2017 Kia Niro Kelly Pleskot
I’m no novice at moving, but every time I do it I’m surprised at how much longer it takes than I expected. When you think you’re almost done, more items materialize out of thin air. Normally, I would rent a U-haul, but because I planned to sell my furniture before I moved and wanted the freedom to move gradually over a few weekends, I went for a somewhat risky plan B: packing all my stuff into the Kia Niro.
I’m sure you couldn’t blame me for dreading this endeavor. Turns out, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I
“It looks like a small car from the outside, but it has much more space inside than I expected.”
anticipated. The cargo area offers 54.5 cubic feet of seats-down space, placing it in the middle of the pack among subcompact crossovers, behind the Honda HR-V but ahead of the Nissan Kicks, Toyota C-HR, and Mazda CX-3. Although there isn’t much floor space, I was able to stack the items high to get more stuff to fit. In the trunk alone, I crammed in an oversized suitcase, four medium-sized boxes, and a tote bag. The Niro’s relatively low ground clearance makes it easy to load items into the back, though it would be nice if it had a handsfree power liftgate considering it has the top-level Touring package. Not terribly quick to begin with, the Niro doesn’t perform dramatically differently on the road fully loaded than it does without cargo. Sans furniture, I was able to move with the Niro in just a few trips.
At $32,575, our loaded Niro offers pretty great value for the money. We enjoy the car’s Harman Kardon sound system, an 8.0-inch touchscreen that isn’t prone to smudging, the parking assist system with helpful graphic display, and seamless smartphone integration. That’s not to mention a decent suite of safety features, including automatic emergency braking, forward collision
warning, HID headlights, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. Less impressive are the cheap plastics that cover much of the dashboard. We also wish for improved graphics on the navigation system and other displays, such as the Energy Flow and Eco Driving screens. Other green vehicles, such as the Honda Accord Hybrid, provide efficiency information in a more visually appealing way.