2017 Kia Niro vs Toyota Prius V
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Hybrids are almost commonplace these days, but not that long ago only one hybrid helped us understand the reinvention of the modern vehicle. The Prius line used to stand alone–but the hybrid-only crossover SUV 2017 Kia Niro is coming to take that crown. Let’s see how the hybrid-only Niro performs against the innovative Toyota Prius V.
2017 Kia Niro vs Toyota Prius V
For a model that’s pretty revolutionary in its own way, the exterior styling of the Kia Niro is actually pretty conventional and maybe even slightly conservative. You won’t find a weird or funky element on it, and definitely nothing shouting “look how green and good for the planet I am.” The Niro looks like a taller version the Forte. At its core, the Niro is a nice-looking compact crossover that won’t offend anyone.
While the Prius Liftback was completely redesigned last year, the Prius V has yet to benefit from similar treatment. The new Liftback is quite a dramatic and polarizing design (read: some people really hate it), so the fact the Prius V is still the old design may be to its advantage at the moment. The Prius V still looks like an aging hybrid, with little conventional or conservative styling to be found.
Although the Niro is a crossover, Kia doesn’t offer an all-wheel drive option at all. Whether or not most crossover drivers actually use that option may have helped Kia make that decision, but that fact may be a downside for some buyers. The hybrid unit is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gas engine with a 43 horsepower electric motor, a 42 kW lithium-ion battery, and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Total system output is 139 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Prius utilizes a 1.8-liter gas engine, an 80 horsepower electric motor and a 27 kW Nickel-Metal Halide battery. The total output of the hybrid system is 134 horsepower, and the Toyota goes down the electronic CVT transmission route, so it does feel a little different to a conventional engine. The Kia’s power and more conventional transmission gives it the nod here.
Passengers definitely know they’re in a crossover when sitting inside the Niro, as the seats are relatively high even though the roofline is lower than crossovers like the Soul. Being designed from day one as a hybrid means there’s no intrusive battery compartment compromising passenger space, and the quality of the fit and materials is good for the price.
Even though the Prius V isn’t a crossover,you’ll find an almost identical amount of passenger volume inside as the Toyota boasts 97.2 cu.-ft. to the 97.1 cu.-ft. of the Kia. The Prius also offers plenty of cubbies, cup holders and storage areas inside, but the materials, especially the plastics, are not particularly high quality. Even so, the thoughtful design gives the Prius V the nod here.
Choosing a hybrid will still come down to fuel economy for many buyers at the moment, although, as they become more common, performance is likely to become increasingly important. The Niro’s MPGs are sensational for a crossover, getting 52 mpg in the city, 49 mpg on the highway and 50 mpg combined.
You might expect the Prius V to be even more fuel-efficient than the Niro because it’s a car and not a crossover, but it’s actually more than 200 pounds heavier than the Niro and an aging design. Those two factors combine to create a less efficient hybrid, with 43 mpg in the city, 39 mpg on the highway and 41 mpg combined.
Learn More about the Kia Niro
Once upon a time, Toyota had a lock on the hybrid market, but times have certainly changed–and the Prius V seems to have been left behind a bit. The 2017 Kia Niro has a few key advantages and those advantages have proven that the Niro is a better vehicle than the Toyota Prius V in just about every way.