2023 Kia Niro Preview

Chris Teague | Apr 14, 2022

The automotive world is speeding toward a fossil fuel-free future, but electric vehicles (EVs) won't work for everyone until infrastructure and urban planning catch up. In the meantime, models like the Kia Niro fill the gap with frugal hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains. People who have access to chargers and want a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) can have that, too.

2023 Kia Niro, Kia Niro PHEV, Kia Niro EV

Kia's everything-and-the-electric-kitchen-sink approach to the Niro's powertrain offerings doesn't come at the expense of functionality, either, as it delivers reasonable efficiency and good value in all its forms. The crossover enters its second generation for the 2023 model year and gets a fresh design, new tech, and more interior space.

What's New for the 2023 Kia Niro? - Find the best Kia deals!

  • All-new second-generation model
  • Three available powertrains: Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and BEV
  • Larger but lighter than its predecessor
  • Kia will sell the 2023 Niro in all 50 states beginning in summer of 2022

2023 Kia Niro Exterior - Find the best Kia deals!

2023 Kia Niro EV Rear Quarter View

The 2023 Niro borrows some of its exterior styling elements from the "HabaNiro" concept vehicle that Kia showed at the 2019 New York International Auto Show. It retains Kia's signature tiger-nose grille, but it's slimmer and sharper than before, and the LED daytime running lights mirror the concept vehicle's lights. The new Niro's overall vibe is more grown-up and refined.

For the all-new 2023 model, Kia bumps the Niro's wheelbase to 107.1 inches (+0.8 inches), and its overall length climbs to 174 inches (+2.5). Ground clearance measures 6.3 inches (unchanged from 2022), which Kia says helps it "easily handle urban activities."

Interestingly, aerodynamics is a positive side effect of the new crossover's sleek shape, where it sports a 0.29 drag coefficient. Adding to the Niro's slickness are its "aero blades," which are slightly raised body panels on the C-pillar behind the rear doors. Kia says customers can opt to have them painted in matching or contrasting colors.

2023 Kia Niro Interior - Find the best Kia deals!

2023 Kia Niro Interior Dashboard

Kia took inspiration for the Niro's interior from its new electric model, the EV6. Recycled wallpaper forms the basis for the car's headliner, and Kia upholsters the seats in bio polyurethane and a material called Tencel made from eucalyptus leaves. Sustainable and recycled materials were a priority, and the interior is entirely animal-free. The Niro offers better interior passenger and cargo space than the outgoing model, thanks to its extended wheelbase.

The Niro's dash is asymmetrical and oriented toward the driver. An optional 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster can accompany the standard infotainment touchscreen of the same size. The curved displays are mounted side by side for a neat panoramic effect.

2023 Kia Niro Specs - Find the best Kia deals!

You can have your new Kia Niro any way you like, as long as it involves an electric motor. Three powertrain options are available: gas-electric hybrid (Niro), plug-in hybrid (Niro PHEV), and fully electric (Niro EV).

The hybrid-powered Niro comes with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine and 32-kW electric motor that makes a combined 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Kia estimates 53 mpg combined for the hybrid.

The Niro PHEV gets the same 1.6-liter engine, but Kia pairs it with a 62-kW electric motor. System output is 180 hp and 195 pound-feet of torque. Plug-in hybrids work similarly to hybrids, with the notable exception that PHEVs offer the ability to switch to electric driving for a limited time. The Niro PHEV's all-electric range lands at 33 miles, around what you'd get from the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV.

The Niro EV gets a 150-kW (201 horsepower) electric motor with a 64.8-kWh battery. Using a Level 3 DC fast charger, Kia says the car can charge from 10 to 80 percent in under 45 minutes. There's an 11-kW onboard charger, which the automaker says speeds charging to under seven hours using a Level 2 charger. Kia says it expects the Niro EV to achieve 253 miles of range and notes that it's available with an optional heat pump and battery warmer to bolster range when it's cold out.

2023 Kia Niro Safety - Find the best Kia deals!

The 2023 Niro is too new to have government crash-test data, and it's different enough from the 2022 model that it's better to wait to draw conclusions. That said, the new Niro comes loaded to the gills with advanced driving assistance systems, including:

Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability and navigation-based speed controls are available. Kia also offers its Highway Driving Assist II system for the first time in a Niro.

2023 Kia Niro Technology - Find the best Kia deals!

The Niro comes standard with a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen that runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A second configurable 10.25-inch display is available that takes the place of the gauge cluster. The screens are mounted side by side in a semi-panoramic configuration, oriented toward the driver. A head-up display is available, along with wireless smartphone charging.

Starting with the EX trim, the Niro comes with Kia's connected app suite, which includes a digital key function that allows the owner to use an iPhone, Apple Watch, or Samsung Galaxy smartphone as the key. It's shareable with other people by sending a text message.

2023 Kia Niro Competitors - Find the best Kia deals!

Because of its size and price, the Kia Niro competes against a variety of cars and crossovers, including the Chevrolet Bolt EV/Bolt EUVHonda InsightSubaru Crosstrek HybridToyota PriusVolkswagen ID.4, and many others.

Kia is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of April 13, 2022, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker's website or your local dealership.

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