With the forthcoming emergence of electric vehicles (EVs), it’s refreshing to know that many manufacturers will introduce “traditional” designs instead of ones that are Prius-like or so futuristic that everyone on the block has issues keeping their lunch down. When designers go too far to make the public aware that the vehicle that they have designed is an EV or a hybrid of some sort, then they have failed in my view.
Thankfully, new vehicles like the upcoming redesigned 2023 Kia Niro retains traditional vehicle design elements and doesn’t go too far to depart from something good-looking just to signify that it is either a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or an EV – which the Niro will be all.
The new 2023 Kia Niro departs from its 2017 debut of being a hybrid hatchback and evolves into what we see here, an SUV (technically a 4-door hatchback) that can be had in a variety of flavors to appease our brave new world of EVs. In fact, the new Kia Niro will offer Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and full EV variants.
Currently, the Niro uses a hybrid setup with a 1.6-liter inline-4-cylinder that’s paired with an electric motor and 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The 139-horsepower and 195 lb-ft of combined torque setup yield up to 53 mpg city, 48 mpg highway, and 50 mpg combined. The package starts at a price of $25,865, which is a stunning value for a hybrid vehicle.
The new plug-in hybrid Niro will have the same output as the hybrid but have a larger 8.9-kWh battery back that enables up to 26 miles of electric-only driving. Moving to the all-electric (EV) Niro, it will have more power at the tune of 201 horsepower through an electric motor that powers the front wheels only, a 64-kWh battery pack, and a range of about 239 miles.
Performance from the new Niro isn’t earth moving but is acceptable for its price. We expect the same 0-60 mph time of the outgoing Niro for the new model taking a hair over nine seconds, which is still faster than a comparable Prius.
The niceties for the new Niro include what you expect for its price but does well to offer a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay integration, and a straightforward cabin with decent seating proportions for five.
As you may guess, there’s some component sharing going on here in the refreshed 2023 Kia Niro. However, such is a good thing considering the Niro may grow up even more soon to utilize more robust hybrid or EV components from other forthcoming Kia vehicles, including the new 2022 Kia EV6 EV SUV. For now, the “refreshed” 2023 Kia Niro expands its offering to help ease the switch to full EV at a respectable price for the known hybrid models.