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2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Overview

William Kinton
Automotive Editor - February 7, 2018

The 2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid crossover was just revealed at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, and has already hit showrooms across the country. Building off of the the success of the standard Kia Niro Hybrid, the Niro Plug-In adds the ability to travel up to 26 miles on electric power only. Like the standard Niro, the Niro Plug-In is surprisingly handsome and fun to drive, and is well equipped compared to similarly priced plug-in hybrids.

What's New for 2018

The 2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid is a brand new model for 2018.

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

Choosing Your Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

At the heart of the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid is a 104-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a 60-horsepower electric motor fed by an 8.9-kilowatt-hour lithium-polymer battery pack that can be fully charged from a 240-volt outlet in about 2.5 hours. This hybrid drivetrain allows the Niro Plug-In to achieve an EPA-estimated 105 miles per gallon equivalent rating, as well as standard fuel efficiency ratings of 48 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway for a total of 46 mpg combined. Those conventional figures are about the same as the standard Niro. However, the electric-only range of 26 miles could allow some drivers to commute on electric power alone, cutting gas usage significantly. The Niro Plug-in also features a driver-only air conditioning mode which saves power by sending cooled air at the driver only.

Unlike many hybrids, the Niro Plug-In has a dual-clutch transmission instead of a continuously variable transmission, which allows for a sportier driving experience. This allows the Niro Plug-In to operate in four driving modes: EV mode, Hybrid mode, Eco Mode, or Sport mode.

Although it's not listed on the EPA's website as of this writing, the 2018 Niro Plug-In Hybrid will likely come with a federal tax credit. Credits for other plug-in hybrids range from $2,500 to $7,500 (the same figure reserved for full electric vehicles). The 2018 Niro Plug-In will likely land right between those two figures – the only other Kia plug-in is the Optima sedan, which is eligible for a $4,919 credit.

The Niro Plug-In comes in three trim levels:


The LX trim level is the base for the Niro Plug-In, starting at $28,840 including a $940 destination fee. At this trim, the Niro Plug-In gets a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, cloth seats with blue accents, dual-zone climate control and several standard autonomous features like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. No option packages are available at this trim level, and the only standalone options are dealer installed accessories.


The mid-level EX trim starts at $32,440 and adds a few more standard features like a 10-way adjustable driver seat, leather trim, and heated front seats. The EX also gets a few more driver assistance features like blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, and rear-cross traffic alerts. Like the LX, no option packages are available, and the only standalone options available are accessories installed by the dealer.

EX Premium

The top EX Premium trim starts at $35,440, adding a few more niceties to the Niro Plug-In Hybrid. This trim gets LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, and a larger eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with voice-operated navigation. It also gets a premium Harmon/Kardon audio system with eight speakers, as well as front and rear parking assist. There are no packages for this trim level, and options are still just accessories from the dealer.

CarsDirect Tip

Despite the extra features, the cabin of the Niro Plug-In Hybrid at the EX and EX Premium doesn't feel like it belongs in a car that's well over $30,000. Instead, it would probably be best to stick with the base level LX trim, which is quite well equipped for it's price with driver assistance features and luxuries like dual-zone climate control.

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