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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago

For the 2024 edition, we include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

2023 Kia Niro SX Touring

Vehicle Type: Small suv Hybrid
 overall score
Category Ranking: 12

Vehicle Price

Base Price: $34,790
Price as Tested: $36,435

Fuel Information

Fuel Type: Regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 11.1
EPA City mpg53
EPA Highway mpg45
EPA Combined mpg49

Advanced Safety Features

  • Adaptive Cruise Control [O]
  • Advanced Headlights [S]
  • Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • Blind-Spot Warning [S]
  • Driver Monitoring [S]
  • Forward-Collision Warning [S]
  • Lane-Departure Warning [S]
  • Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [S]
  • Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional

Overall Observations

The Niro small SUV comes in 3 environmentally conscious versions: a hybrid (reviewed here), PHEV, and EV (see pages 115 and 109, respectively). All were completely redesigned for 2023. The Niro hybrid offers good value, with a reasonable MSRP and a number of noteworthy qualities to recommend it. First and foremost are its highly efficient drivetrain and excellent fuel-economy numbers (up to 53 mpg in combined driving for some trim levels). Close behind is the number of standard ADAS features, including a few surprises, such as rear automatic emergency braking, driver-attention warning, and safe-exit assist—features usually found on higher-end vehicles. The Niro also has plenty of interior space for passengers and cargo, and it's easy to get in and out of. Unfortunately, many of the qualities that make a car enjoyable to drive are in short supply. The Niro's ride quality is uncomfortable (verging on rough), handling is uncommunicative, and ride control is skittery—the Niro never feels solidly planted. Also, the infotainment system is awkward to use—the infotainment and HVAC systems use the same physical controls, and you have to toggle back and forth between them. In addition, the engine is underpowered, the transmission feels unrefined, and lots of tire, road, and engine noise invade the cabin. And although the Niro's interior styling is improved, the materials quality feels cheap and the fit and finish is subpar.

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Pros and Cons


  • Fuel-efficient drivetrain, excellent mpg
  • Strong list of convenience and ADAS features
  • Plenty of room for passengers and cargo
  • Improved interior styling


  • Poor-quality handling, ride, and ride control
  • Underpowered engine, unrefined transmission
  • Excessive tire, road, and engine noise
  • Distracting, hard-to-use infotainment system

Vehicle Specifications

Model year tested: 2023
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/3
Curb weight (lbs): 3071.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 174.0 / 71.8 / 60.8
Wheelbase (in): 107.1
Number of air bags: 8
Warranty (months/miles): 60/60,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Continental ProContact RX
Front and rear tire size: 225/45 R18
Max towing capacity (lbs): Not recommended
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Hybrid drive
Drivetrain type: Front wheel
Engine/motor: 1.6L I4 GDI
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 105 @ 5,700
Electric motor horsepower: 43
Combined system horsepower: 139

Test Data

Test Vehicle Scores

Advanced Safety Features:


Fuel Efficiency:


EPA Emissions Score:





Handling: 5.63
Quality and Drivability: 6.38

Ride Quality:


Interior Size:


Easy of Entry and Exit:




Interior Noise:


Cargo Capacity:

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