2023 Kia Niro Hybrid, PHEV and EV debut at NY Auto Show


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The full range of 2023 Kia Niro models is making its debut here at the New York Auto Show, and the versatile, little hatchback is bringing big change for its new generation. By full range, we mean the HEV Hybrid, PHEV plug-in hybrid and fully-electric EV.

You may recall that we’ve already seen the next-gen Niro, as the new model made its global debut in Korea late last year. Today, Kia is showering us with all the U.S.-specific details we’ve been waiting for.

Everybody that liked the way the new Niro looked back then will be pleased to see all of the funky design touches transfer over to our version of the car. It retains the side blade, or “Aero Blade,” as Kia would call it. This blade is painted a contrasting color versus the rest of the car and is functional, too, as Kia says it is designed to aid airflow under the car. That said, if you don’t want the two-tone look, you can spec a Niro with the Aero Blade painted in body color (but that’s no fun).

The hybrid and PHEV have black cladding and wheel arches, while the EV has gray-painted trim. That said, Kia says the EV can also be had with black cladding depending on your paint selection. Size-wise, the new Niro has a slightly longer wheelbase at 107.1 inches, longer overall length (by 2.5 inches) and a little more cargo space at 22.8 cubic-feet. Its purpose as an urban vehicle remains, as it’s front-drive-only and ground clearance is at a car-like 6.3 inches.

The Hybrid model carries on with its 1.6-liter four-cylinder that is helped along by an electric motor to produce a combined output of 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Kia is aiming for even better fuel economy than before, as the predicted combined figure is 53 mpg. That’s better than the 50 mpg combined the Niro topped out at previously.

For those not ready to step into a full EV, the PHEV returns (pictured in blue above) in this new generation, and it’s better than before. This model pairs a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with a more powerful electric motor that gets its energy from a slightly larger battery pack. Now sitting at 11.1 kWh (up from 8.9 kWh), Kia predicts electric range on a full battery will be 33 miles, a notable improvement over the 26 miles it was previously rated for. Kia says both the Hybrid and PHEV have a new “Green Zone Drive Mode” that automatically switches them into their respective EV drive modes in residential areas, school zones and hospitals to operate as much on electric power as they can in those areas.

Lastly, there’s the Niro EV (pictured in white above). Powered by a single 201-horsepower electric motor, Kia predicts a total electric range figure of 253 miles. That’s up from the 239 miles the previous Niro EV was rated for. The battery is 0.8 kWh larger than before, and maximum charge speed is 85 kW. That’s good enough to go from 10-80% charge in under 45 minutes if you’re plugged into a DC fast charger that supports the Niro’s maximum charge speed. The final big change to note for the EV will be its 50-state availability. Kia didn’t offer the EV in every state for the prior generation, so now you’ll be able to buy it all over.

In case you missed it in the Korean reveal, we’ll highlight the interior one more time. You’ll notice that the dash looks a lot like the EV6’s revolutionary new interior design, and that’s on purpose. We’ll note that the dual 10.25-inch screens are optional (smaller ones are standard).

Pricing is one of the details Kia did not release today, however, all new Niro models are scheduled to hit dealers in summer this year. We expect pricing will arrive closer to the on-sale date.

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