Update: ‘Vehicle-To-Load (V2L)’ sub-section of ‘2023 Niro EV Interior & Features’ and ‘Price & Release Date’ and ‘Niro EV is proving to be Kia’s workhorse in America’ sections updated.
On April 13, 2022, the 2023 Kia Niro made its U.S. debut at the 2022 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS 2022). The Niro has been thoroughly updated inside and out, and like now, it offers multiple alternative powertrain choices that satisfy a wide range of customers. New hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure-electric variants are now available at U.S. dealers.
Here’s what we know about the second-generation 2023 Kia Niro EV.
2023 Kia Niro EV Exterior
The 2023 Kia Niro has an unmistakable road presence with a bold design inspired by the Kia HabaNiro concept presented during the 2019 New York International Auto Show. In addition to being significantly more premium, its exterior is quite funky, with a strong focus on tapping the interest of young customers. The silhouette is largely similar, but there is a greater degree of extremity at the rear, explained later in this section.
The new Niro’s Tiger nose grille is slimmer, edgier, and noticeably wider, covering the width of the SUV. The headlamps and their striking ‘heartbeat’ LED DRL provide a confident look. The lower grille is sizeable, adding to its assertiveness. Kia says the Niro uses the group’s third generation K platform, and it’s a clean-sheet design compared to the current Niro EV. The all-new Niro embodies the brand’s ‘Opposites United’ design language.
On the sides, the 2023 Kia Niro has edgy mirrors, 17-inch wheels, an ‘Aero Blade,’ and a distinct steel gray and black body cladding. This feature makes the Niro instantly recognizable, and it’s not just an aesthetic feature. It enhances airflow and improves the vehicle’s aerodynamics. However, we would like to point out that the Hyundai Bayon, unavailable stateside, has the same style of lights. The charging port is positioned between the front grilles.
The rear windscreen is raked at a steeper angle than the first-gen Niro. Another noticeable change is relocating the registration plate area from the bumper to the tailgate. Where the first-gen model has rounded elements for soft styling, the second-gen model has sharp lines for edgy and aggressive styling, and this applies to the rear windows and quarter glasses, too. The draft coefficient (Cd) is 0.29, which is noteworthy for a boxy SUV.
Kia retails the 2023 Niro in the U.S. in the nine exterior color options listed below:
- Steely Gray
- Snow White Pearl
- Graphite Gray
- Aurora Black Pearl
- Runway Red
- Fire Orange Metallic
- Cityscape Green
- Mineral Blue
- Snow White Pearl with Gray Aeroblade
2023 Niro EV Interior & Features
Kia has been making great progress in the past decade in interior design, and the 2023 Niro is the latest example showcasing that achievement. The design takes inspiration from Hyundai Motor Group’s latest parametric design language, which is seen on the EV6 also.
The cabin of the Niro goes on a diet to free up space for occupants and is aesthetically pleasing. The slim and fluidic dashboard with its stylish off-center curves, the sleek panel merging the fully digital instrument cluster and the touchscreen infotainment system, the chic center console, the dial-type electronic gear selector, and the luxurious two-spoke steering wheel borrowed from the EV6 have made the Niro a more upmarket SUV.
The rising door armrests for the front occupants go well with the new curvy dashboard design. The smaller switches and other physical controls complement the new minimalist interior theme. Kia has used several eco-friendly materials in the 2023 Niro, such as recycled wallpaper (for the headlining), Bio PU with Tencel from eucalyptus leaves (for the seats), and BTX-free paint (for the door panels). Below are the interior color, upholstery and trim options:
- Charcoal Vegan Leather & Cloth Seat Trim
- Gray Vegan Leather & Cloth Seat Trim
- Perforated, Charcoal Vegan Leather Seat Trim
- Perforated, Gray and Charcoal Vegan Leather Seat Trim
Active Sound Design and 10.25-inch screens
10-inch head-up display, 10.25-inch fully digital instrument cluster, 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Digital Key 2, and cabin air purifier are some of the other equipment highlights of the 2023 Kia Niro. The ambient lighting strip in the cabin is a fine touch, making the cabin feel like a lounge on wheels. Kia has played around with acoustics on the Niro electric. The vehicle features Active Sound Design which lets the driver alter the whine of the electric motors digitally.
The electric crossover comes with optional Harman Kardon audio and optional heating and ventilation for front seats. Moreover, Kia offers Natural Voice Recognition to control temperature and audio simply by saying a few commands for Niro EV customers. Buyers also get Kia Connect—the brand’s version of connected car features where owners can remotely access charge status, make route plans, and view vehicle health information, among other functions.
Vehicle-To-Load (V2L) support makes bi-directional charging possible in the 2023 Kia Niro EV. Like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and Genesis GV60, the Niro EV allows using its battery to charge other EVs and power electronic appliances, electronic equipment, and more. However, V2L can only be used until the battery range falls to 10%, beyond which the system auto-cuts the external power supply. Hence, it would be prudent to use bidirectional charging only when the battery has enough charge.
V2L is a practical feature, especially in emergency situations. The 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck Eureka, California, on December 20, 2022, caused a wide-scale power outage, leaving tens of thousands without electricity. Harper Motors used a Ford F-150 Lightning and a Kia Niro EV to keep its operations running. The local auto dealership had shared pictures of the V2L feature powering its facility, on Facebook.
Kia Niro EV Specifications
The new Niro is 174.0 in. long, 71.8 in. wide, and 61.8 in. tall. Its wheelbase measures 107.0 in., and its ground clearance is set at 5.9 inches.
The 2023 Niro EV offers 22.8 cu. ft. of luggage capacity, which can be expanded to 63.7 cu. ft. by folding down the rear seats. There’s a frunk, too, offering 20 liters (0.7 cu. ft.) of additional cargo space.
With the model change, Kia says that the Niro EV has a best-in-class passenger volume (99.7 cu. ft.). It claims to have 8 more cubic feet of passenger cabin room and 50 percent more cargo room than the Tesla Model 3.
Nexen Tire America
The 17-inch wheels of the top-end 2023 Niro EV is wrapped with 215/55R17 N Priz S grand-touring tires sourced from Nexen Tire America. The OEM tire supplier says that its N Priz S grand-touring tires deliver reduced energy consumption, exceptional ride comfort, and everyday safety and reliability.
Motor & Battery Pack
The U.S.-spec 2023 Kia Niro EV is propelled by an electric motor tuned to deliver 150 kW (201 hp) and 255 Nm (188 lb.-ft.) of torque. Accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in the new Niro EV takes 7.1 seconds, and the top speed is 167 km/h (104 mph). Powering the single motor is a 64.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack that provides an EPA-est. range of 253 miles. The car is available with an optional heat pump and battery warmer to preserve range in cold weather.
i-PEDAL & Smart Regenerative Braking System 2.0
One-pedal driving is possible in the 2023 Niro EV in the ‘i-PEDAL (Intelligent Pedal)’ mode. Here, the driver can perform acceleration, deceleration, and braking by modulating the accelerator pedal. The 2023 Niro EV’s Smart Regenerative Braking System 2.0 automatically adjusts the amount of regenerative braking depending on the traffic data from the navigation system and the driver’s deceleration pattern. The driver can change the intensity of regenerative braking to the desired level using the paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel.
The 2023 Kia Niro EV also supports maximum DC fast charging speeds of 85 kW that can replenish the battery from 10% to 80% in less than 45 minutes. The 2023 Niro EV comes with 500 kWh of complimentary charging at Electrify America charging stations in the U.S., which is valid for three years from the date of purchase. Kia expects the charging credit to allow owners to drive up to 1,950 miles. Giovanni Palazzo, President and CEO, Electrify America, says that the company has a coast-to-coast charging network of 800 stations.
|Aspect||New Kia Niro EV|
|Power||150 kW (201 hp)|
|Torque||255 Nm (188 lb.-ft.)|
|0-60 Acceleration Time||7.1 seconds|
|Top Speed||167 km/h (104 mph)|
|EPA-est. Range||253 miles|
|EPA-est. MPGe (combined)||113|
|Battery Size||64.8 kWh|
|On Board Charger Power||11 kW|
|Normal Charging Time (on AC, to 100% SoC)||6 hours 5 minutes (at 11 kW)|
|Fast-charging Time (on DC, to 80% SoC)||45 minutes (at 45 kW)|
|Towing capacity (braked/unbraked)||1,653 lbs./661 lbs.|
|Luggage capacity (SAE)||22.8 cu. ft. (rear seats upright)/63.7 cu. ft. (rear seats folded)|
|Passenger Volume (SAE)||99.7 cu. ft.|
The U.S.-spec 2023 Kia Niro comes equipped with a raft of standard advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including forward and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane keep and follow assist, driver attention warning, blind spot monitoring plus assist, and more. What’s more, the Niro electric comes with safe exit warning, which provides a warning if a vehicle approaches when a passenger is exiting the EV.
Driver Attention Warning
Some ADAS features offered as standard are the Driver Attention Warning and Rear Occupant Alert. The former detects driver drowsiness and recommends a break if necessary. It can also alert the driver if a vehicle upfront departs from a standstill to join the lane. The latter encourages the driver to check the rear seats before driving. What’s more, Niro electric comes with Digital Key 2.0 which enables a host of remote functions using Apple or Samsung devices.
Adaptive cruise control, navigation-based curve, and Highway Driving Assist 2, which allows partial autonomous driving is likely to be offered on higher variants, and optionally on lower variants. The new 10-inch heads-up display also helps drivers avoid distractions by showcasing essential driving information. The HUD not only displays navigation directions, but also projects safety warnings, speed, and infotainment data directly in the driver’s line of sight.
Structural improvements in the next-gen Kia Niro EV
Kia says the torsional rigidity of the Niro EV (international-spec) has improved. There’s an impressive 22% increase in advanced high strength steel use while the body in white weight (weight before the motor, chassis components, and interior trims) has been reduced by 20.3 kg (6%). The improvements in rigidity should enhance the ride and handling characteristics of the Niro. Rigid unibody structures offer tight body control and are less prone to getting unsettled because of road imperfections. Kia has reinforced hot-stamping structural members in the main part of the bodywork to make the Niro EV safer.
Battery pack safety measures
Kia has made the Niro EV’s battery pack safer by using aluminum reinforcement on its underside. Complementing this structural upgrade is a battery conditioning function, which keeps the temperature of the battery pack at an optimal level. It preheats the battery pack when the external temperature is low to deliver maximum output. Moreover, it pre-optimizes the battery pack temperature when the driver sets a fast-charging station as the destination in the navigation system.
NHTSA hasn’t tested the 2023 Niro EV, but a 5-star overall rating is not out of reach. The U.S. safety agency rating had awarded the first-gen model a 5-star overall rating, and the all-new model is safer on paper.
First drive reviews of the U.S.-spec 2023 Niro EV sound positive. Sofyan Bey, Editor-in-Chief, Redline Reviews, (via YouTube) was impressed with the acceleration of the redesigned model. The steering response is precise and quick, and the ride is smooth, although not very quiet.
Joe Raiti from Raiti’s Rides says (via YouTube) he really likes the ease of operating the i-PEDAL in the 2023 Niro EV. The chassis is great and he’s surprised with how the vehicle handles despite weighing over 4,000 pounds. Max Patten from Out of Spec Reviews says (via YouTube) he likes the NVH levels and comfort of the 2023 Niro EV. However, he finds the ride to be floaty and not at all sporty. Pickup Truck Plus SUV Talk’s Jill Ciminillo says (via YouTube) the 2023 Niro EV was very nimble and quiet.
Price & Release Date
Prices of the 2023 Kia Niro EV in the U.S. start at USD 40,875 (incl. USD 1,325 destination fee). The all-new Niro EV has started arriving in showrooms in the U.S. We’ve spotted it at multiple dealerships (online), including Tacoma (WA)-based Car Pros Kia, Kenner (LA)-based Premier Kia of Kenner, Kiefer Kia in Eugene (OR), Beaverton Kia in Beaverton (OR), and Gladstone (OR)-based Ron Tonkin Kia. Like the EV6, it is available in all 50 states.
|Trim||2023 Kia Niro EV Price (incl. USD 1,325 destination fee)|
Unlike the first-gen family, the second-gen Niro EV (and Niro PHEV) aren’t eligible for a federal tax credit of up to USD 7,500. President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, deeming electrified vehicles made outside America ineligible for the incentive. Kia expressed its disappointment about the change, calling it “sudden” and “very disruptive” to its business in a letter to U.S. dealers (via InsideEVs.com). American automakers, including Ford and GM, also opposed the move, but the Biden administration has gone ahead and made the Inflation Reduction Act a law.
The Niro EV competes with its cousin, the Hyundai Kona EV, which features a new face and updated interior following the mid-cycle refresh in 2021. It rivals the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, too, the troubled model that has reentered production and is looking to strike a comeback.
Niro EV is proving to be Kia’s workhorse in America
The current-gen Kia Niro is not a sales champion in the United States, but it has contributed positively to the image of Kia electric vehicles in the country. The EV variant has won the heart of many Americans, as it ranked No.1 in the J.D. Power 2022 Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study. This was the second consecutive year that the Niro EV has topped the J.D Power customer satisfaction index.
The study for 2022 was fielded in October 2021, and 8,122 BEV and PHEV owners were surveyed in total. Repeating its performance from the previous year, the Kia Niro EV ranked the highest in the mass market BEV category, with a score of 744 on a 1,000-point scale. Owners were surveyed in the study on the factors like range, ownership cost, and driving enjoyment to understand how likely the customers are to repurchase their EV and recommend it to others.
Soul EV’s discontinuation clears the way for the Niro EV
The Kia Soul EV is gone for good in the U.S. market. As per a report from Autoblog, there’s no plan to launch the second-gen Soul EV. The Kia Niro EV will be the only pure electric offering from the brand in that segment. The SUV body style and added space make the Niro EV suitable for American customers. Kia’s success in the B-segment hinges on the new 2023 Niro EV.
As a contender for the electric compact SUV crown, the Kia Niro EV may struggle to compete against the 2023 VW ID.4 if it is not priced lower than the current model. The German SUV is more spacious, more powerful, and a whole lot cheaper, thanks to local production and the expected eligibility for federal tax credits, offers AWD capability and a higher range. Furthermore, the Niro EV may face an existential crisis due to competition from the Chevrolet Equinox EV (starting price of USD 30k) in late 2023. In a segment where such disruptive launches are looming, Kia will require government incentives to stay in the race.
Next-gen 2023 Kia Niro EV FAQs
What is the 2023 Kia Niro EV release date?
The all-new Niro has arrived in U.S. dealer showrooms.
What is the 2023 Kia Niro EV price?
The base variant (U.S.-spec) of the 2023 Kia Niro EV costs USD 40,875 (incl. USD 1,345 destination fee).
Featured Image Source: Kia