The Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid is a crossover SUV that was launched as a 2018 model.
It is known for its practicality, fuel efficiency, and affordability.
In this article, we’ll be going through all of the best and worst model years of the Niro PHEV.
Table of Contents
Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Kia Niro PHEV Are:
The best Kia Niro PHEV model years are 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021, and 2020. The worst model years of this model are 2017, 2018, and 2019. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.
What Are The Best Years For The Kia Niro PHEV?
2024 and 2023 Kia Niro PHEV
The 2024 and 2023 Niro’s are the first installments of the fully redesigned second generation.
Boasting revised styling inside and out, more space and an increased range – these models are our top picks.
Like its predecessor, the second-gen Niro PHEV uses a four-cylinder gas engine mated with an electric motor. However, an 11.1-kWh battery pack stores enough energy for 33 all-electric miles when fully charged.
There are only 2 trim levels available: EX and SX Touring.
The entry-level EX is the most popular version, with a base price of approximately $35,000.
For an additional $5,000, you can get the top-spec SX Touring trim which comes with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and foglights, power-folding side mirrors, a power liftgate, and a sunroof.
2023 Niro PHEV:
- Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
- Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
2023 Niro PHEV, Edmunds review:
“Excellent mileage and value of EX for about $33,000. Electric range is 33-34 miles. Overall range is 600 miles. I averaged 270 mpg over the first 1,500 miles (mostly city miles). Great cabin room for five adults and safety features such as adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. Front wheel drive only.”
2022 and 2021 Kia Niro PHEV
The 2022 and 2021 Niro PHEV’s are the final installments of the first generation, and are both excellent choices.
There are no major differences between the two albeit a logo redesign for 2022.
They boast an estimated 26 miles of electric-only range and an impressive 46 mpg when running on the hybrid system.
The 2022 and 2021 Niro PHEVs have been praised for their plethora of features, accurate steering and confident handling.
Inside the interior is clean and simple and the main controls are intuitive and clearly labeled.
There are 3 available trim levels: LXS, EX, and EX Premium.
The midrange EX is the most popular trim level. It has a base price of approximately $35,000.
All 3 variants come with a 139-horsepower engine that works in tandem with an electric motor and battery that can be charged (hence, “plug-in”).
2022 Niro PHEV:
- Edmunds: 3.9 / 5.0
- Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
2021 Niro PHEV:
- Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
- Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
2021 Niro PHEV, Edmunds review:
“Very pleased with the NIRO PHEV. Have been driving it for six months, with one long trip. The long trip was just over 2000 miles which was broken up to four 500 mile legs. Mileage for these legs were 49, 52, 50 and 53 in the hybrid mode. Granted I drove somewhat conservative staying at the posted speed limit, which was 70 most of the way on interstate five. The remaining miles, which is also about 2000 miles, was mostly in EV mode. Depending on the amount of braking and traffic situations I generally was going between 26 and 32 miles in EV mode…”
2022 Kia Niro PHEV
2020 Kia Niro PHEV
With a refreshed exterior design and an entry-level trim replacement, the 2020 Niro PHEV is another solid choice.
It is praised for its great fuel efficiency, good all-electric range, and value for money.
Based on owners’ reviews, these are the best aspects of the vehicle: electrical system, maintenance, engine, reliability, and manufacturing quality.
Critics, on the other hand, have highlighted 2 key areas: interior and fuel efficiency.
The vehicle’s tall roof allows for plenty of headroom, good visibility, and great accessibility, which are things you would expect out of an SUV.
On the other hand, the vehicle’s fuel economy is no slouch either. The EPA approximates around 26 miles of electric range. After the hybrid battery is drained, owners can expect around 46 MPG for combined city and highway driving.
- Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
- Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
2020 Niro PHEV, Edmunds review:
“Bought this car about 2 months ago and love it! Except for the very loud backup alarm. I understand that this is required to warn pedestrians and cyclists as the engine in electric mode is very quiet… Comfortable interior (not plush on the middle of the road model) nice features and easy to navigate touch screen and controls. Except for the back up warning system, we were very glad we bought this car!”
2020 Kia Niro PHEV
Consumer Scores For Best Kia Niro PHEV Years
|Kelley Blue Book|
|2024 Kia Niro PHEV||NA||NA||NA|
|2023 Kia Niro PHEV||4.3 / 5.0||4.5 / 5.0||NA|
|2022 Kia Niro PHEV||3.9 / 5.0||4.2 / 5.0||NA|
|2021 Kia Niro PHEV||4.0 / 5.0||4.6 / 5.0||NA|
|2020 Kia Niro PHEV||4.3 / 5.0||4.6 / 5.0||NA|
What Are The Worst Years For The Kia Niro PHEV?
2018 Kia Niro PHEV
By no means are we claiming that the 2018 Niro PHEV is rife with problems, but according to statistics online, this model is the most problematic.
It comes as no surprise because it is typical for the first model year to have the most problems.
Owners experienced issues very early on with their infotainment system (head unit), claiming that it malfunctioned and none of the controls were responsive.
This was compounded by the fact that dealers were not able to address the issue in a timely manner, as posted by one owner on CarComplaints.com:
“ … My frustration was this occurred less than two weeks after the purchase; and during that 5+ weeks, I completely lost all audio/electrical and system controls except the volume control in listening to one and only radio station. Fortunately, the car is still drivable.”
Another commonly reported issue was the sporadic illumination of the check engine warning light.
Owners were unable to identify what the exact problem was which prompted a visit to the service center for a diagnostic.
Based on complaints online, the likely culprit (thanks to a “P1e01” error discovered through diagnostic tests) is a faulty hybrid battery pack.
Much like the problem mentioned previously, the issue was made even more irritating by the fact that servicing took so long, as mentioned by an owner below:
“ … Although the car is still drivable and chargeable and the problem is definitely covered by Kia’s excellent warranty, my frustration is waiting… The first available diagnosis appointment is January 2nd, 2019, three weeks from the reporting date.”
2019 Kia Niro PHEV
The second model year produced, the 2019 Niro PHEV is not highly problematic per se, but there is one potential issue that has to be checked by every owner – seat latch integrity.
According to some owners, the rear seat latches of their units were broken as soon as the vehicle was received.
This can lead to various safety issues down the road, as mentioned by one owner on CarComplaints.com below:
“The latch that latches the passenger side rear seat in the upright position was broken when I bought the car brand new. I didn’t notice it until after I left the dealership. I made an appointment at the closest dealership and it was fixed under warranty after they received the part. I am writing this to prevent anyone from accidentally sitting or installing a car seat in a seat that doesn’t latch properly.”
What Problems Do Kia Niro PHEVs Have?
- Broken rear seat latch
- Head unit (infotainment system) failure
- Absence of automatic clutch fluid bleed valve
- Check engine light illuminates at random
What Are The Best Alternatives To The Kia Niro PHEV?
|Make & Model||Score||MSRP||Fuel Economy (MPG)|
|Hyundai Tucson Hybrid||8.7||$30,900 – $44,310||Electric: 80 /Gas: 35 – 38|
|Kia Sportage Hybrid||8.7||$27,490 – $36,390||City: 38 – 42 /Highway: 38 – 44|
|Mazda CX-90 PHEV||8.5||$47,445 – $56,950||City: NA /Highway: NA|
|Honda CR-V Hybrid||8.3||$32,450 – $38,600||City: 40 – 43 /Highway: 34 – 36|
|Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid||8.3||$35,660 – $41,320||City: 33 – 36 /Highway: 30 – 31|
|Toyota RAV4 Hybrid||8.2||$30,225 – $38,530||City: 41 /Highway: 38|
|Toyota Highlander Hybrid||8.1||$40,220 – $52,425||City: 35 – 36 /Highway: 34 – 35|
|Toyota RAV4 Prime||8.1||$41,590 – $45,460||Electric: 94 /Gas: 38|
|Kia Sorento Hybrid||8.0||$36,590 – $49,890||City: 36 – 39 /Highway: 33 – 35|
|Kia Niro PHEV||7.9||$26,590 – $39,590||Electric: 105 /Gas: 46 – 53|
|Ford Escape Hybrid||7.7||$29,345 – $40,500||City: 26 – 42 /Highway: 32 – 36|
|Subaru Crosstrek||7.7||$36,845||Electric: 90 /Highway: 35|
Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com