Thanks to intriguing lighting elements and two-tone body panels, the redesigned 2023 Kia Niro EV is a lot more noticeable on the road than its predecessor. The all-electric subcompact SUV also has a snazzier interior that includes distinctive styling and digitized instruments. Kia touts the extensive use of recycled materials inside, too. The new Niro EV features a 201-hp electric motor feeding the front wheels. Although that’s a higher horsepower number than the Niro hybrid models (reviewed separately), the EV’s acceleration feels far milder. A 64.8-kWh battery offers up to 253 miles of range and Kia claims it can be charged from 10 to 80 percent in about 45 minutes when connected to a DC fast charger.
What’s New for 2023?
For 2023, Kia has introduced the second generation of its diverse Niro family, which again includes the Niro EV all-electric model. As with its hybrid and plug-in-hybrid counterparts, the Niro EV receives a new look inside and out.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We’d stick with the entry-level Wind trim, as upgrading to the Wave model doesn’t result in any increases in driving range or performance. Plus, the Wind comes standard with plenty of niceties, including a large 10.3-inch infotainment display with navigation, heated front seats, ambient interior lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, a host of driver-assistance features, and a wireless smartphone charging pad. Both models come with a 201-hp electric motor, front-wheel drive, and a 64.8-kWh battery pack.
EV Motor, Power, and Performance
A single electric motor feeding the front wheels will be the Niro EV’s lone powertrain. Kia says this setup generates 201 horsepower, which makes it more powerful than the 139-hp hybrid and 180-hp plug-in-hybrid models. Despite the extra power, the Niro EV feels more tepid than we expected and needed 6.7 seconds to reach 60 mph. Floor the accelerator in Eco mode and the Niro EV veritably crawls, which is probably good for saving range but is far from satisfying. The Normal and Sport driving modes make the Niro EV feel more alive and in our testing, the Niro EV edged out the Chevy Bolt EUV slightly at the quarter-mile drag strip. Luckily, the Niro EV’s steering feels natural, but the cornering grip is measurably lower than some rivals.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
The Niro EV has an estimated range of 253 miles per charge, which is 14 miles more than its predecessor’s 239-mile range. The 2023 Niro EV uses a 64.8-kWh battery pack that when connected to a DC fast charger is said to be able to charge from 10 to 80 percent in about 45 minutes. During our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, the Niro delivered 210 miles of driving before needing to be recharged.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPGe
The EPA has rated the new Niro EV for 126 MPGe city and 101 MPGe highway, which is similar to the numbers that the Bolt EUV earned but much better than the most efficient Volkswagen ID.4 model. For more information about the Niro EV’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the 2023 Niro EV looks completely different than its predecessor. Kia’s designers have incorporated angled surfaces into the door panels and the top of the dashboard. The digital instrument panel and infotainment display highlight the cabin’s technical vibe. The steering wheel has a distinctive two-spoke design, and the center console hosts a rotary shifter along with other miscellaneous controls. Kia says the interior contains recycled materials, and elements from eucalyptus leaves were used to make the seats. Small-item storage appears to be plentiful, with what looks to be large door pockets and useful cubbies in the center console.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
A 10.3-inch touchscreen acts as the central hub of the Niro EV’s infotainment system. While wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, wireless charging and a Harman/Kardon stereo are extra-cost options. With the new Digital Key 2.0, Kia says users can remotely access vehicle functions via their smartphone. Likewise, some functions can be controlled using voice-command services like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Niro EV includes a host of standard driver-assistance technology as well as some optional equipment. For more information about the Niro EV’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Standard adaptive cruise control with a lane-centering feature
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
While Kia’s warranty coverage doesn’t come with complimentary scheduled maintenance like its corporate counterpart, Hyundai, it does offer one of the best limited and powertrain plans in the industry.
- Limited warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2023 Kia Niro EV
Vehicle Type: front-motor, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE (C/D EST)
Base/As Tested: $33,000/$40,000
Motor: permanent-magnet synchronous AC
Power: 201 hp @ 9000 rpm
Torque: 188 lb-ft @ 0 rpm
Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 64.8 kWh
Onboard Charger: 11.0 kW
Peak DC Fast-Charge Rate: 85 kW
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: vented disc/disc
Tires: Nexen N Priz S EV
215/55R-17 94V M+S AK1
Wheelbase: 107.0 in
Length: 174.0 in
Width: 71.8 in
Height: 61.8 in
Passenger Volume: 100 ft3
Cargo Volume: 23 ft3
Curb Weight: 3715 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 6.7 sec
1/4-Mile: 15.2 sec @ 94 mph
100 mph: 17.6 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.6 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.4 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.6 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 106 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 182 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.84 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
75-mph Highway Range: 210 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 113/126/101 MPGe
Range: 253 mi
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED