It has been 13 months since I bought a 2020 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium and it has met or exceeded my expectations. The gas mileage is great. The ride and comfort are excellent. As a small little SUV, it performs the tasks I need it to do.
At $40,000 the 2020 Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium compact SUV was the most expensive car I ever considered buying. After one year, the Niro has met my standards for a semi-premium vehicle. First, it is comfortable for my 6 foot and 1 inch height. I can drive for hours and never get a back or leg ache. One reason for the limited stress on my frame is the adaptive cruise control on the highway. I set the speed and car lengths between me and the car in front of me and the car does the rest. All I have to do is pay attention to the road and my surroundings. The adaptive cruise controls the car and saves gas because the vehicle stays at a relatively constant speed.
Kia Niro PHEV Met My Expectations
I have driven almost 7,000 miles in the last year and in every driving condition except snow. The Niro has handled very well. There are faster cars, but I am able merge onto the freeway in an acceptable manner and pass a slow car when I need the extra power. Frankly, I really don’t understand everyone’s fixation on how fast a car can get from 0 to 60 mph. You buy a car to get to the dentist, grocery store, see the grandparents, work, and get you to entertainment venues like a hiking trail. Most people don’t buy cars for a race track or drag race.
Most of my driving has been in all EV (electric vehicle) mode, using all battery power. It is amazing how much of our lives revolve around a 10 – 15 mile radius around our homes. Consequently, I’m able to drive in all EV and never use the gasoline engine. During the winter the engine will come on to heat the cabin, but not power the wheels. However, the heated seats and heated steering wheel allow me to avoid using the heater on many cool mornings.
Great Fuel Economy
The average fuel economy, according to the car, for all of my driving is 84.5 miles per gallon. I have seen it has high as 120 mpg when all I do is all EV driving for weeks during the summer. On the long trip over to Napa, 166 miles round trip, the fuel economy was almost 52 mpg hybrid mode. Hybrid mode is primarily the gasoline engine running. I have seen hybrid mpg has high as 57 mpg with all highway trips at 65 miles per hour. The hybrid milage can dip into the mid-40s mpg if there is a lot of driving around town.
I believe that I have filled up the gas tank about 6 times since I got the car. Instead of spending approximately $1,000 on gasoline, I’m under $100 for the year. Of course, electricity is not free. Currently, the electrical rate is $0.19 per kilowatt hour. A full battery (going from 15% to 100% or 26 mile range) costs about $1.43. If you consider a normal car averages 30 miles per gallon at $4 per gallon for gasoline, you can see the savings. Of course, the range is a little farther than 26 miles because of regenerative braking might add one to four miles range.
My only complaint is that I can’t see the speedometer when I have the steering wheel in a position that is most comfortable. Otherwise, I have figured out all of the dashboard and infotainment controls, and they are numerous. For the most part, they are logically laid out and easy to adjust when driving. On the infotainment screen I have the radio station, climate control, and map. Those widgets can’t be seen on the vehicle’s operating dashboard where I can flip through the car conditions such as all EV range, trip odometer, adaptive cruise control, etc.
The Bluetooth phone audio and microphone quality are excellent. The ventilated seats are terrific in summer. The seats are firm and comfortable. On either straight freeway or windy roads the car is controlled and responsive, with no surprises. The reverse camera is very clear. The dimming rear view mirror works great at night with bright headlamps behind you.
Packed With Safety Features
The voluminous safety features can be annoying to some people. I have taken the opportunity to improve my driving. I don’t mind the back-up beeps or the chimes when the car comes to close to either the center or right-hand lines. The Niro alerts me when the car in front of me has left the stop light and I’m still sitting there singing to the music on the radio. The car beeps, chimes, dings, or dongs for a variety of reasons such as a car in front of you suddenly slowing down, a car passing behind you when you are pulling out of the driveway, or if you want to change lanes and there is a car in your blind spot.
I have to believe that there are fewer collisions with cars with all these safety features. While all of the dings and dongs can be annoying, for a person like me who can get lost in thought, they are welcome features.
The utility portion of vehicle is not forgotten. I routinely haul stuff (groceries, grandfather clocks, brick, stone, and junk for the dump) in the back of the car. The back hatch lifts high with ample opening space to get awkward items in the back. The Niro quickly got dirty from travels to dirt roads to go hiking or hauling stones for the side of the house. It became my car as soon as it got filthy. It meant I was using the car as I intended to.
In short, I have no buyer’s remorse with the purchase of the Niro. I did quite a bit of research before I purchased the Niro. Any major short-comings to the vehicle would have been on me. It is always a gamble on buying a car to meet certain requirements. So far, the Niro has met all of my conditions and I was well aware of any limitations. For instance, the Niro is not All Wheel Drive. I have not been to the snow. I do have cables if it ever snows in California again and I want to go snow-shoeing.
Oddly, I actually feel as if I am driving a more luxurious car than I bought. To this I cannot complain. I like the dual climate control, creature comforts, quiet ride, and smooth operation. At the same time, I have no fear of flipping up the back hatch and loading the car with paving stones for the next home project. Kia did a nice job on the Niro.