It would seem that Kia looked at the 2021 Niro Hybrid and decided it liked everything it saw except for one glaring thing. The small electrified crossover will arrive on dealer lots with no major changes except for the new Kia badge placed on the grille, tailgate, wheel center caps, and steering wheel. The PHEV and Electric versions of the Niro also get the new badging.
Beyond the car itself, there are some minor updates to pricing and trim levels. Five trims will cross into next year, the same number as now, but with one name change: Touring has become LXS SE. And there are three noteworthy price decreases. The lineup and pricing after a $1,175 destination charge, with any difference from 2021 in parentheses:
LXS SE: $28,765 (currently the Touring, an $800 price drop comes with the trim name change)
Touring SE: $29,890 ($1,060 price drop)
EX Premium: $31,990 ($960 price drop)
PHEV LXS: $30,765 ($31,940)
PHEV EX: $33,390 ($34,565)
PHEV EX Premium: $37,665 ($60 price drop)
EV EX: $41,165 ($900)
EV EX Premium: $45,825
Kia gave the Niro some extra convenience features for the 2021 model year like wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as a proximity entry. The carmaker also raised prices on the LX, LXS, and Touring trims by a couple hundred dollars. The price drop on the LXS SE wipes out this year's increase and then some.
The powertrain specs hold steady throughout the range. On the Niro Hybrid, that's a 1.6-liter four-cylinder working with a 43-horsepower electric motor to produce a combined 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, shifted through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Fuel economy depends on the chosen trim, the base LX going furthest with an EPA rating of 53 miles per gallon in the city, 48 on the highway, and 50 combined. The LXS, LXS SE, and top-shelf EX Premium shave that a hair to 51 city, 46 highway, 49 combined. All of those models ride on 16-inch wheels. Because the penultimate Touring trim rides on 18-inchers, its gas mileage drops to 46 city, 43 highway, 40 combined.
It's possible Kia's guarding its powder to make a Niro-sized bang later this year. Autocar reports Kia will debut a new Niro later this year for a 2023 introduction. The new generation will supposedly adopt "a more overtly SUV shape" outside and take a lot of inspiration for its insides from the Kia HabaNiro concept the brand debuted at the 2019 New York Auto Show. We'll have to see if that makes it to our shores, or if, like the Sportage, Kia plans a spicier Euro-specific Niro.
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