2021 Kia Niro

#24
in Suvs
2021 MODEL
$24,590 - $32,790
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6.8

Overall Rating

INDIGO

2021 Kia Niro Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: August 12, 2020
Karan Rawat's image

Karan Rawat

Automotive Journalist

Kia describes the Niro as an SUV, but it's just a lifted hatchback which gives you a marginally higher-positioned view of the road but offers nothing for foul-weather driving.

The 2021 Kia Niro comes in five trims: LX, LXS, Touring, Touring Special Edition, and EX Premium. The hybrid and plug-in-hybrid models feature a 139-horsepower powertrain consisting of a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive comes standard as well.

The base 2021 Niro will start at $23,490 and goes up to $32,790 for the top trim. The plug-in model starts around $28,500, and the EV will be priced at $38,500.

See detailed review »

Pros

Excellent fuel economy

Spacious interior

Intuitive infotainment system

Cons

Not available with all-wheel drive

Interior not as upscale as rivals

Unimpressive acceleration

What's New?

Minor interior and exterior upgrades

Improved standard safety features and infotainment


Pictures

Exterior
Interior

Styles

2021 Kia Niro in Aurora Black color 2021 Kia Niro in Runway Red color 2021 Kia Niro in Silky Silver color 2021 Kia Niro in Snow White Pearl color
Aurora Black

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

6.8

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Kia Niro LX

LX

power
104 hp
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
49 combined

$24,590


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
LX 5dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $24,590 MSRP (51/49/46) 104 hp, 1.6 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed automatic front wheel drive 5

2021 Kia Niro LXS

LXS

power
104 hp
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
49 combined

$25,990


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
LXS 5dr SUV (1.6 4cyl 6A) Starting at $25,990 MSRP (51/49/46) 104 hp, 1.6 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed automatic front wheel drive 5

2021 Kia Niro Touring

Touring

power
104 hp
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
49 combined

$28,290


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Touring 5dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $28,290 MSRP (51/49/46) 104 hp, 1.6 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed automatic front wheel drive 5

2021 Kia Niro Touring Special Edition

Touring Special Edition

power
104 hp
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
49 combined

$30,790


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Touring Special Edition 5dr SUV (1.6 4cyl 6A) Starting at $30,790 MSRP (51/49/46) 104 hp, 1.6 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed automatic front wheel drive 5

2021 Kia Niro EX Premium

EX Premium

power
104 hp
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
49 combined

$32,790


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Ex Premium 5dr SUV (1.6 4cyl 6A) Starting at $32,790 MSRP (51/49/46) 104 hp, 1.6 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-Speed automatic front wheel drive 5

Expert Review

6.8

Overall Rating


The Kia Niro is, in many ways, one of the more unusual hybrid cars you can buy – not least because it looks so 'normal.’ Its shape is somewhere between an SUV and a family hatchback. The 2021 Kia Niro is a solid pick for a fuel-efficient vehicle. It stands out from rivals such as the Hyundai Ioniq and Toyota Prius.

2021 Kia Niro Front Third Quarter View
2021 Kia Niro Rear Third Quarter View

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

2021 Kia Niro Features

The standard 2021 Niro would come in five trims, namely, LX, LXS, Touring, Touring Sport or Special Edition, and EX Premium. All would carry an FWD drivetrain and cost between $24,590 and $32,790. The prices of the plug-in hybrid and EV trims would differ from the standard models.

Model

LX

LXS

Touring

Touring Sport/Special Edition

EX Premium

MSRP(FWD)

$24,590

$25,990

$28,290

$30,790

$32,790

MSRP(AWD)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Key Features

Dual-zone automatic front air conditioning

Automatic emergency braking

Driver lumbar support

Leather seat trim

16-inch aluminum wheels

 

Seek-scan AM or FM radio

Active lane control,

Seek-scan SiriusXM AM, FM, HD, and satellite radio

Navigation system

Heated front-row cushion, seats, and seatback

 

Dual first-row LCD monitors

Keyless ignition

Front fog lights

Seek-scan SiriusXM AM, FM, HD, and satellite radio

Leatherette seat trim

 

Keyfob entry

Leather-wrapped steering wheel

Heated mirrors

Front fog lights

Park Assist Parking Assist

 

Cloth seat trim

Dual-zone automatic front air conditioning

Cloth or leather seat upholstery

Heated mirrors

Front fog lights

 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility

Seek-scan AM or FM radio

 

Cloth or leather seat upholstery

Heated mirrors

The LX trim highlights would include 16-inch wheels, roof rails, dual-zone automatic climate control, six-speaker sound system, and an 8-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

The LXS trim highlights would include keyless ignition, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, forward collision warning, and lane-keeping assist.

The Touring trim highlights would include 18-inch wheels, sunroof, paddle shifters, power-adjustable driver's seat, leather and cloth combination upholstery, and adaptive cruise control.

The Touring Special Edition trim's highlights would include LED headlights, leather upholstery, 10.25-inch touchscreen, and an 8-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

The highlights of the EX Premium trim would include heated steering wheel, ventilated and heated front-row seats, simulated leather upholstery, wireless charging pad, rear parking sensors, and a cargo cover.

2021 Kia Niro Maintenance, Reliability and Warranty

The 2021 Niro would come at a competitive sticker price against all of its rivals and would showcase better than average J.D.Power results. However, it would provide much better powertrain and limited warranties than any of its competitors. The Niro is recognized for its practicality, reliability, driving experience, and high mileage.

Reliability and Ownership Costs

The 2020 Niro LX FWD received an overall score of 76 out of 100 under the J.D.Power report. It also achieved identical results under the quality & reliability and driving experience section. Besides this, it attained 78 and 74 out of 100 under the resale and dealership experience. The NHTSA and IIHS have given excellent remarks to the 2019 model of the trim. We expect no less from the 2021 trims and better J.D.Power scores.

The average cost of 2021 Niro across Washington, Florida, California, Arizona, and New Jersey might be slightly higher than $23,000, but its sticker price is $24,590. The cost could be lower in the states exempted from sales taxes.

The 2019 Niro with HID headlights achieved the Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS. Also, the LX FWD trim got an overall four-star rating from NHTSA. We expect similar or better results from the 2020 and 2021 models. Moreover, there are no recalls, investigations, and complaints against the 2020 trims; however, there are ten complaints about the 2019 models.

The ownership cost of the 2019 trim comes to $23,490 in the first year, and after that, $3,878 every subsequent year. We can expect similar five-year expenditures from the 2020 and 2021 trims.

Warranty

The 2021 Niro would come with five years or 60,000-miles Limited warranty and roadside assistance, whichever finishes first. It would also come with ten years or 100,000-miles Powertrain and five years or 100,000 miles Corrosion warranty. The Hybrid and Electric trims would also have ten years or 100,000-miles Hybrid/Electric component warranty.

Criteria

Period

Limited warranty

5-years/60,000-miles, whichever finishes first

Powertrain warranty

10-years/100,000-miles, whichever ends first

24-hour roadside assistance

5-years/60,000-miles, whichever ends first

The Escape S, Fiat 500X Pop, and Equinox L would offer lower Powertrain and Limited warranties compared to the upcoming Kia Niro. The Escape S and Equinox L would come with a three-year or 36,000-miles Limited warranty and five-year or 60,000-miles Powertrain warranty. The Fiat 500X Pop would offer four years and 50,000-miles Powertrain and Limited warranties. The roadside assistance warranty of the Equinox Land Escape S would be identical to the Niro and more than the 500X Pop.

Miles Per Dollar

For every mile you’ll make in your Niro, you’ll be shelling out $7. This price is still favourable compared with the American rivals, especially when they’re equipped to the same levels.

2021 Kia Niro Buying Advice

We would go ahead with the 2021 Niro Touring trim because it would have features like 18-inch wheels, sunroof, paddle shifters, power-adjustable driver's seat, leather, and cloth combination upholstery, and adaptive cruise control.

The power-adjustable driver's seat would enhance the driving comfort, and the paddle shifters would grant a more fun experience. However, the mid-range vehicle would have a slightly high cost of $28,290 and a combined mileage of 43 mpg.

Is buying a used Kia Niro a good idea?

As per speculations, the value of 2021 Niro would depreciate by 33 percent in the first year. Crossing 7,600-miles would decrease two-fifths of its value. Speculations also suggest that the EV trims could retain up to 51.7 percent even after 36 months.

There have been few changes to the Niro since it launched for 2017. Most notably, Kia added the plug-in-hybrid model to the lineup for the 2018 model year and introduced the EV model for 2019.

2021 Kia Niro Engine and Performance

The base trim of the upcoming Kira Niro would have a 1.6-liter inline-4 engine and 6-speed automated manual transmission capable of delivering 139 hp at 5,700 rpm and 195 lb-ft @2,400 rpm. As per speculations, the horsepower could be increased up to 143 horses.

2021 Kia Niro Side View

The plug-in hybrid could have similar output, and the EV could deliver 201 hp at 3,800 rpm along with a torque of 291 lb-ft. Front-wheel drive comes standard as well.

Models

2021 Kia Niro

2020 Ford Escape S

2020 Fiat 500X Pop

2020 Chevrolet Equinox L

MSRP

$24,590

$24,885

$24,590

$23,800

Engine

1.6L Inline-4

1.5L Turbo Inline-3

1.3L 4 cylinder

1.5L Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

AWD

FWD

Transmission

6-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

9-speed automatic

Continuously variable-speed automatic

Power 

139 hp @ 5,700 rpm

181 hp @ 6,000 rpm

177 hp @ 5,500rpm

170 hp @ 5,600 rpm

Torque 

195 lb-ft @ 2,400 rpm

190 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm

210 lb-ft @ 2200 rpm

203 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm

The horsepower of the base 2021 Niro and plug-in hybrid would be lowest among its 2020 rivals. On the other hand, the EV would produce more output than its competitors; however, it would cost $39,090, which would be the highest sticker price among all contenders. The torque would be higher than the Escape S but lower than others.

2021 Kia Niro Acceleration And Braking Performance

With a 0-60 mph time of 8.9 seconds, the Niro is noticeably quicker than its chief rival, and the quarter-mile timing would be 14.9 seconds.

2021 Kia Niro Accelerate 0-60 MPH Just In 8.9 Sec

Braking is smooth in typical driving, but we found the car's emergency stopping power disappointing. In our testing, the Niro needed more distance to stop from 60 mph than other hybrids.

Models

2021 Kia Niro

2020 Ford Escape S

2020 Fiat 500X Pop

2020 Chevrolet Equinox L

0-60 MPH

8.9 sec

9.2 sec

7.5 sec

8.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

16.9 sec

15.7 sec

16.3 sec

Top Speed

125 MPH

130 MPH

130 MPH

N/A

60-0 MPH

129 feet

112 feet

130 feet

121 feet

The 2021 Niro's acceleration would be the least among its rivals. However, if the 0-60 mph sprint in 8.6 seconds, it might be lower than the 2020 Escape S, but more than the 500X Pop and Equinox L trims. Unfortunately, the top speed could also be least among its competitors, and the stoppage distance could be more than the Escape S and Equinox L, but the 500X Pop would take the lead.

2021 Kia Niro Fuel Economy

The base trim of the 2021 Niro would utilise a regular unleaded fuel and tank that would hold 11.9 gallons of gas. The trim would deliver a city, highway, and combined mileage of 51, 46, and 49 mpg.

The Touring trim would deliver an even lower economy of 46, 40, and 43 mpg because of its higher weight and 18-inch wheels. The plug-in hybrid would give a 26-mile average on electric-only and a 46 mpg combined mileage.

Model

2021 Kia Niro

2020 Ford Escape S

2020 Fiat 500X Pop

2020 Chevrolet Equinox L

MPG (City)

51

27

24

26

MPG (Highway)

46

33

30

31

MPG (Combined)

49

30

26

28

Fuel Capacity 

11.9

14.7

12.7

14.9

Range (City/Hwy/Combined)

606.9/547.4/595

396.9/485.1/442

305/381

387/462/417

The city, highway, and combined fuel economy of the 2021 Niro would be the best among its 2020 competitors. The tank capacity might be the lowest among its rivals; however, the mile range would be the highest, even with the base Niro trim.

2021 Kia Niro Interior

The 2021 Niro interior would consist of five seats covered in cloth, leatherette, or leather, depending upon the trim. Owners could opt for synthetic leather chairs at an additional cost. The hues might be uninspiring, but the black and red accent might be awe-inspiring.

2021 Kia Niro Seating Layout

The door panels and dashboard would extend the detailing adapted in the 2020 trims, and the surfaces might have a plastic covering. The crossover would provide sufficient cabin space; however, the driver wouldn't experience the same comfort after travelling for long hours. It offers up to 19.2 cubic ft of usable space, and it even expands up to 54.5 cubic feet with seats folded down. 

Model

2021 Kia Niro

2020 Ford Escape S

2020 Fiat 500X Pop

2020 Chevrolet Equinox L

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

40.1/56.0/41.7

40.0/57.6/42.4

39.1/54.3/41.4

40.0/57.2/40.9

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

39.1/55.2/37.4

39.3/56.0/40.7

37.8/52.8/34.8

38.5/55.5/39.9

The front and second-row cabin space of the 2021 Niro would be competitive with its 2020 rivals and might lead majorly in the head and shoulder room.

How's the 2021 Kia Niro's infotainment system?

The base 2021 Niro interior would consist of an 8.0-inch touchscreen or a 10.3-inch display and a 7.0-inch instrument cluster. The system would have connectivity with an AM, FM, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, MP3 player, and Bluetooth.

2021 Kia Niro Infotainment System

It would also have a six-speaker audio system and voice recognition. Owners could also add a navigation system with battery energy saving on hill climbing.

2021 Kia Niro Exterior

The exterior of the 2021 Niro would be curvy, simple, and clean. It would consist of a wide diamond-pattern grille similar to the Klas, unpainted big wheels & rocker panels, designer taillights, and aerodynamic wheels. The 16-inch aluminum wheels would come standard under the lineup, except in the Touring trim, which would come with 18-inch aluminum wheels with machine painted accents. 

2021 Kia Niro Third Quarter View

It would showcase contemporary aesthetics with the double chevron arrangement and daytime running lights. The rear end of the vehicle would also have a faux skid plate. The Touring trim would add a power sliding or tilting sunroof, front fog lights, rear combination LED lights. Similarly, the Touring Special Edition would add wheel arch cladding, a black beltline, and a LED high mounted rear stop lamp with a rear spoiler.

Model

2021 Kia Niro

2020 Ford Escape S

2020 Fiat 500X Pop

2020 Chevrolet Equinox L

Curb Weight

3042 lbs

3299 lbs

3305 lbs

3274 lbs

Length

171.5"

180.5"

167.5"

183.1"

Width

71.1"

74.1"

70.7"

72.6"

Height

60.8"

66.1"

63.7"

65.4"

Ground Clearance

6.3"

N/A

7.9"

N/A

Wheelbase

106.3"

106.7"

101.2"

107.3"

The curb weight, height, and ground clearance of the 2021 Niro would be least among its 2020 rivals. The length, width, and wheelbase might be lower than the 500X Pop but less than the Equinox L and Escape S.

2021 Kia Niro Safety

The 2019 Niro with HID headlights received the Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS. Also, the base trim got an overall four-star rating from NHTSA. As per speculations, the standard 2021 Niro would come with standard safety features like a rearview camera, and hill start assist. The LXS would incorporate automatic emergency braking and active lane control. The EX Premium trim would also incorporate adaptive cruise control. The Touring Special Edition would add a 10.3-inch touchscreen navigation system.

2021 Kia Niro Competition

2021 Kia Niro Vs. 2020 Ford Escape S

The upcoming Kia Niro would be better in terms of sticker price, torque, acceleration, stoppage distance, mileage, mile range, and curb weight than the Ford Escape S.

2020 Ford Escape S

The latter would be better than the former in terms of horsepower, top speed, front-row shoulder and legroom, rear row cabin space, trunk capacity, length, width, height, and wheelbase.

2021 Kia Niro Vs. 2020 Fiat 500X Pop

The upcoming Kia Niro would be better in mileage, mile range, acceleration, cabin space, trunk capacity, curb weight, length, width, and wheelbase than the 2020 Fiat 500X Pop.

2020 Fiat 500X Pop

The latter would be better than the former in horsepower, torque, top speed, stoppage distance, fuel tank capacity, height, and ground clearance.

2021 Kia Niro Vs. 2020 Chevrolet Equinox L

The upcoming Kia Niro would be better in terms of acceleration, stoppage distance, mileage, mile range, front-row head & legroom, rear-row headroom, and curb weight than the 2020 Chevy Equinox L.

2020 Chevrolet Equinox L

The latter would be better than the former in terms of sticker price, fuel tank capacity, front-row shoulder room, rear-row shoulder & legroom, length, width, height, and wheelbase.

2021 Kia Niro Final Verdict

The Niro can kind of be fun to drive, but only if you switch to the Sport mode and drive aggressively. Otherwise, it's a bit of a downer. As for styling, the Kia Niro isn't unpleasant to look at, but Kia's "it's an SUV!" marketing is a straight-up poseur move meant to exploit the current buying trend of consumers. Fake people aren't cool, and neither are counterfeit cars.