2017 Kia Niro

Poor trans­mis­sion feel is an is­sue in our Niro.

Motor Trend - - LONG-TERM TEST -

Ser­vice life 10 mo/19,283 mi

Avg CO2 0.45 lb/mi

En­ergy cons 78 kw-hr/100 mi

Un­re­solved prob­lems Clunky trans­mis­sion

Main­te­nance cost $200.60

Nor­mal-wear cost $436.30

Base price $30,545 As tested $32,575 Avg Fuel Econ: 43.4 mpg t this point into our test, the Kia Niro’s strengths are pretty clear: ex­cep­tional fuel econ­omy, range, and more in­te­rior space than such a small car should have. But one thing has been both­er­ing us, and it’s a con­sid­er­able one. Why does it seem to shud­der while com­ing to a stop and then press­ing on the ac­cel­er­a­tor? Why is the power de­liv­ery so clunky? It both­ered us enough that we took the Niro into the deal­er­ship to check that ev­ery­thing was as it should be.

Af­ter three test drives, the folks at the deal­er­ship as­sured us the Niro was op­er­at­ing nor­mally. The dual-clutch trans­mis­sion, which nec­es­sar­ily launches like a man­ual trans­mis­sion, was caus­ing that shud­der­ing feel, and yes, many cus­tomers have asked about it. With that some­what set­tled, they took care of four ser­vice ac­tions, in­clud­ing one that’s sup­posed to im­prove brake feel. It seems like brak­ing has im­proved a bit, but to our dis­may, we’re still stuck with a some­what clunky trans­mis­sion.

We hope the next it­er­a­tion of the Niro fixes the trans­mis­sion is­sue. And this got us think­ing what else we’d like to see in the fu­ture. Other than more sound in­su­la­tion and bet­ter body con­trol, is­sues we’ve pre­vi­ously hinted at, we hope the Niro adopts a slightly more emo­tional look, tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the new Op­tima and Forte sedans when it comes to a more ex­cit­ing grille and head­lights. Hav­ing re­cently driven the 2019 Forte, we’d love to see that new 8.0-inch touch­screen come stan­dard in the next Niro. It has crisper graph­ics and is more user-friendly than the one in our Niro’s stan­dard 7.0-inch screen. (The 8.0inch is op­tional.) We’re al­ready im­pressed by how well our Niro’s cur­rent in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem in­te­grates with Ap­ple Carplay. It’s quick to start up and easy to use.

In the next up­date, we’ll talk more about the Niro’s adap­tive cruise con­trol.

“The Kia Niro is a true fuel miser, but we wish it took af­ter more re­cent Kias in more ways than just that.” Kelly Pleskot

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