Available as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid, Niro is Kia's answer to the Toyota Prius and Prius Prime. Kia needs to keep the Niro models up to date to keep pace with Toyota, with both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Niro receiving a host of minor updates for the 201
The biggest change is to The exterior features the all-electric Niro EV style elements unveiled at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. The front bumper, the rear bumper and the taillights were redesigned according to Kia, while new headlamps contain the lighting element "Ice Cube", which was first seen on the Kia Sorento. To notice the differences, however, it still requires a sharp car.
Both the hybrid models and the plug-in hybrid models receive an infotainment upgrade. An 8-inch touchscreen and a 4.2-inch TFT instrument cluster are now standard, but buyers can upgrade to a 10.25-inch touchscreen and a 7-inch TFT instrument cluster. The Niro was previously sold with a standard 7-inch touchscreen and an optional 8-inch screen, although the optional 7-inch TFT display does. The infotainment system is still compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
In Europe, the Niro, if not elsewhere, also receives new color packages for the interior, which should give the cabin a bit more style. Kia has not provided any photos, but we are intrigued by the option of plum-colored leather upholstery. That's a pretty daring decision.
Kia did not mention any mechanical changes, so Niro's hybrid and plug-in hybrid models will continue to use two versions of the same powertrain. Both receive a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, supported by an electric motor. However, the plug-in hybrid model has a larger battery and the ability to charge from an external power source. As a result, the device can only be operated for up to 26 kilometers with electricity. The overall performance of the system will probably remain unchanged, which means 139 hp and 195 Nm for both variants.
One item missing from the list of updates is the four-wheel drive. Kia markets the Niro as a crossover, so it's a bit odd that the vehicle is just front-wheel drive. Even the Toyota Prius now offers the option of four-wheel drive, but Kia apparently did not seem to fit.
The upgraded Kia Niro models that debuted at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show are European specifications, but the same changes will likely transfer them to models sold in the US. Expect that the US versions will be available sometime in the next few months, with prices and fuel consumption information coming soon after. Kia will also present a completely electric concept car in Geneva.