Themade its US debut Wednesday at the New York Auto Show in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric forms. Its design is no surprise – the Niro was unveiled globally last year – but we’m happy to know its wild styling has not been toned down at all for the US market. The big news is that we now know all the juicy details about the 2023 Niro’s powertrains and tech.
No matter which Niro you get, it’ll be front-wheel drive, and this second-generation crossover is on the same basic platform as the outgoing model. The hybrid pairs a 1.6-liter, inline-4 engine with an electric motor for a total of 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, matching last year’s model. Kia says it has a total driving range of 588 miles and should get 53 mpg combined, an increase of 3 mpg. Then there’s the PHEV, which has a larger electric motor and 11.1-kilowatt-hour battery pack. The PHEV makes 139 hp and 195 lb-ft, also the same as before, but the new Niro’s 33-mile electric range is a 25% improvement.
also uses the same setup as before, a 201-hp motor paired with a 64.8-kWh battery pack. But range has been increased to 253 miles, up from 239, helped in part by an improved drag coefficient of 0.29. At its maximum of 85 kW, Kia says the Niro EV can go from 10% to 80% charge in less than 45 minutes when plugged into a Level 3 fast charger, while it takes under seven hours to gain a full charge on a Level 2 charger. A battery warmer and heat pump will be optional, and the Niro EV has the same V2L charging tech as the EV6.
Even though we’ve already seen it, the new Niro’s design is worth talking about. The angular headlights, large lower grille and tall, slim taillights make the Niro way more distinctive than the old model. But the centerpiece of the exterior is the Aero Blade that makes up the entire rear quarter panel and pillar; it’s available in body color or a number of contrasting paints. On the hybrid and PHEV the Niro has black body cladding, but the EV can be optioned with Steel Gray accents as well. Otherwise, the only real differentiators are the grille patterns.
The Niro’s angular interior is more upscale than before, taking obvious influence from the EV6 in its dashboard and center console design, and both passenger and cargo space are better than before. It uses lots of recycled materials like wallpaper containing PET fibers, and all of the upholstery options are made of vegan textiles.
A pair of 10.3-inch screens are available, and the Niro has the same touchpad for climate and audio controls as the EV6. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, and other optional features include a head-up display, configurable ambient lighting, a wireless phone charger, a Harman Kardon sound system and heated and ventilated seats.
Every 2023 Niro gets driver-assist tech like lane-keeping assist, blind-spot assist, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, a rear occupant alert and safe exit warning. Adaptive cruise control with stop and go is available, and the Niro EV is offered with Kia’s Highway Driving Assist II system, which includes automatic lane changes and machine learning for the adaptive cruise.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but every version of the 2023 Niro will be available in all 50 states starting this summer. Expect a slight price increase over the outgoing model, which starts at just under $ 25,000, and Kia says the new Niro EV will still qualify for the $ 7,500 federal tax credit.