I’d been warned. I’d been tempted. I’d been stubborn. And apparently, I had been wrong.
I’ve got a pile of friends/colleagues who are big Kia fans. I was always like yeah, yeah, sure, good for you. I saw the numbers, I saw the reviews, I saw the Soul drivers multiply like gnats in springtime. But I’m a “performance girl” I told myself, Kia and I can’t be friends. I’m not interested. And you, my dear readers, are higher end, have more demanding standards, and don’t really care about all of that Kia nonsense. Apparently, you can take the girl out of Connecticut but you can’t take the Connecticut out of the girl. I had been, it hurts to admit it, a hopeless car snob.
But because I am trying to become an evolved individual, I’d been thinking I should really see what all this Kia hype is about. So when I recently attended Heels & Wheels 2017, a multi-manufacturer event for women in automotive, I had the opportunity for a Kia Niro Hybrid mini test drive and decided to give it a go. Short, sweet, & low commitment, it felt like the perfect opportunity. Plus, I was outta town, there was little to no chance I would run into someone I knew. This car snob grabbed the keys, swallowed her pride and jumped in the Kia Niro Hybrid.
The Kia Niro is like shopping at Trader Joe’s. It’s fun, not fancy, certainly never indulgent. But you always feel good knowing you’re getting a great deal. Like Trader Joe’s, the Kia Niro Hybrid is cheap without feeling like you’re sacrificing quality. Is is luxurious? Nope. Is it a hot hatch? Nah. Will it impress anyone in a valet line? Not necessarily. But when you go to open your wallet to pay for lunch, it’s probably gonna look a lot better than mine, which I emptied at BMW and the gas station.
Officially a Crossover Vehicle, the Niro is like a lifted compact station wagon. It has room for two kids, a week of groceries, a few back packs and maybe some work out gear. You’re not gonna pile the whole football team in this thing, which is fine by me.
The model I drove came in just around $32k, let’s talk about what you get for that. First and foremost, you get the vehicle that set the Guinness Book for World Records record for averaging 76.6 mpg while driving from New York to LA. On my short drive, we averaged around 42 mpg. There was also my beloved Apple Car Play (yay!), wireless cell charging (heart be still), Harman Kardon Sound System, Rear Cross Traffic Alerts & Blind Spot Detection System, full length side curtain air bags, autonomous braking and a 10 year/100,000 mile warrantee. Hey Connecticut, how you feelin’ now?
Driving the Niro was surprisingly tight. The handling was solid, responsive and shockingly nimble. And while the acceleration never lit my fire, I wasn’t frustrated either. I had a great time driving it and could’ve driven that car all day. The brakes were good too. It certainly wasn’t a performance car, but as a boyfriend once told me, it’s not always about performance. So if you’re looking for a smart, affordable, efficient hybrid, get your butt into the Kia Niro. While you’re driving to Trader Joe’s, don’t forget to wave at me and my performance SUV as we fill up, yet again, at the gas station.