What Is the Cheapest Plug-in Hybrid SUV You Can Buy

Most plug-in hybrids like to shout their PHEV cred with flashy designs that make them look like the future. Not the Kia Niro PHEV. Chances are you’ve driven past dozens of Niro PHEVs and unless you were listening to the SUV, you’d never know that it was driving on electric power. That’s one of the keys to Kia being able to make the Niro the least expensive PHEV you can buy today.

But act fast: Kia is totally updating the Niro for 2023 and the 2022s will soon be in short supply.

What is the Kia Niro?

A blue Kia Niro driving in the rain
2022 Niro PHEV | Kia

The Kia Niro comes in three versions for 2022, a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and a full EV. They’re all five-seat crossover SUVs that come well equipped. The PHEV version allows you to plug it or charge it and drive for up to 26 miles on all-electric power, and then you can engage the 1.6-liter gas engine and keep going. Every version of the Niro comes with driver’s aids, like lane keep assist and forward collision avoidance, and advanced safety systems are available.

What is the range of the 2022 Kia Niro PHEV?

The interior of a Kia Niro PHEV in black.
2022 Niro PHEV interior | Kia

The specs don’t match up to other PHEVs, but then again, this is a $29,590 PHEV. It only has a 26-mile range, for example, which isn’t as much as other more expensive PHEVs. It’s based on a compact SUV, so its cargo hold isn’t as large as others, with 54.5 cubic feet with the seats folded. But, it does come with some niceties such as an 8.0-inch standard touchscreen, most options you’ll want, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone climate control, and more.

What trims does the Kia Niro come in?

The base LXS trim comes with most of what you’d want for that low price. Stepping up to the EX, however, adds emergency braking and cyclist detection, lane following assist, smart cruise, wireless and more. You can also get a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen. The EX starts at $33,390, while the EX Premium, which comes with a memory driver’s seat, navigation-based cruise, a heated steering wheel, and more starts at $36,490.  

Batteries don’t perform well in the cold, so the Niro offers an available heat pump and battery warmer for colder climates.

What we know about the 2023 Kia Niro

a dark green Kia Niro
2023 Kia Niro | Kia

The new Kia Niro PHEV will be coming soon. Kia has not released pricing yet, but we expect a slight bump for the newer, and more stylish, Niro that adds an interesting contrast-painted sail panel behind the rear doors and a new front end. The new version should keep similar utility but does add a bit more power. Again, it will come in a hybrid, PHEV, and a fully-electric version with a 253-mile range.

The 2023 Niro PHEV will likely keep its crown as the cheapest PHEV SUV you can buy. It will now have 180 horsepower, and a Level 2 charger can fill its 11.1kWh battery in less than three hours. It will also have a longer range, at 33 miles on EV power, if you pick the 16-inch wheel option.

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