2017 Kia Niro hybrid's $23,786 price undercuts the Toyota Prius

There's also a newly announced Launch Edition for $28,895.

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We're close to the commercial launch of Kia's hybrid crossover, the pointless-record-breaking but decidedly "solid" Niro. The ad campaign has begun with Melissa McCarthy voicing the TV spots, and with the Super Bowl tease already in full swing, curious customers are going to want to know what they'll have to shell out for the fuel-sipping family car. Kia has announced that the Niro will start at a base MSRP of $23,785.

The 50 mpg (combined) Niro FE's sub-$24k price includes 16-inch wheels, keyless entry, a seven-inch touchscreen display with rearview camera, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The $24,095 LX adds push-button start, roof rails, and LED rear lighting. The LX also offers the $1,450 Advanced Technology Package, adding forward collision and lane departure warnings, and autonomous emergency braking.

At $26,595, the EX provides heated seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED daytime running lights, fog lights, and heated power folding mirrors. It also includes a few driver assistance features, such as blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assist. A $2,300 Advanced Technology Package includes a power sunroof, smart cruise control, the collision and lane departure warnings, and autonomous emergency braking.

Just below the Touring trim is the Launch Edition at $28,895. It comes in either Snow White Pearl or Aurora Black Pearl paint with a unique metallic grille and Hyper Gray 18-inch alloy wheels. It includes an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

Topping the line is the $30,545 Niro Touring, which includes a power sunroof, park assist, heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, and the Harman Kardon premium sound system. This level also offers the Advanced Technology Package, and $1,900 adds HID headlights, wireless phone charging, smart cruise control and the warning and braking systems offered at the other trim levels. Unfortunately, both the Touring and the Launch Edition suffer in fuel economy, at 43 mpg combined.

For comparison, the base Kia Niro comes in $1,765 cheaper than the just slightly more efficient Toyota Prius's $25,550. The Ford C-Max Hybrid starts at $24,995, and falls short by about 10 mpg. The Niro is about the same price as the slightly larger, but much less efficient Hyundai Tucson.

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