The 2023 Kia Niro EV and hybrid models have been added to the brand’s Australian range, providing a more accessible alternative to the pricier EV6. Niro hybrid pricing starts at $44,380 for the entry-level S model, while the GT-Line is priced at $50,030. The fully electric model, on the other hand, is a bit more expensive, with Kia asking for between $65,300 and $72,100.
The hybrid Niro comes with a Smartstream 1.6-litre GDI four-cylinder engine, which develops 103bhp/144Nm while a 32kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor bumps up the power output to 138bhp/265Nm. A second-generation 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox does duty here.
The fully electric version meanwhile has a 64.8kWh battery pack with a range of 460km per charge. This is the fastest iteration of the Niro with a power output of 201bhp/255Nm. With a suitable DC fast charger, you can juice up the battery from 10-80 per cent in 43 minutes.
In terms of looks, while the 2023 Niro might not be as boldly styled as the EV6, it’s still vastly better looking than its predecessor, adopting a lot of the sharp styling theme seen on the new Sportage. The swoopy exterior takes inspiration from the 2019 ‘HabaNiro’ concept with a streamlined shape despite its SUV canvas. The unique DRLs fit in well with the new interpretation of the Kia TIGER Nose grille, while boomerang-shaped LED taillights enable it to have a broader stance. The optional contrast C-Pillar is another interesting facet of the 2023 Niro and it remains to be seen whether owners would tick the box for this or not!
Dimension-wise the new generation Niro has grown with its wheelbase being stretched to 2720mm along with its overall length increasing to 4,420mm. Cargo capacity behind the rear seats has also increased to 425 litres. Kia claims that the new Niro has 8 more cubic feet of passenger cabin room and 50 per cent more cargo room than a Tesla Model 3.
The interior has hints of the EV6 while maintaining a more toned-down approach. We did spot the same steering wheel along with the use of recycled materials. The headlining, for example, is made from recycled PET materials, while the seats have been made from eucalyptus tree fibres.
The entry-level hybrid S comes with a smaller 4.2-inch LCD instrument cluster while the entry-level EV S model comes with a larger 10.25-inch driver display albeit with a smaller 8inch touchscreen. GT-Line models get the full dual 10.25-inch screens with touch-sensitive climate control/infotainment controls instead of physical buttons. At least they’re not buried underneath the main touchscreen!
An EV6-like electronic dial shift lever frees up more space in the centre console too. The 2023 Niro also debuts vehicle-to-load charging including interior V2L where you can charge devices. Fully loaded modes come with heaps of standard kit like a power tilt/sliding sunroof, an eight-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system, wireless charging, Kia connect telematics, a heads-up display, heated and cooled seats and more.
A suite of active/passive safety features are also on-board including Multi Collision Braking, Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist amongst others. Kia has also tuned the model to suit Australian roads including making changes to its ride/handling set-up and also tweaking the steering feel. Chief rivals to the Niro include the Polestar 2 and the Hyundai Kona electric to some extent.