Only 1 Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) SUV Has a Price Tag Under $30,000

One of the great things about buying and driving a PHEV is that they are a great transition point from regular cars to EVs. As a result, PHEVs are relatively eco-friendly options that have more driving range while being less expensive than most EVs, especially EVs with similar range numbers. Here’s a look at the 2022 Kia Niro PHEV, the one PHEV SUV under $30,000.

How PHEV SUVs are different from the rest

A blue Kia Niro charging door.
Kia Niro | Getty Images

In the world of eco-friendly cars, PHEVs sit in the middle between traditional hybrids, which are called HEVs, and true EVs. The main thing that separates one from the other is its battery size. HEVs like the Prius typically come with a tiny battery, and this battery can’t be recharged by plugging into a charging station.

A PHEV, meanwhile, has a much bigger battery. As a result, owners can plug their PHEV in to recharge, and it can also travel in battery-only mode. When it’s in this mode, a PHEV runs purely on electric power, making it as clean as an EV. What separates a PHEV from a true EV is that a PHEV can only do this for a few dozen miles at best. After the battery runs out, it relies on its gas engine to pick up the slack. 

An overview of the 2022 Kia Niro PHEV SUV

The 2022 Niro PHEV has a price tag of about $29,500, which makes it a relatively affordable eco-friendly option. According to Edmunds, the Niro PHEV’s powertrain combines a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor to generate 139 hp and 161 lb-ft of torque. In hybrid driving mode, the Niro PHEV has a fuel economy of 110 MPGe in the city and 99 MPGe on highways, for 105 MPGe combined.

The Niro PHEV is still very fuel efficient in its regular driving mode. It gets 48 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on highways, for 46 mpg combined. Kia gave the Niro PHEV an 8.9-kWh battery that allows folks to drive 26 miles in battery-only mode. Of course, since the Niro PHEV still has a gas engine, it also has an 11.4-gallon gas tank. This essentially allows the Niro PHEV to have a range of over 500 miles. 

Families will also be able to carry around a lot of stuff in their Kia. The Niro PHEV has 19.4 cu-ft of cargo capacity without folding any seats. With the seats folded down, it has a max cargo capacity of about 54.5 cu-ft. Regarding tech, Kia gave the Niro an 8-inch touch screen as standard. Like other Kias, the Niro PHEV has many standard safety features, including blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

Kia is giving the Niro a total makeover though

That said, Kia is also giving the Niro a redesign for the 2023 model year. It’s slated to debut in the U.S. later this year, but pricing details aren’t available just yet. However, with the new model year, Kia is expected to raise prices, so the Niro PHEV may not be the only PHEV that starts at under $30,000 in the future.

The Niro PHEV should still be worth the money, however. For example, according to Car and Driver, Kia gave the 2023 Niro PHEV an 11.1-kWh battery. This larger battery allows the Kia to drive 33 miles in battery-only mode, significantly increasing what the 2022 model can do. 

RELATED: 2022 Kia Niro vs. 2022 Kia Niro PHEV vs. 2022 Kia Niro EV: Which Niro Is Best for You?