The Kia Niro Hybrid is a crossover SUV that looks terrific, drives like a conventional car, gets fantastic gas mileage, and starts at about $22,000. With a resumé like that, it is right in the sweet spot of the American new car market. Demand for crossover SUVs is even greater than it its for pickup trucks.
How fuel efficient is the Kia Niro Hybrid? In FE trim, it is rated at more than 50 mpg combined, which is very frugal indeed. Put it in the hands of a dedicated team of hypermiling champions, and it is a true superstar. That’s exactly what Kia did.
Wayne Gerdes and co-driver Robert Winger recently crossed the United States from city hall in Los Angeles to city hall in New York — a distance of 3,715.4 miles — in a completely stock Kia Niro Hybrid. They consumed only 48.5 gallons of gasoline the entire trip. That’s an average of 76.6 mpg, a new world’s record for a hybrid vehicle as certified by the professionals at Guinness Book of World Records.
This isn’t the first time Kia and Gerdes have put their talents to work for the folks at Kia. In 2011, the pair set a Guinness record by driving through the lower 48 states in a Kia Optima Hybrid while averaging 64.55 mpg. The Optima is a significantly larger and heavier car than the Niro. A Honda Insight now holds that record at 74.34 mpg. The difference is the Kia Optima Hybrid is still sold at your local Kia dealer. Good luck finding a Honda Insight for sale.
“We’re extremely pleased with the Niro’s record-breaking performance,” says Orth Hedrick, vice president for product planning at Kia. “We set out to build a vehicle that offers real world utility, great looks, and fantastic mileage, and setting the Guinness World Record title confirms our achievement.”
Even in an era of record low gas prices (although they may be headed back up), people still consider fuel economy numbers when they decide on what car they want to spend their hard earned money to own. Crossovers are the hottest segment of the new car market, but the number of crossovers that get over 50 mpg? That is a very short list and Kia is right at the very top of it. It looks like Kia will be selling boatloads of these handsome, highly fuel efficient crossovers.
Source and photo credit: Kia press release