2022 Kia Niro

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2022
The Car Connection
2022
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
December 17, 2021

Buying tip

Forget about the base Niro since it lacks crash-avoidance tech that we consider essential now.

features & specs

EX Premium FWD
LX FWD
LXS FWD
MPG
51 city / 46 hwy
MPG
53 city / 48 hwy
MPG
51 city / 46 hwy
MSRP
$31,990
MSRP
$24,690
MSRP
$26,090

The 2022 Kia Niro is a frugal choice that brims with practicality and, in many configurations, value.

What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Kia Niro? What does it compare to?

The 2022 Kia Niro is a small hybrid that delivers excellent fuel economy and offers up a spacious cargo area. It’s a Toyota Prius without the stigma, and it can also be shopped against the Hyundai Ioniq and Honda Insight. The Niro is offered in hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric variants. 

Is the 2022 Kia Niro a good car/SUV?

Review continues below

Skip the base Niro, which isn’t a great value, and the rest of the lineup looks pretty good. We score the Niro at 5.7 out of 10 on account of its good fuel economy and decent road manners. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Kia Niro?

The Niro lineup sees a few styling tweaks this year as Kia rolls out a new badge. 

Kia offers the Niro in a host of trim levels that vary by powertrain. We review the Niro EV separately. 

Base cars use a 1.6-liter inline-4 rated at just 139 horsepower, which is paired with an electric motor and battery plus a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Niro PHEV models basically drive the same, albeit with a 26-mile fully electric range on a topped-off battery. That’s enough to handle a typical commute without any tailpipe emissions.

Despite its SUV-ish looks, the Niro comes only with front-wheel drive and is not meant for off-road use. Its interior benefits from those SUV lines, though, with decent space for passengers and their gear – if not exactly a luxurious feel inside and out even when fully loaded. 

How much does the 2022 Kia Niro cost?

A base Niro runs just under $26,000. We’d step up to the $27,265 Niro LXS for its standard automatic emergency braking. The plug-in hybrid runs about $31,000, though the math may work out in your favor if you factor in any incentives available to you. 

Where is the 2022 Kia Niro made?

In South Korea.

7

2022 Kia Niro

Styling

The Niro has clean, SUV-ish lines.

Is the Kia Niro a good-looking car?

The Kia Niro looks something like a squat SUV with its unpainted fender flares and trim, but its rounded styling is more like a tall hatchback in person. We rate it at 7 out of 10. It’s a nice-looking vehicle that doesn’t scream about its green credentials.

Inside, the Niro has a clean, convenient layout with a large 8.0-inch touchscreen that can be upgraded to a 10.3-inch unit.

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4

2022 Kia Niro

Performance

The 2022 Kia Niro is clearly oriented toward fuel efficiency.

Is the Kia Niro 4WD?

The 2022 Kia Niro is a front-wheel-drive vehicle. Plan on buying winter tires if you live where snow falls often. 

How fast is the Kia Niro?

With just 139 hp on tap from a 1.6-liter inline-4 linked to an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery, the 2022 Kia Niro accelerates adequately but not quickly. We rate it at 4 out of 10, with a point deducted for its slow moves. 

The 6-speed dual-clutch automatic was a high-tech gearbox when it debuted a while back, but it’s light on gears compared to some rivals.

Niro PHEV models upgrade the battery to deliver as much as 26 miles of electric range on a full charge.

Regardless of configuration, the Niro is oriented more toward comfort than performance. Handling is fine and the ride is firm without being uncomfortable. Braking is a low point, though, with soft pedal feel and inconsistent travel due to the battery regeneration system.

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6

2022 Kia Niro

Comfort & Quality

The 2022 Kia Niro makes good use of its SUV-ish proportions.

Though it doesn’t offer SUV-level capability, the 2022 Kia Niro has a roomy cargo hold that bests other small hybrids. We rate it at 6 out of 10 thanks to that big trunk that can lug 20 cubic feet of goodies with row two upright and almost 55 cubes with it dropped down.

Passenger space is less remarkable, though the standard cloth and optional seats are comfy enough. Rear-seat riders have OK leg room. Materials are hardly dressy. We wish Kia had paid a little more attention to spicing up the Niro’s interior.

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3

2022 Kia Niro

Safety

Kia charges extra for automatic emergency braking in the Niro.

How safe is the Kia Niro?

The 2022 Kia Niro rates just 3 out of 10 for safety on our scale due to the fact that the base model lacks crash-avoidance tech. At least automatic emergency braking is standard otherwise, but we would feel a little duped if we walked into a Kia showroom looking for the least-expensive model. 

The NHTSA rates the Niro at a disconcerting four stars overall, a relatively rare score. The IIHS mostly rates the Niro as “Good,” but that insurance industry-funded group shares our assertion that automatic emergency braking ought to be standard by now.

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6

2022 Kia Niro

Features

The base Kia Niro misses out, but other versions represent a good value overall.

Which Kia Niro should I buy?

Forget about the base 2022 Niro LX that’s priced a little under $26,000. It may deliver the best fuel economy, but it’s lacking in standard fare, though it does come with power features and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Overall, we rate the lineup at 6 out of 10: it earns points for infotainment and warranty coverage, but gives one back for features omitted from the base LX.

Instead, the Niro LXS for $1,400 more makes a good gateway into this lineup. It includes collision-avoidance tech including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control, plus nicer interior materials and keyless start. That’s a lot of stuff for the money.

An LXS Special Edition upgrades the upholstery and adds power adjustment for the driver’s seat, features that may be worthwhile to some buyers. Touring Special Edition models swap the 8.0-inch screen for a 10.3-inch display plus they include leather upholstery for about $31,000. Curiously, while wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come with the smaller screen, the bigger display requires a cable for smartphone projection. 

How much is a fully loaded Kia Niro?

A Niro EX Premium runs about $33,000 and it comes with cooled front seats and a moonroof. 

All Niros carry a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty.

The Niro PHEV has a three-prong lineup with LXS, EX, and EX Premium trim levels that span about $31,000 to $37,700, though most buyers will qualify for at least some incentives from state, federal, and local authorities.

Review continues below
8

2022 Kia Niro

Fuel Economy

The 2022 Kia Niro is a high-efficiency model in any configuration.

Is the Kia Niro good on gas?

The 2022 Niro is one of the most frugal cars on the market, though fuel economy ratings vary by trim level. Overall, we rate the range at 8 out of 10. 

Among standard Niro models, the LX has low rolling-resistance tires that help it score 53 mpg city, 48 highway, 50 combined. That’s impressive. LXS and EX Premium trims slide to 51/46/49 mpg, while the bigger wheels on the Touring Special Edition look great but add drag and reduce its rating to 46/40/43 mpg. Shop carefully. 

The Niro PHEV is rated at 46 mpg combined regardless of trim level – that higher-capacity battery pack adds some heft, after all. The tradeoff is a 26-mile all-electric rating, which should be enough for a typical to-and-from work commute.

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$24,690
MSRP based on LX FWD
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5.7
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 4
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety 3
Features 6
Fuel Economy 8
Compare the 2022 Kia Niro against the competition
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2022 Kia Niro Pricing Insights

  • 2022 Kia Niro arriving; 2021s sold out
  • Lease: From $179 for 36 months
  • Rebate: Up to $1,000 cash back
  • Finance: From 0.9% APR
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