2017 Kia Niro Kelly Pleskot

Motor Trend (USA) - - Update | Long - Term Test -

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.

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