LA Auto Show 2019

Refreshed 2020 Kia Niro gets exterior enhancements, high-tech additions

Kia has updated the Niro Hybrid and Niro PHEV for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

It feels like the Kia Niro was just introduced but here we are at mid cycle refresh. The enhanced 2020 Kia Niro Hybrid and PHEV see the addition of key exterior equipment and technology to help it competitive in the tough SUV market as more hybrids make their way to the market.

"It's difficult to improve on a winning formula," said Michael Cole, president, KMA, "but we're always striving to improve every product we sell and the enhanced 2020 Niro provides new owners the latest and greatest while retaining the value, utility and performance of the original Niro."

2020 Kia Niro Hybrid 2020 Kia Niro PHEV front face wheels lightsKia has given the Niro new headlights and grille.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Niro now features projector-type headlights and fog lamps. A new diamond-pattern grille brings its looks in line with the freshest Kia models. There are dual chevron-shaped LED daytime running lights.

The rear faux skid plate is wider and more pronounced in the 2020 model versus the 2019. Kia has added new 16- and 18-inch wheel designs.

2020 Kia Niro Hybrid 2020 Kia Niro PHEV back rear tailgateThe back of the Niro features a faux skid plate.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The powertrain in unchanged. The 2020 Kia Niro Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor that work in tandem to get 50 mpg in the FE trim and 43 mpg in the Touring trim. The Niro PHEV is powered by the same engine and motor but also has a lithium-ion battery. The model achieves 105 MPGe. It has 26 miles of all-electric range.

2020 Kia Niro Hybrid 2020 Kia Niro PHEV dashboard screen wheel shifterThe Kia Niro has a new standard 7-inch infotainment screen.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has given the cabin of the Niro a more significant upgrade with a new 7-inch instrument cluster with drive mode graphics. An 8-inch infotainment touch screen is standard but buyers can choose to upgrade to a 10.25-inch screen. There's also an available Harman Kardon premium audio system.

Drivers can utilize new optional paddle shifters. An electronic parking brake and mood lighting with six different colors are available.

2020 Kia Niro Hybrid 2020 Kia Niro PHEV paddle shiftersPaddle shifters are available.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Pricing for the Niro Hybrid and Niro Plug-In have not yet available and will be announced closer to the on-sale date early in 2020. The 2019 Niro Hybrid started in the low $20,000s. The 2019 Niro Plug-In is priced closer to $30,000.

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Refreshed luxury crossover

2022 Lexus NX earns Top Safety Pick +

The 2022 NX earned a Top Safety Pick + award.

Lexus

The redesigned 2022 Lexus NX just got its crash test scores, and they're strong. The new crossover picked up a Top Safety Pick + award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the agency's top award. It's the NX's fourth consecutive Top Safety Pick + award, and before that the vehicle earned Top Safety Picks.

2022 Lexus NXThe NX has picked up top awards for several years in a row. Lexus

The 2022 NX picked up top scores in testing, earning a "Good" rating in all crash-test categories, a "Good" score for headlights, "Superior" scores for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention, and a "Good+" score for LATCH system ease of use. Though the 2021 model also picked up a Top Safety Pick + award, it scored lower for its car seat anchors.

Lexus offers the new NX with a whopping four propulsion options, including a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 203 horsepower, a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 275 horsepower, a 2.5-liter hybrid with 239 horsepower and a plug-in hybrid powertrain with 302 horsepower. The two gas engines come paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive, while the two hybrids both get all-wheel drive.

2022 Lexus NXLexus offers the NX with four powertrain options. Lexus

Pricing for the 2022 NX starts at $39,025 for the base NX250. Moving up the line, the NX350h starts at $42,125 and the NX450h+ starts at $56,725.

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The 2023 Sportage Hybrid starts at around $28,000.

Kia

Kia's moving full steam ahead to an all-electric future, but the automaker's intermediate models should not be overlooked. Kia and Hyundai do hybrids as well as anyone, and the 2023 Sportage Hybrid is coming soon with new tech, updated styling, and a value-forward price. The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid goes on sale in spring.

2023 Kia Sportage HybridThe Sportage Hybrid delivers up to 39 mpg.Kia

Kia offers the Sportage hybrid in three trims: The $28,505 LX, $32,205 EX, and $37,405 SX-Prestige. All models come with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and a 44kW electric motor that combine to produce 226 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission with a rotary shifter is standard, and all-wheel drive become standard at the EX trim. The powertrain is efficient for an SUV, delivering up to 39 mpg when paired with front-wheel drive.

Kia says the Sportage Hybrid's interior features a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster for almost 25 inches of display. Standard tech is generous, and includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's also plenty of safety tech. Kia adds standard gear that includes:

  • Driver attention warning system
  • LED headlights
  • Lane following assist and lane keep assist
  • Forward collision warnings with cyclist detection
  • Rear occupant alerts
  • Rearview monitor
  • Reverse parking distance warnings
Several optional features are available, including blind spot warnings, forward parking distance warnings, navigation-based cruise control, and more.

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