels. Both are complemented by hard buttons that include a physical volume and tuning knob. Systems are intuitive and simple, and Kia has earned a reputation for offering wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Base Niros gets some infotainment goodies beyond smartphone connectivity and SiriusXM compatibility. The optional navigation system uses GPS data to predict power demands and, for example, will save battery power before a hill climb.
Driver assistance and safety features
While the base model is not offered with any of the driver assistance technology, the rest of the line comes standard with equipment like automatic high beams, lane keeping assist and more. For more information on the Niro crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Road Safety (IIHS) websites. Key security features include:
- Available forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking
- Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology
- Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert Available
Warranty and maintenance coverage
Kia and its sister company, Hyundai, offer one of the most comprehensive vehicle warranties available. The 10-year powertrain warranty is the cornerstone, but they outperformed the competition in almost every area. The only thing missing, at least for Kia, is free scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
- No free scheduled maintenance