The entire world saw the completely redesigned Kia Niro in a global premiere last fall, but the North American-bound models today made their debut at the 2022 New York Auto Show, and we have many details to share with you.
Models? Well, yes. In case you forgot, the Niro is available in three different configurations including hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and electric (EV).
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More Style and Space
Similar to the brand new EV6 and next-gen Sportage, the 2023 Kia Niro has been developed under the company's “Opposites United” design philosophy. At the same time, there’s strong influence from the 2019 HabaNiro concept, the optional 18-inch wheels being just one example.
The Niro and Niro PHEV can be identified by black door cladding and wheel arches, while the Niro EV is distinguished by Steel Grey or black exterior trim, depending on the body colour. The side profile is also accentuated by the Aero Blade, which can be painted in body colour or in a variety of contrasting colours.
In terms of size, the 2023 Niro trumps its predecessor at 4.42 metres long. Cargo capacity behind the rear seats is now rated at 646 litres in the hybrid variant. Legroom in the first and second rows is improved, as well.
Plenty of New Technology
The interior of the new Kia Niro makes extensive use of recycled or sustainable materials while featuring a much more modern cockpit with available dual 10.25-inch screens and a head-up display. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is included.
The front seats, which feature optional heating and ventilation, offer standard USB ports on the side and optional seat memory positions on some models. Ambient mood lighting in a multitude of colour combinations jazzes up the cabin, while Active Sound Design allows the driver to digitally enhance the engine and motor sounds.
But there is so much more to the 2023 Niro when it comes to technology. For example, you can unlock the doors through the new Digital Key 2.0 using a compatible phone or smart watch (and sharing it with other drivers is as simple as sending a text). Over-the-air updates ensure that maps and the infotainment system are updated automatically. Also, certain vehicle functions can be controlled remotely with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant enabled smart speakers or devices.
What About Power and Range?
The 2023 Kia Niro returns with no technical changes to its hybrid variant, which continues to deliver 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. However, the Niro PHEV gets a more potent 62kW electric motor (previously 45kW) for a total of 180 horsepower (+41). The lithium-ion polymer battery now has a capacity of 11.1kWh and is said to improve zero-emission range from 42 km to 53 km with the 16-inch wheels.
Interestingly, with the new Green Zone drive mode, the Niro and Niro PHEV automatically switch into EV drive mode in residential areas as well as nearby schools and hospitals. This is based on navigation cues and driving history data.
As for the 201-horsepower Niro EV, the specs are pretty much the same as they were. The battery is 0.8kWh larger than before, which may seem trivial, but Kia claims that maximum range is improved from 385 km to 407 km—just short of the Hyundai Kona Electric (415 km) but longer than the Chevrolet Bolt EUV (397 km).
An optional heat pump and battery warmer will help maximize efficiency in cold temperatures. What’s more, the same vehicle-to-load onboard generator functionality pioneered by the Kia EV6 means you can charge or run various power devices that are plugged into the Niro.
Pricing and equipment details specific to the Canadian market will be announced closer to launch in late fall.