a white 2019 kia niro sitting in a driveway

Which 2019 Kia Niro Is Right for You?

The 2019 Kia Niro is built from the ground up to optimize fuel economy. And it does this all while looking like a normal crossover SUV! If you don't think this is a small feat, just look at the Toyota Prius. Yes, that vehicle has great gas mileage, but is its styling conventional? Other than the name badge on the back of the Niro, you wouldn't otherwise know this is a high-mileage driver.

A Trio of Engines

This subcompact crossover comes in three different models, none of which has a traditional gasoline engine. The standard offering Niro is a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) with a battery that helps lower fuel consumption. There is also a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Kia Niro that can drive up to 26 miles on the electric battery alone before a gas engine takes over. Finally, there is the fully electric Niro EV that travels up to 239 miles between charges using zero gasoline. This detailed breakdown shows which features you can find in each trim in each version of the Niro. And if you need a refresher on the different hybrid and electric engine types, as well as their pros and cons, you can find more information in our detailed breakdown.

FE

The Niro FE is the least expensive Kira Niro at $23,490. It’s equipped with a 1.6-liter hybrid engine that’s capable of 104 horsepower and 109 pound-foot of torque using fuel and 43 hp and 125 lb.-ft of torque with the electric motor. That’s not a lot of get-up-and-go, but Niro drivers probably aren't interested in drag racing. That said, it gets fantastic gas mileage of up to 52 mpg in the city and 49 mpg on the highway.

Since the Niro FE is the base model, it doesn’t come with the features you’d find in more expensive trims, but the standard features are substantial. Some of the best include UVO eServices, a set of tools including roadside assistance and a parking minder. You also get a seven-inch color touch-screen display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, privacy glass, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, and a rear camera display.

The only notable downside of the 2019 Kia Niro FE is the lack of advanced safety features like lane departure warnings. It does come with basic features like airbags and crumple zones, but anything else requires upgrading. The Niro FE trim is not available on plug-in hybrid or fully electric versions of the vehicle.

LX

The LX trim is available on the traditional hybrid electric Niro starting at $23,900 and doesn't change much from the Niro FE. However, it does add a few features to make the small price increase worth it. This trim adds roof rails so you can store more cargo or carry camping equipment. The Niro LX also has rear combination LED lamps and includes a push-button start with smart key and an immobilizer.

The LX is the base trim on the 2019 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid. Its higher starting price of $28,500 takes into account the bigger battery that this version of the Niro has on board. Unlike its HEV cousin, the Niro PHEV needs to be plugged into a power source to recharge the battery and take advantage of its 26-mile range. The higher price will also net buyers a few more safety features that aren't found on the HEV Niro at this trim level. The PHEV version comes standard with autonomous emergency braking, a forward collision warning system, lane keep assist, and smart cruise control.

EX

The EX is the first trim level available across all 3 versions of the Niro (HEV, PHEV, and EV). It has significant improvements over the two previous trims in the traditional hybrid electric version of the Niro. Its starting MSRP is $26,400. The exterior adds LED turn-signal indicators for improved safety and heated outside mirrors for cold winter days. It also includes daytime running headlamps and fog lights. Overall, the Niro EX has a much stronger set of safety features than the Niro FE or the Niro LX.

The inside has very few alterations, but they’re big ones. Blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alerts are included with the Niro EX. Overall, this can significantly decrease the risk of an accident, which protects both you and your investment. Kia lists the mileage as a touch lower than the previous trims—51 mpg in the city and 46 on the highway.

The EX trim on the Niro PHEV starts at $32,100. The majority of the features are the same here as on the HEV version, though there are some minor differences. The most notable one is that upgrades are available to HEV buyers (such as larger infotainment screen or improved seating options). These upgrades aren't available on the EX trim of the Niro Plug-In Hybrid. The PHEV version does come standard with 10-way driver's seat adjustment, however. That's compared to only 4-way standard seat adjustment on the HEV.

Similarly, the EX trim on the fully electric Niro EV shares a majority of the same features as the PHEV version. One main difference is that the driver's seat comes standard with a 6-way adjustment. Yet, it too lacks many of the upgradable options found on the HEV Niro. The EX trim on the Niro EV starts at $38,500, with the higher price going mostly to the larger battery, capable of 239 miles per charge. We suggest this trim (across all versions of the Niro) as the best bang for your buck!

S Touring

The 2019 Kia Niro S Touring starts at $28,800 and is the most cosmetically distinct of the Niro's trim levels. The exterior has sport black accents, including 18-in alloy wheels with a black finish. On the inside, drivers will find an eight-inch touch-screen display with voice-command navigation. The speaker system is a Harman Kardon Premium Surround Sound system with Clari-Fi. It consists of eight speakers located around the cabin, along with an integrated subwoofer. The driver's seat is also upgraded to a standard 10-way power adjustment with 2-way lumbar support. On previous trims, it has only been 4-way adjustable. The S Touring trim is not available on plug-in hybrid or fully electric versions of the vehicle.

Touring

The Touring trim is the top-of-the-line choice for the traditional hybrid electric Niro with an MSRP of $32,250. It is not available on plug-in hybrid or fully electric versions of the vehicle. The price isn’t much higher than the Niro S Touring, but it has plenty of small upgrades.

The exterior lacks the sport black accents but includes a power sunroof. The glossy black radiator grille with chrome trim is back after skipping the previous trim level. The sunroof can make a huge difference if you’re planning on using your Kia Niro as a vacation vehicle. Drivers also now have leather seating, ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. Wireless phone charging is also standard. Overall, the small additions add up to a luxurious and well-equipped vehicle.

EX Premium

The EX Premium trim serves as the top-of-the-line option on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid and the Niro EV. It is comparable to the HEV Niro's Touring trim in that it features leather seating, ventilated and heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and standard wireless phone charging. While a power sunroof is standard on the Niro EV, it is merely an available upgradeable option on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid. The starting MSRPs are $35,200 for the 2019 Niro Plug-In Hybrid EX Premium and $44,000 for the Niro EV EX Premium.

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Last Updated: August 30, 2019