A single plug-in hybrid SUV (PHEV) is priced under $30,000

One of the benefits of buying and driving a PHEV is that it’s a great transition point between regular cars and electric vehicles. As a result, PHEVs are relatively green options that have longer range while being cheaper than most EVs, especially EVs with similar range numbers. Here’s a look at the 2022 Kia Niro PHEV, the only PHEV SUV under $30,000.

How PHEV SUVs are different from others

Kia Niro | Getty Images

In the world of eco-friendly cars, PHEVs sit halfway between traditional hybrids, called HEVs, and true EVs. The main thing that separates one from the other is its battery size. HEVs like the Prius usually come with a small battery, and that battery can’t be recharged by plugging into a charging station.

A PHEV, on the other hand, has a much bigger battery. As a result, owners can plug in their PHEV to charge, and a PHEV can also travel in battery-only mode. When in this mode, a PHEV runs purely on electricity, making it as clean as an EV. What separates a PHEV from a true EV is that a PHEV can only do it for a few dozen miles at best. Once the battery is depleted, a PHEV relies on its gasoline engine to take over.

A preview of the 2022 Kia Niro PHEV SUV

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The 2022 Niro PHEV is priced at around $29,500, making it a relatively affordable eco-friendly option. According Edmunds, the Niro PHEV’s powertrain combines a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor to generate 139 hp and 161 lb-ft of torque. In hybrid drive mode, the Niro PHEV boasts fuel economy of 110 MPGe in the city and 99 MPGe on the highway, for 105 MPGe combined.

The Niro PHEV is still very fuel efficient in its normal driving mode. It gets 48 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highways, for 46 mpg combined. Kia has given the Niro PHEV an 8.9kWh battery that allows people to travel 26 miles in battery-only mode. Of course, since the Niro PHEV still has a gasoline engine, it also has an 11.4 gallon gas tank. This essentially allows the Niro PHEV to have a range of over 500 miles.

Families will also be able to carry a lot of stuff in their Kia. The Niro PHEV has a cargo capacity of 19.4 cubic feet without folding any seats. With the seats folded down, it has a maximum cargo capacity of around 54.5 cu. When it comes to technology, Kia has fitted the Niro with an 8-inch touchscreen as standard. Like other Kias, the Niro PHEV has plenty of standard safety features, including blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

Kia gives the Niro a total makeover

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That said, Kia is also giving the Niro a redesign for the 2023 model year. It’s slated to debut in the US later this year, but pricing details aren’t available yet. However, with the new model year, Kia is expected to increase its prices, so the Niro PHEV may not be the only PHEV that starts under $30,000 in the future.

The Niro PHEV should be worth it though. For example, according to Car and driver, Kia has fitted the 2023 Niro PHEV with an 11.1 kWh battery. This larger battery allows the Kia to travel 33 miles in battery-only mode, significantly increasing what the 2022 model can do.

RELATED: 2022 Kia Niro vs 2022 Kia Niro PHEV vs 2022 Kia Niro EV: Which Niro is right for you?

Eleanor C. William