2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Priced From $28,840, Cheaper To Lease Than Prius

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Senior Pricing Analyst

Alex Bernstein is the Senior Pricing Analyst for CarsDirect.com. Each month he studies immense volumes of pricing and incentives data in search of trends that are useful to car shoppers. In the process, he often breaks industry news stories -- his analyses and insights have been featured on websites such as Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, The Truth About Cars and The Car Connection.

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, Senior Pricing Analyst - December 21, 2017

Kia will soon begin selling the Niro Plug-In Hybrid, a new addition based on the crossover-like Niro hybrid introduced earlier this year. The model will be a unique choice in terms of roominess, technology and the ability to drive up to 26 miles purely on electric power.

Dealer bulletins reveal the model will start just under $29,000. However, our analysis shows the vehicle will be a particularly remarkable value for shoppers intending to lease. In some cases, it's even poised to undercut the Toyota Prius.

Here's a look at what's in store.

Offer Details

Kia will start things off with a national lease on the Niro LX Plug-In of $259 for 36 months with $1,999 due at signing. Based on our analysis, this equates to an effective cost of $315/month.

For reference, the Toyota Prius Two starts at $269/month here in Los Angeles, with the same term and amount at signing. The Prius Prime Plus starts at $349/month, making the Niro $10 less than the Prius and $90 less than the Prime.

The Niro lease factors a $4,543 Federal tax credit and an allowance of 12,000 miles per year. Alternatively, shoppers looking to buy will have access to financing rates as low as 0.9% APR for up to 60 months.

Interestingly, the leasing information reveals Kia has priced the Niro LX Plug-In at $28,840 including destination. That makes it $845 more than the Prius Prime Plus and $3,260 more than the Prius Two, but more affordable to lease.

As of this writing, the Niro is not yet listed as eligible for the $1,500 Clean Vehicle Rebate (CVRP) in California. However, given that its 26 mile range meets the minimum requirement of 20 miles, it's likely that the CVRP website simply hasn't been updated yet.

A Smart Buy?

In terms of specs, the Niro Plug-In promises similar cargo space as the Prius Prime, but with the notable advantage of being able to seat 5 passengers (compared to just 4 in the Prime) and 4 inches more rear legroom.

Fuel economy in the Prime is considerably higher at 133 MPGe, next to 105 MPGe in the Niro. Having said that, the Chevy Volt is rated at 106 MPGe but offers an impressive 53 miles of electric range.

The Volt LT benefits from generous discounts in California and parts of the Northeast, with an effective cost $9/month less than the Niro ($306 vs. $315). Nationally, the Kia will actually have a $51 advantage due to fewer discounts on the Volt in other parts of the country ($366 vs. $315).

The Niro is set to offer a lot of value when it comes to safety. Even the base model comes equipped with emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. In a Volt, you'd have to step up to a loaded $39,435 Premier model to get access to the latest assistance tech.

In some cases, the Niro Plug-in could be a smarter buy than the regular Niro hybrid. That's because the features listed above only become available in the LX hybrid by adding a $1,450 package, bringing its price to $25,940, $2,900 less than the Plug-In. With plug-in incentives, upgrading could make a lot of sense.

, Senior Pricing Analyst

Alex Bernstein is the Senior Pricing Analyst for CarsDirect.com. Each month he studies immense volumes of pricing and incentives data in search of trends that are useful to car shoppers. In the process, he often breaks industry news stories -- his analyses and insights have been featured on websites such as Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, The Truth About Cars and The Car Connection.

Follow On: Google+ | Website