The all-electric 2023 Kia Niro offers advanced features at a competitive cost
The Kia Niro is a compact crossover that has been restyled for the 2023 model year.
I recently test-drove the all-electric version of the Niro, and I was impressed with the comfortable ride, spaciousness and user-friendly controls.
The new styling is more dramatic, futuristic, and high-tech than other compact crossovers. Styling can be a matter of opinion, but I like the looks of the Niro, both inside and out. The interior is interesting without being gimmicky.
With the automotive industry transitioning from gasoline engines to hybrids and electric models, the Niro is exclusively available as a standard hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or fully electric vehicle.
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The Niro is 4,420 mm (174 in) long and sits on a 2,720 mm (107 in) wheelbase, making it slightly longer than a couple of other Kia crossovers, the Soul and Seltos. It seems more spacious than its dimensions would imply. The front seats can slide farther back than in many vehicles, which tall people will appreciate. I’m six feet, but I often wish there was more legroom in many vehicles I drive; not so in the Niro. It’s spacious and tall, yet it’s easy to handle. The Niro has found the sweet spot of interior spaciousness yet compact dimensions to make it easy to handle and park in congested urban centres.
Controls on the dash are logically laid out, with a gauge package in front of the driver and a navigation screen in the centre of the dash above the console. The nav screen is a pleasure to use because you zoom in and out by turning a knob, which is better than having to pinch the screen or carefully touch the plus or minus sign on the screen, which is common on many vehicles.
Power comes from a motor that produces 201 horsepower. The driving range on a single charge is estimated at 407 km. On a regular household 120-volt outlet, Kia says it takes 57 hours to fully charge a depleted battery. On a level 2 (240 volt) charger, at 7kW, it takes nine hours and five minutes; at 11 kW, it’s six hours and five minutes. On a Level 3 fast charger, charging times range from 43 to 65 minutes.
Pricing for the 2023 Kia Niro EV starts at $48,444. The list price of my higher-trimmed test vehicle was $52,995 – and with freight, air conditioning and tax, the total price came in at $55,195.
The higher priced all-electric Kia Niro includes 17-inch alloy wheels, synthetic leather seats, heated and cooled front seats, sunroof, smart cruise control, forward collision avoidance assistant, Lane Keep and Follow Assist, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, power liftgate, 10.25-inch navigation screen, and a heat pump. For winter driving, the heat pump “Preserves your battery’s range by keeping it warmer in colder weather,” according to Kia.
The charging port is at the centre of the front of the vehicle, making it easier to charge up than when it’s on one side; there is no need to do some navigating to get the port next to the charger. EV owners sometimes end up on the “wrong” side of a charging station. These days, most gas-powered vehicles have the fuel door on one side. But years ago, most gas filler spouts were hidden behind the rear licence plate, which meant no one pulled in on the “wrong” side of a gas pump.
As more people move away from gas vehicles, the all-electric 2023 Kia Niro will appeal to those shopping in the crowded compact crossover/SUV segment looking for a hybrid or EV that’s stylish, comfortable, easy to drive, and not too big for congested urban driving, but big enough for a road trip with more than two people.
Dale Johnson is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who has worked in TV, radio, print and online. While the manufacturer provided Dale with a vehicle to test drive, the content of this review was not reviewed or accepted by the manufacturer.
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