The 2023 Kia Niro PHEV looks like great value for money [Update]

  • Priced from USD 33,740 (excl. USD 1,295 destination); Ineligible for federal tax credits
  • Delivers up to 33 miles of EPA-est. pure electric range; Combined range impresses at 510 miles
  • Cheapest Plug-in Hybrid SUV in America; now available at dealerships
  • Toyota Prius Prime and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV are its indirect rivals

Update: ‘Driving Impressions’ section added.

The all-new 2023 Kia Niro PHEV has been announced for the U.S., replacing the first-gen SUV that arrived in fall 2017. Here’s everything we know about the new Niro Plug-in Hybrid which has the potential to be a great choice for Americans who aren’t yet convinced about going fully electric with the Niro EV.

Design

The 2023 Kia Niro PHEV looks youthful and more appealing than its predecessor. Kia designed the second-gen Niro models from the ground up, taking inspiration from the 2019 HabaNiro concept car. The all-new plug-in hybrid SUV flaunts vertical headlights with angular ‘Heartbeat’ DRLs, a new tiger nose grille, 18-inch wheels, an aero C-pillar, black door cladding and wheel arches, boomerang-shaped LED tail lights, and heartbeat-shaped rear reflectors which give it a totally different personality.

Interior

The interior of the 2023 Kia Niro PHEV is noticeably more upscale, packing a more sophisticated design and advanced technologies. Here, some influence arrive from the Kia EV6, the brand’s most high-tech EV launched to date.

The 2023 Niro Plug-in Hybrid has an off-center dashboard that curves around the driver and front passenger. It houses two 10.25-inch displays seamlessly merged on a single panel. The first is for the instrument cluster and the other display is for the infotainment system. Kia has equipped the all-new model with a 10-inch head-up display as well.

2023 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid interior dashboard
The 2023 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid features a Kia EV6-inspired interior. Image Source: Kia

Wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto are part of the standard equipment in the 2023 Niro Plug-in Hybrid. With Digital Key 2.0, customers can open and start their vehicle using Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones as well as Apple Watch. They can even share the new digital key with whoever they want.

On the safety front, a number of advanced driver assistance systems are standard:

  • Forward Collision Avoidance (FCA) with Pedestrian detection capability
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
  • Lane Following Assist (LFA)
  • Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
  • Blind Spot Collision Avoidance (BCA) with Parallel Exit
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance-Assist (RCCA)
  • Safe Exit Warning (SEW)
  • Rear Occupant Alert (ROA)

As an option, customers can specify their 2023 Niro Plug-in Hybrid with Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Navigation-Based Curve and FCA with Assist-Junction w/ Cyclist & Junction Turning.

Specifications

A PHEV can be a great option for someone who wants the best of both worlds – the ability to commute on electric power like an EV without the question of range anxiety, but also the option to fill up at a gas station during a long road trip.

The 2023 Kia Niro PHEV is based on the third-gen ‘K’ platform. Kia says that it developed this platform to support various electrified powertrains and provide high levels of torsional rigidity.

The 2023 Niro Plug-in Hybrid variant measures 174.0 in. long, 71.8 in. wide, and 60.8 in. tall. Compared to the outgoing Niro, it is 2.5 in. longer and 0.7 in wider. Its wheelbase, at 106.3 in., is 0.8 in. longer. The redesigned model has a more spacious cabin that’s comparable to a vehicle one size larger. It offers a maximum luggage capacity of 54.6 cu. ft. and a passenger volume of 105.1 cu. ft. The latter is a big improvement from the first-gen model (100.9 cu. ft.).

The 2023 Niro Plug-in Hybrid combines a Smartstream 1.6-liter GDI engine with a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor that results in 180 hp of combined power and 195 lb.-ft. of combined torque. A 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard, and it sends drive to the front wheels.

There’s an 11.1 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack to power the electric motor, located under the floor below the rear seats. Topping up the traction battery pack using a Level 2 charger takes less than three hours. A new Green Zone drive mode automates the selection of the EV drive mode by using location information from the navigation system and also by learning from driving patterns.

Aspect2023 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid Specification
Length174.0 in.
Width71.8 in.
Height60.8 in.
Wheelbase107.1 in.
Headroom40.5 in. (front)/39.5 in. (rear)
Legroom41.5 in. (front)/39.8 in. (rear)
Shoulder Room56.2 in. (front)/55.4 in. (rear)
Hip Room45.4 in. (front)/53.0 in. (rear)
Luggage Capacity (SAE)19.4 cu. ft. (2nd row seats upright)/54.6 cu. ft. (2nd row seats folded)
Passenger Volume (SAE)105.1 cu. ft.
LayoutFront engine, Front drive
Engine Type1.6L Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) 4-cylinder engine
Engine Power77.2 kW (103 hp) at 5,700 rpm
Engine Torque106.3 lb.-ft. at 4,000 rpm
Motor TypePermanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM)
Motor Power62 kW (83 hp)
Motor Torque149.7 lb.-ft.
System Power180 hp
System Torque195 lb.-ft.
Battery Pack TypeLithium-ion polymer
Battery Pack Capacity11.1 kWh
Transmission6-speed dual-clutch automatic
Fuel Tank Capacity9.77 gallons
Fuel Economy (EPA-est.)108 MPGe
Electric Range (EPA-est.)33 miles (EX)/31 miles (SX Touring)
Combined Range (EPA-est.)510 miles
Towing CapacityNo Towing Capability
Roof Load Capacity220 lbs.
2023 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid specifications (Source: Kia)

The 2023 Niro Plug-in Hybrid delivers an EPA-est. pure electric range of up to 33 miles, which is 7 miles higher than the previous model (26 miles). The combined fuel economy (EPA-est.) is 108 MPGe, which is an improvement of 3 MPGe over the model it replaces. A heat pump is available optionally under a Cold Weather Package to reuse waste heat energy and preserve range in cold temperatures.

Driving Impressions

In their 2023 Kia Niro PHEV test drive, Green Car Reports found that the plug-in hybrid variant is about two seconds slower (0-62 mph), despite being 400 pounds lighter than the fully-electric variant. However, testers did note that it felt quicker than the regular hybrid Niro while retaining 14-18% of battery charge when on ‘Hybrid’ mode. They also observed that 240V Level 2 charging system was able to recharge the Niro PHEV’s 11.1 kWh battery pack in under 3 hours.

In their first test review of the 2023 Niro PHEV, MotorTrend noted that its relatively-low curb weight and compact dimensions helped this car feel agile and maneuverable. Testers also found that the handling limits of the Niro PHEV are on the lower side, while its stiff suspension resulted in the ride quality feeling firm and choppy. Also, the test drive seemed to reveal the car’s probably inadequate sound deadening.

Car and Driver’s road test noted how the PHEV version of the 2023 Kia Niro performed better than the regular hybrid variant, allowing for more effortless merging onto freeways or overtaking at highway speeds. The plug-in hybrid’s larger lithium-ion battery pack allowed the testers to achieve 25 miles of real-world EV range, compared to the 18 miles of the maximum range they managed in the old model. However, reviewers noticed that the Niro PHEV required 3 feet more than the Hybrid model to stop from 70 mph.

During their whole week of testing the 2023 Kia Niro PHEV, CleanTechnica recorded an all-electric range of 32–35 miles. According to the testers, this was likely possible as the car had been connected to a charger most of the time. The reviewers were also pleased with Kia’s use of recycled materials or eco-conscious materials on the inside and outside of the Niro PHEV, while also taking note of the car’s base-heavy Harman Kardon premium audio system. Finally, it was also observed that the seats of the Niro PHEV are very comfortable.

Price & Release Date

Prices of the 2023 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid start at USD 33,740 plus USD 1,295 destination. The new plug-in hybrid SUV is available in all 50 states. It has started arriving in showrooms, and we’ve spotted inventory (digitally) at multiple dealerships, including Kiefer Kia (Eugene, OR), George Gee Kia (Coeur d’Alene, ID), Towbin Kia (Henderson, NV), Beaverton Kia (Beaverton, OR), and West Hills Kia (Bremerton, WA).

Trim2023 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid Price
EXUSD 35,035
SX TouringUSD 40,785
2023 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid prices in the U.S. (including USD 1,295 destination charge)

TopElectricSUV says

The 2023 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid is an excellent PHEV in the compact SUV space. It offers incremental upgrades over the previous model in terms of style, space, performance, comfort, digitalization, and efficiency. The only downside of the redesigned plug-in hybrid SUV is that, unlike the old model, it is not eligible for federal tax credits, which makes it more expensive.

2023 Kia Niro PHEV FAQs

What is the 2023 Kia Niro PHEV release date?

The 2023 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid has begun reaching U.S. dealers.

What is the 2023 Kia Niro PHEV price?

The 2023 Kia Niro PHEV costs USD 33,740 (excl. USD 1,295 destination) onwards.

Which models are the 2023 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid rivals?

The 2023 Niro Plug-in Hybrid, in pricing, competes with the Toyota Prius Prime and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Featured Image Source: Kia