Review by Veeno Dewan
The 2023 Kia Niro is larger than its predecessor, with a stylish exterior redesign and in addition to the well-equipped spec – a more comprehensive suite of safety features. First a bot of confession, our family had a 2021 Kia Niro EV which did stellar service until we traded it in a few weeks ago for a new 2023 Ultimate fully loaded version! Why because we thinks it great!
The new 2023 model that has a sportier sleeker look with an impressive drag coefficient of 0.29. There are new daytime running lights. At the rear, there are fancy boomerang LED taillights and a skid plate garnish feature. As a finishing touch, depending on body color, the EV Niro has a cool “Aero Blade’ panel feature on the rear flanks. Its not purely a cosmetic touch, and aids airflow underneath the D-pillar. The Aero Blade can be painted in body colour or in a variety of contrasting hues.
Interestingly there are three available power trains: HEV hybrid, PHEV plug-in hybrid, and all-electric EV. All Niros are front-wheel drive. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard in the HEV and PHEV. The HEV features a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine coupled with a 32-kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor, for a combined maximum output of 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Kia claims the HEV returns between 4.4 L/100 km – 4.8 L/100 km of combined fuel economy and a driving range of nearly 950 km.
The PHEV has a 1.6L four-cylinder engine with a 62-kW electric motor, and a lithium-ion polymer battery for a total system output of 180 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Fully charged, the all-electric range of the PHEV is up to 55 km. Standard on the HEV and PHEV models with navigation, is the excellent Green Zone Drive Mode, which automatically switches into EV drive mode in residential areas, and nearby schools and hospitals
The all-electric EV is powered by a larger than before 64.8-kWh battery and a 150-kW (201 hp) motor with DC fast-charging capability. Plugged in to a Level 3 fast charger, the EV battery can replenish to 80 percent from 10% in less than 45 minutes, at a maximum charging capability of 85 kW. The 11-kW onboard charger also helps recharge the EV in under seven hours on a Level 2 charger.
The Niro EV is rated for 385 km of range, while optimised range is 407 km. An optional heat pump and battery warmer help preserve range in cold temperatures. One very handy feature in the new EV is the V2L (Vehicle-to-load) function, which allows the passenger to power external electric devices with the vehicle battery.
Inside, as usual one cannot help but be impressed with how well- appointed and well-finished the cabin is. With good visibility and a roomy interior, there is a classy upscale look to the dash and front driver’s cockpit. It’s all black detailing set off with metal look high quality controls and gauges. SX trim Niro’s arrive with LED lighting, LED foglamps, 10.25 Multimedia screen, 7” LCD supervision cluster and Harmon Kardon audio system.
The standard infotainment system is an 8.0-inch touchscreen, but a larger 10.3-inch unit is installed on higher trim levels. The tech systems are intuitive and simple to use. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Kia’s UVO3 interface IS wonderful, intuitive, and easy to use. Seats and passenger cabin space is comfortable with ample room in all areas.
The bigger dimensions means more cargo capacity behind the rear seats to 646 litres Niro models offer plenty of head- and legroom even for tall passengers sitting in the back, and a flexible cargo area.
Safety is good with standard equipment such as: automatic high beams, lane-keeping assist, available forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, Available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology, Available blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert, plus much more.
On the road, the Niro EV electric motor’s 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque gives you effortless power especially in Sport mode. However, in Eco, Eco+, and Normal modes, torque is held a tad to minimize torque steer and wheel spin. Meanwhile selectable drive modes are a handy feature.
The 20232 Niro EV’s low center of gravity and independent suspension gives it a smooth ride and neutral handling. One pedal driving is easy with the multi -level regenerative braking. With good road manners, generous driving no-gas range, an excellent equipment spec and a practical roomy interior, the Niro EV is very tempting if you are in the market for as an electric- only CUV. The Kia Niro is good…very good. Highly recommended.
2023 Kia Niro EV. Priced from: $26,995 – $54,695.
More info at www.kia.caom.