2020 Kia Niro: 50-mpg hybrid gets upgraded interface, sharper look

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The Kia Niro EV, with its 239-miles of electric range and sub-$40,000 price before incentives, has brought the Niro lineup a boost over the past year. 

It’s worth remembering that both the Niro EV and the Niro Plug-In Hybrid are only offered in a limited number of states. The Niro model that’s widely available is the Niro Hybrid, and Wednesday at the 2019 LA auto show Kia announced a refreshed 2020 Niro Hybrid lineup. 

For 2020, the Niro Hybrid gets a modest mid-cycle refresh, amounting to a sharpened exterior look, upgraded infotainment systems, and a few other active-safety tech features. 

First things first: Once again, the Niro pairs a 104-horsepower Atkinson-cycle inline-4 engine with a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission and a 43-hp motor/generator, adding up to a system output of 139 hp and up to 195 lb-ft of torque. 

The 2020 Kia Niro Hybrid earns EPA ratings of 52 mpg city, 49 highway, 50 combined in efficiency-focused FE guise or 51/46/49 mpg for other models. Top Touring trims are rated quite a bit lower, at 46/40/43 mpg. 

2020 Kia Niro Hybrid

On the outside, the Niro Hybrid posts subtle changes, including projector headlights and fog lamps, a diamond-pattern grille, and chevron-shaped LED running lamps. In back, the faux skid plate is wider, there are new LED combination lamps, and wheel designs have been revamped. 

Inside, the Niro comes with a new 8.0-inch touchscreen display, while top models can be equipped with a 10.3-inch touchscreen with navigation and Harman Kardon audio. It can also be equipped with ambient mood lighting.

2020 Kia Niro Hybrid

The 2020 model also can be equipped with paddle shifters and has an active brake regeneration feature, while active lane control and high-beam assist features have been added to the available driver-assistance features. 

Kia’s dedicated hybrid was introduced for the 2017 model year, and it arrived in a sweet spot for a market that has been transitioning from cars into crossovers. While the Niro’s platform-mate, the Hyundai Ioniq, stuck to a Prius-like fastback design, the Niro and its more upright utility form—matched to a car-like ride height—have proven popular.

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