2023 Kia Niro
As with most automakers these days, Kia’s push towards electrification is in full swing. Its most popular models now have hybrid and plug-in hybrid drivelines. The all-electric EV6 is a smash hit. They just added the high performance EV6 GT o the lineup.
Kia has not forgotten their affordable roots. Especially when it comes to smaller vehicles. The Niro attracted customers with its simple design and a choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric drivelines.
For 2023, Kia introduced a new Niro. While it retains the same choices for sustainable driving, Kia decided to shake a few things up. It no longer looks like a humble hybrid crossover anymore.
Instead, you have a future-forward exterior design that takes inspiration from Kia’s latest models. It is a clean sheet design overall. The front has a mix of the Kia Soul and Seltos. The headlamp units are now lower on the front clip, combined with the lightning units, daytime running lights, and turn signals.
The profile is upright, but the Niro loses the C-pillar glass from the previous generation. Instead, our SX Touring tester has a contrasting paint scheme that envelopes the C-pillar. The taillights frame the upper part of the rear pillar, matching with the liftgate’s glass.
Being the top trim of the lineup, our SX Touring tester adds 18-inch alloy wheels to finish out the overall look. The Niro is a very clean look overall, if not distinctive from any such vehicle in its class.
Stepping inside, you would probably think that you have stepping into an EV6. Clearly, there are a lot of elements taken from Kia’s fully electric vehicle, such as the piano black treatment seen immediately with the wide dashboard screen set-up and the center console. You do get an actual shifter in the Niro, instead of a transmission dial. The full screen digital instrument cluster has a clean and luminescent look, while you can slide over to the 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen. All controls are tactile and logical to use.
Seating is for up to five people. The SynTex front seats are rather comfortable and offer plenty of adjustments, along with heating and cooling. Rear seat room…
Behind the rear seats, you can load up to 22.8 cubic feet space. By folding down the rear seatbacks, that space expands to 63.7 cubic feet.
The Niro is offered with three propulsion choices: a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a fully electric vehicle. Our SX Touring tester came with the full parallel hybrid system that starts with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. Total combined performance is rated at 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.
Rounding out this driveline is a six-speed dual-clutch transmission driving the front wheels. While motivated to get around traffic, the Niro’s hybrid system is clearly engineered for efficiency. Mainly for scooting around the city. We observed a fuel economy average of 45.6 MPG.
The ride quality is fine. Rougher road surfaces put the Niro’s suspension system at work by absorbing ruts and potholes. Handling was very good. Tending towards the softer side, yet it can manage tight maneuvers quite easily due to its smaller size.
Being a smaller vehicle, the Niro’s steering system has a nice turning radius. While it offers a lighter feeling, it does a decent job keeping the Niro on-center. The brakes were also very good – nothing hybrid-like about the stopping power. Braked pedal feel is good, enabling good stops in normal, panic, and winter situations.
Pricing for the new 2023 Kia Niro Hybrid starts at $26,590. Our SX Touring tester came with a sticker price of $36,435. For the Hybrid model, you have a choice of five trim levels. In addition, you also have two plug-in hybrid models and two battery-electric models available.
Whether you call it a crossover or a hatchback, the new Kia Niro continues a carve out a niche in the market as an affordable electrified vehicle for everyone. It does garner plenty of competition in this space. For example, the Niro Hybrid compares with the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. That’s about the only competitors in the dedicated hybrid space in our market in the sub-$40,000 range.
One could say that the 2023 Kia Niro is quite the value. It is, if you are looking for an electrified small vehicle with good space for people and cargo. It is also a good commuter and a runabout around town. Something definitely work looking at if you have a lot of boxes to tick.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors