Is the 2021 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid a Good Car?

The 2021 Kia Niro is worth a look for anyone wanting an efficient PHEV backed by Kia’s excellent warranty. Read more here!
Written by Mary Alice Morris
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Jul 14, 2022
If you want the green energy of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) plus the versatility of a subcompact crossover, the
2021 Kia Niro
PHEV has the best of both worlds.
The 2021 Niro PHEV checks a lot of boxes for prospective car buyers. It’s got great fuel economy, excellent standard features—including a new standard rear-seat occupant alert—and a competitive price. It’s an appealing PHEV option for anyone who wants the flexibility to drive on all-electric energy while remaining confident that, when the juice runs out, the combustion engine will take over. 
If you want to know more about the model, its specs, and some of its top competitors, check out this guide to the 2021 Niro PHEV from
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2021 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid

The 2021 Kia Niro PHEV is an interesting blend of practicality and fun. Its PHEV powertrain ensures efficiency and environmental responsibility. But, diverging from many other hybrids and electric vehicles, the Niro does not employ a continuously-variable transmission. Instead, it has a dual-clutch
The dual-clutch transmission is basically two combined transmissions, one for odd gears and one for even gears. Both work together to allow a seamless transition—as one side disengages one gear, the other side can engage another gear at the same time without a pause in between. This makes driving the 2021 Niro PHEV a little more sporty and a lot more fun than other models.
And if you’re a driver who enjoys more involvement with your car, you can also get the 2021 Niro PHEV with paddle shifters for the EX and EX Premium trims. 
Keep reading to see more information and specs on the Niro PHEV.

Pricing

The 2021 Kia Niro PHEV has a starting MSRP of $29,590 for the LXS trim. The EX trim’s price starts at $33,390, and the EX Premium trim’s starting price is $36,550.  
Besides the reasonable pricing, the model is also eligible for $4,543 in federal
tax credits
, and it may be eligible for state tax credits depending on where you live.

Performance and fuel economy

The Niro’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder parallel hybrid engine has an impressive driving range and fuel economy. If you’re relying solely on the combustion engine, it gets a combined 46 mpg. If you’re in hybrid mode, you can get up to 105 MPGe—that is the equivalent mileage range per gallon that you can see thanks to its EV battery. 
The total driving range with a fully-charged, fueled-up 2021 Niro PHEV is 560 miles. If you want to drive in all-electric mode, you can go up to 26 miles. This is great for people with a reasonable work commute who have charging access at the office. 
And, it’s completely realistic to get a full charge for your Niro while you’re at work. If you can hook up to a 220V charger, you’ll get the job done in about 2.5 hours. If all that’s available is a 110V charger, it’ll still reach full capacity in about 9 hours

Exterior styling

The Niro PHEV’s outside styling is appealing and modern, with lots of practical features offered from the base level up. The black radiator grille is offset by chrome trim, and the rear spoiler gives the model a touch of athleticism and practicality. 
Roof rails are standard across trims, as are 16-inch wheels, solar control glass, a sound-absorbing windshield, and rear privacy glass. 
On the base trim, six standard exterior colors are available:
  • Silky Silver
  • Snow White Pearl
  • Runway Red
  • Platinum Graphite
  • Aurora Black Pearl
  • Deep Cerulean
A seventh color option, Horizon Blue, is available for the EX and EX Premium levels. 
Also on the two higher trims are outside mirror-mounted LED turn signal indicators, heated and power-folding outside mirrors, and front fog lights. The EX Premium comes with a power sunroof and LED headlights, too.

Interior and comfort

The Niro PHEV’s interior is surprisingly spacious for such a small SUV. Behind the rear seats, you’ll find 19.4 cubic feet of cargo space, and if you fold the back seats down, you get 54.5 cubic feet. If you can’t fold them down because you have passengers, rest assured, they’ll be comfortable enjoying a generous 37.4 inches of legroom and 39.1 inches of headroom.
The driver will enjoy a tilt and telescopic steering column, and all trims offer dual-zone air conditioning with a driver-only mode to save energy.

Technology

The Niro offers a nice technology suite that includes ample infotainment and lots of adaptive safety features. 
For music and tech lovers, here’s what comes standard:
  • An 8-inch color touchscreen display with Kia UVO link, allowing access and control of in-vehicle technologies
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Rear-view camera
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • A smart-key with remote start, keyless ignition, and engine immobilizer
The EX and EX Premium trims also offer wireless phone charging, and the EX Premium comes with a Harman Kardon premium sound system and a 10.25-inch color touchscreen.
Safety features across all trims include:
  • Blind-spot collision warning
  • Rear cross-traffic collision warning
  • Forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Driver attention warning
  • Rear occupant alert
The EX and EX Premium trims also add a cyclist detection system to their forward collision avoidance, as well as smart cruise control and lane-following assist. At the EX Premium level, your smart cruise control is navigation-based and highway driving assistance is included. 

Warranty coverage

With a newly-purchased 2021 Niro PHEV, you’ll get Kia’s excellent across-the-board 10-year/100,000-mile warranty, which includes:
  • Limited Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles
  • Limited Basic Warranty: Five years or 60,000 miles
  • Limited Anti-Perforation Warranty: Five years or 60,000 miles
  • Roadside Assistance: Five years or 60,000 miles

Trim levels and options

The 2021 Kia Niro PHEV comes in three trim levels: the LXS, the EX, and the EX Premium. All trims include a leather-wrapped gear shift knob and steering wheel, satin chrome inside door handles, a 60/40 split rear folding seat, and a four-way adjustable passenger seat. 
The EX and EX Premium trims offer a 10-way adjustable driving seat, compared to the four-way driver’s seat in the LXS. The two higher trim levels also feature a cargo cover, rear console vents, adjustable mood lighting, and heated front seats. 
While the LXS has a cloth seat trim, you’ll find a cloth and leather blend in the EX and SynTex seating materials in the EX Premium. The EX Premium also offers rear parking assistance, driver-seat integrated memory, ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.  

2021 Kia Niro PHEV vs. 2021 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV

Let’s take a look at how the 2021 Niro compares to other 2021 PHEVs, starting with the
Hyundai Ioniq
.
While the Niro offers a lot in terms of tech, standard safety features, and cargo space, the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV outperforms it on just about every major spec, from fuel economy to driving range.
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2021 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid
$29,590
46 mpg
105 MPGe
560 miles
2.5 hours
10 years or 100,000 miles
2021 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid
$27,705
52 mpg
119 MPGe
630 miles
2 hours
Lifetime
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2021 Kia Niro PHEV vs. 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

If you want a subcompact crossover but you aren’t sure the Niro is right for you, you may be considering larger options like the
Mitsubishi Outlander
PHEV. 
The Outlander brings standard all-wheel drive (compared to the Niro’s front-wheel drive) and third-row seating for up to seven passengers while remaining classified as a subcompact SUV crossover. However, the extra seating and traction come at the expense of efficiency. Here’s how the models compare:
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2021 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid
$29,590
46 mpg
105 MPGe
560 miles
2.5 hours
10 years or 100,000 miles
2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid
$36,295
26 mpg
74 MPGe
320 miles
4 hours
10 years or 100,000 miles

How to save money on car insurance

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