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    Talking Cars 384: Driving the Kia Niro Hybrid

    Plus, we discuss the impact of not using a dealership for maintenance

    Main theme: This week we share our first impressions of the 2023 Kia Niro Hybrid. The Niro has improvements in efficiency and space but isn’t a true redesign. We discuss whether the tweaks have made the hybrid version we purchased a better car overall and if similar improvements to the plug-in hybrid and electric versions will likely do the same. In particular, we focus on how the Niro balances fuel economy and power. We also discuss whether it feels more like a tall wagon or small SUV and if it represents the value many Kia’s are known for.

    Audience question: Are there risks associated with not using a dealership for maintenance?

    "Talking cars" panelists Emily Thomas, Jen Stockburger, and Alex Knizek.

    Photo: Consumer Reports Photo: Consumer Reports

    As with other "Talking Cars" episodes, this one is available free through Apple Podcasts. (Subscribe to the audio or video.) You’ll also find the audio on Spotify (log-in required) and video on YouTube.

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    Talking Cars

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    Jen Stockburger

    I never anticipated that engineering, the auto industry, and a few hundred tire changes and child seat installations would have brought me here: director of day-to-day operations at Consumer Reports' fabulous 327-acre Auto Test Center. The bonus is that the track's location in rural Connecticut leaves me close enough to home to also enjoy my children and husband while still squeezing in time for gardening, riding horses, and hunting for antiques.