Ok, let me stop this right here. I’m not saving the whales or hugging the trees or even composting like I’m told I should be, but hey. I did laugh my butt off at that Kia commercial with Melissa McCarthy though. Then I went out and drove the Kia Niro for a week. 🙂
The Niro is Kia’s newest hybrid crossover vehicle. It’s extremely sleek with some amazing features and certainly one of the most efficient cars out on the market for the price. If you recall, I first experienced the Kia Niro back in January when I got to take it for a spin (on a drag strip) along with its designer, Mike Torpey. Check out the video HERE! I immediately fell in love with it both visually and logistically. I love the overall design of the Niro – it’s a very modern and sporty look. I can’t tell you how many compliments I’d gotten riding around in that car! It was also surprisingly powerful to drive, especially in its sport mode. Then it’s the most fuel efficient crossover vehicle with an average of 50 miles per gallon!!! I couldn’t wait to spend a little more time with it, so when I was given the opportunity to drive one for a full week (really, it was 2 weeks, but I was traveling through most of the 2nd week), I could not be more excited!
We took it with us on Spring Break to Myrtle Beach and it was an absoute delight. The ride to Myrtle Beach is about 6 hours of mostly highway, so with the phenomenal gas mileage, we only had to fill up once for the whole trip. Also, although it’s not as large in terms of internal spacing as the Sedona or Sorento, it was able to it my family of 4, 2 booster seats, and all of our luggage very comfortably.
Now to the part that really matters. Our drive back from our trip was really tough. If you live in the south, you may recall the terrible weather that came to us at the end of Spring Break week. Heavy rain, high winds, dark skies, etc. It was terrifying to drive in this weather, but it literally hit us about halfway through the trip, so we had to brave through it for a while. This is where I really appreciated the Niro and the quality safety features I find on all of the new Kia vehicles I’ve driven- which include advanced high-strength steel structure, seven airbags, available Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist and Lane Departure Warning. All of this is what we count on to protect our precious cargo.
Another really unique feature of the Kia Niro is its extremely quiet interior environment. This was done on purpose and was a key development focus for Kia Niro engineers. Here’s a funny story about this: I drove the Niro to my uncle’s house and I have to admit, over the years he has seen me in some real shabby cars. Those that make noise sometimes for no reason at all if you know what I mean. So he walked me to the Niro, I got in and started the car. As I was about to back out of the driveway, I notice he’s still standing right by my door looking concerned. I opened my window to see what was wrong and he was actually concerned that my car hadn’t started since it made absolutely no noise when I started it. He almost couldn’t believe this concept, but like everyone else, was quite impressed.
So with all of the other great features on the Kia Niro, it’s hard to peg it as just an “eco-friendly” car, but in addition to the maximized fuel economy (52 mpg city/49 highway/50 combined), the Niro also offers some advanced hybrid technology such as the all new Eco-DAS (Driver Assistance System), which uses the navigation system and analysis of the driver’s route to improve efficiency, while the Coasting Guide aims at maximizing fuel economy by coaching the driver on when to coast and brake. Additionally, Predictive Energy Control anticipates topographical changes on the road ahead to actively manage energy flow, seamlessly determining when its best to recharge the battery and when its best to expend stored energy to optimize overall efficiency.
So while I was enjoying my time in my fancy car for the week, who knew I was also being an “eco-warrior” in my own right? Let’s talk Melissa McCarthy! 🙂
4 Eco-Friendly Cars under $40,000
So, in addition to the Kia Niro, Kelley Blue Book has recently chosen four vehicles in the Kia Motors Eco-Dynamics line-up as top picks among “eco-friendly” cars under $40,000! So being an eco-warrior (at least on the road) can also be an affordable choice. These are the 4 eco-friendly Kia vehicles under $40,000 listed:
- Kia Niro and Kia Optima Hybrid ranked among 10 best hybrid cars under $40,000;
- Optima PHEV ranked among best plug-in hybrid cars
- Kia Soul EV named one of the five best electric cars under $40,000