By Don Armstrong
Hybrid and all-electric markets continue to grow and so do showroom offerings. We recently had a chance to drive one of each and found a change of mindset was needed with one.
Kia Niro EV
Pricing and range have kept most buyers of electric vehicles on the sideline, until now. With a starting price of $38,500, the Kia Niro EV becomes the “everyday guy’s” bargain, allowing the driver to never stop for gas. And with an average travel distance of 239-miles per charge, a day trip from Kemah to Brookshire and back is a piece of cake.
The Niro EV is classified as a small station wagon but looks more like a small SUV. The nicely appointed, entry level EX will be plenty for most and adding an extra $5,500 for the Premium version may be a bit too much for leather, LED lighting and a big audio system.
Driving the Niro EV is pleasant. It handles well and offers a quieter cabin than those SUV’s with gasoline power plants. There will always be wind and tire noise at highway speed, and, in that regard, this vehicle is not very different.
The caveat: Having to constantly use brain power to calculate the distance of your destination and having to allow at least a 30 minute charge for an additional 100 mile range .
Toyota Corolla Hybrid
We may have discovered the ultimate car: Modern, attractive interior and exterior, long history of quality and dependability, gets 53 miles per gallon-city, 52-highway and a base price of $23,100.
The 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid borrows the drivetrain from its stablemate, Prius, and we’re predicting this new mashup will serve its owners well, especially in MPG bragging circles.
Is it perfect? No. There is only one “entry-level” trim package, the LE. It does not offer Android Auto. You WILL get a choice of 7 attractive exterior colors and two interior fabrics.
The Corolla Hybrid is roomy for its size, has a smartly designed dash and an interior with just the right mix of materials and quality construction.
Under the hood of this mileage-maker is a 1.8-liter gasoline engine connected to two electric motor/generators that drive the front wheels through a CVT transmission. It has a long list of standard and safety features too.
You won’t have any regrets with the Corolla Hybrid. Test drive one and let us know what you think.