2023 Kia Niro EV first drive review: Practical doesn’t have to bore you to tears

2023 Kia Niro EV first drive review: Practical doesn’t have to bore you to tears

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If you privation to spot conscionable however rapidly the electrical car scenery has changed implicit the past fewer years, instrumentality a look astatine the redesigned 2023 Kia Niro EV.

When the first-generation Niro EV launched for the 2019 exemplary twelvemonth (following hybrid and plug-in hybrid Niro variants), it was a beauteous large deal. The Niro was Kia’s archetypal EV not based connected a accepted gasoline model, and the archetypal intended for precocious income volumes.

The second-generation 2023 Niro EV boasts much tech, much space, and much extroverted styling than its predecessor, but it’s inactive precise overmuch successful the shadiness of the Kia EV6. Once Kia’s main EV attraction, the Niro is being refocused arsenic a much affordable enactment to instrumentality connected the likes of the Chevrolet Bolt EV/Bolt EUV, Volkswagen ID.4, and Nissan Leaf.

Kia plans to connection the Niro EV successful trim levels named Wind and Wave, but hasn’t released pricing for either. Note that the previous-generation 2022 Niro EV started astatine $41,245; the caller exemplary could spot a terms summation due to the fact that of its updates. And due to the fact that it’s assembled successful South Korea, the 2023 Niro EV won’t suffice for the revamped national EV taxation credit, Kia has confirmed.

Front 3  4th   presumption    of the 2023 Kia Niro EV.

Design and interior

Like the erstwhile generation, the Niro is portion of a three-pronged lineup that besides includes the Niro Hybrid and Niro PHEV (plug-in hybrid models). All 3 support the tall-wagon signifier of the first-generation Niro, but with overmuch bolder styling.

Where the erstwhile Niro was a wishy-washy premix of car and SUV styling elements, the 2023 Niro is the effect of the aforesaid fearless plan section that produced the EV6 and the 2023 Kia Sportage. The accepted automotive “face” was rearranged with a visor-like element, protruding grille, and hexagonal lighting elements. Contrasting trim panels interruption up the illustration view, and conceal “Air Blade” elements astir the taillights that, Kia claims, trim aerodynamic drag.

Kia utilized sustainable materials to further alteration the Niro EV’s biology impact.

Kia besides got originative with the interior design, opting for tons of curved surfaces that blend unneurotic to make a bully ocular travel betwixt the dashboard and doorway panels. The dashboard screens are besides good integrated, truthful it doesn’t look similar designers simply nailed immoderate iPads to the dash, arsenic successful immoderate different cars. Kia besides claims the interior is 100% vegan, and uses sustainable materials similar recycled wallpaper (in the headliner) and eucalyptus leaves (in the seats) to further alteration the Niro EV’s biology impact.

The redesigned Niro EV is 2.5 inches longer than the previous-generation model, and its wheelbase grew 0.8 inches to 107.1 inches total. That translates to a reasonably compact conveyance with generous interior abstraction for its size. The Kia has much headroom and legroom successful some rows than a Chevy Bolt EUV oregon Nissan Leaf, albeit little than the VW ID.4. Similarly, the Niro EV’s 22.8 cubic feet of cargo abstraction with the rear seats up and 63.7 cubic feet with the backmost seats folded bushed the Chevy and Nissan, but are down the VW.

Interior of the 2023 Kia Niro EV.

Tech, infotainment, and driver-assist

The modular infotainment strategy includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen and 10.25-inch integer instrumentality clump successful the aforesaid lodging to make the quality of 1 continuous screen. Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are besides modular (Kia doesn’t connection wireless versions with this touchscreen), on with wireless telephone charging. The complement of USB ports includes 1 USB-C and 2 USB-A ports for the beforehand seats, and a brace of seatback-mounted USB-A ports for rear-seat passengers.

The deficiency of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is inconvenient, but the beforehand USB ports and telephone tray are astatine slightest well-placed for plugging in. The infotainment strategy itself was besides casual to use, with a quick-responding touchscreen and sensible paper layouts.

Safety features see guardant collision informing (with pedestrian detection), automatic exigency braking, lane support assist, a operator attraction monitor, rear transverse postulation alert, harmless exit warning, and rear occupant alert modular equipment, arsenic good arsenic unsighted spot collision avoidance for pulling retired of parallel parking spaces.

The infotainment strategy was casual to use, with a responsive touchscreen and sensible layout.

Adaptive cruise power is modular arsenic well, with stop-and-go functionality and navigation-based curve prediction, which modular systems from the likes of Honda and Toyota don’t have. Kia’s Highway Driving Assist II system, which adds automated lane centering for road driving, is besides disposable and boasts a machine-learning relation that adapts the system’s responses to your driving style, Kia claims.

With its quality to power acceleration, braking, and steering portion inactive requiring drivers to support their hands connected the wheel, Highway Driving Assist II astir matches the capableness of the ProPilot Assist strategy disposable connected the Nissan Leaf and the VW ID.4’s disposable Travel Assist system. But the Chevy Bolt EUV tin beryllium equipped with Super Cruise, which allows for hands-free driving connected designated stretches of road (that strategy isn’t disposable connected the Bolt EV, however).

The Niro EV is besides disposable with the Digital Key strategy antecedently seen connected different Kia models and those of related brands Hyundai and Genesis. Digital Key lets drivers usage a smartphone oregon different instrumentality successful spot of the cardinal fob, although, successful the Niro EV, it lone works with iPhones, the Apple Watch, and Samsung Galaxy phones for now.

The 2023 Kia Niro EV's Air Blade vents.

Driving experience

The Niro EV has much powerfulness than different Niro variants. Its azygous electrical centrifugal sends 201 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque to the beforehand wheels, compared to 139 hp and 195 lb.-ft. of torque for the Niro Hybrid and 180 hp and 195 lb.-ft. for the Niro PHEV (those versions are front-wheel thrust arsenic well). A 64.8-kilowatt-hour artillery battalion provides the juice.

Kia says the Niro EV volition bash zero to 62 mph successful 7.8 seconds — quicker than the hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, but not precisely noteworthy. Unlike the EV6, the Niro EV doesn’t marque immoderate pretenses of sportiness. And it felt plentifulness speedy for an mean car successful real-world traffic, anyway.

The Niro EV doesn’t marque immoderate pretensions of sportiness.

The Niro EV’s chassis felt mean arsenic well. The Kia didn’t spell beyond its presumption successful thrust quality, and it wasn’t overmuch amusive connected twisty roads, but it didn’t person immoderate existent issues either. We deliberation it would marque a perfectly satisfying regular operator — but don’t expect thing much than that.

Like different electrical cars, the Niro EV uses regenerative braking to harvest vigor nether deceleration. Kia provides aggregate levels of regeneration, which tin beryllium adjusted with steering instrumentality paddles, on with an automatic mode called i-Pedal. This is expected to take the astir businesslike mounting and volition dial backmost regeneration astatine times erstwhile coasting is deemed better. While that sounds bully successful theory, this tin besides permission the operator guessing astir however overmuch regeneration they volition get, and whether oregon not they volition request to usage the brake pedal to dilatory the car.

The 2023 Kia Niro EV's instrumentality   cluster.

Range, charging, and safety

Official scope and ratio ratings for the Niro EV haven’t been released yet, but Kia is aiming for 253 miles. That would enactment the Niro successful the aforesaid ballpark arsenic the 259-mile Chevy Bolt EV and 247-mile Bolt EUV without outshining the Niro’s Kia EV6 sibling, which surpasses 300 miles successful immoderate configurations. An optional vigor pump and artillery warmer should assistance sphere scope successful acold temperatures.

The Niro EV tin DC accelerated charge, but lone astatine 85 kilowatts. That means it takes an estimated 45 minutes to spell from a 10% to an 80% charge, which isn’t large considering that galore EVs tin bash the aforesaid successful astir 20 minutes. The Niro EV charges astatine 11 kW from a Level 2 AC source, requiring 7 hours for a afloat recharge. That’s person to average, astatine least, and the Niro EV tin besides powerfulness your devices acknowledgment to built-in vehicle-to-load (V2L) capability, which draws powerfulness from the artillery pack.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) haven’t released crash-test ratings for the 2023 Niro EV oregon its hybrid and plug-in hybrid siblings.

Like different Kias, the Niro EV gets an awesome 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and five-year, 60,000-mile constricted warranty.

Rear 3  4th   presumption    of the 2023 Kia Niro EV.

How DT would configure this car

There isn’t excessively overmuch quality betwixt the Niro EV Wind and Wave trim levels, but the high-end Wave exemplary does person Remote Smart Parking Assist and the inverter that allows for V2L powerfulness output, arsenic good arsenic immoderate added convenience features similar a powerfulness beforehand passenger’s seat, ventilated beforehand seats (heated beforehand seats are modular connected some models), and a representation strategy for spot settings. Highway Driving Assist II is besides disposable connected the Wave model, but arsenic an extra-cost option. So if you privation the astir tech content, that’s the 1 to spell for.

While styling is subjective, we consciousness the Niro EV stands retired visually, and Kia’s effort to usage sustainable interior materials is noteworthy. The Niro EV besides offers a decent magnitude of interior abstraction for its size, and a respectable magnitude of range. That should marque for a bully companion to the EV6 successful Kia’s lineup, but not a world-beater.

The EV contention has grown since the Kia Niro EV archetypal appeared. The Chevy Bolt EUV is much amusive to thrust and is disposable with the much blase Super Cruise hands-free driver-assist system, portion the VW ID.4 offers up to 275 miles of scope successful definite configurations and is available with all-wheel drive. The Hyundai Kona Electric offers galore of the aforesaid tech features arsenic the Niro, with a 258-mile range, though it’s unclear however agelong it volition instrumentality around. While inactive beauteous acold out, the 2024 Chevy Equinox EV’s $30,000 basal terms and much accepted SUV packaging could undercut the Niro EV’s worth statement going forward.

So portion the Niro EV is an appealing electrical car, it’s not the lone one. That’s large for EV buyers, but possibly not for Kia.

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