2017 Kia Niro
Poor transmission feel is an issue in our Niro.
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