2023 Kia Niro PHEV and EV specs outed by Kia Sweden

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Last month, Kia shared some of the enhanced specs that will arrive with the second-generation 2023 Niro Hybrid (pictured), but not the Niro PHEV or Niro EV. The automaker and its Niro have been hanging out at or near the top of the sales charts in Sweden since last summer, so it makes sense that Kia Sweden is the first (translated) to drop intel on what's coming for the additional two powertrains. Starting with the PHEV, its 1.6-liter four-cylinder benefits from a larger 11.1-kWh battery and a more powerful electric motor with 80 horsepower. Going off Kia Sweden's spec sheet for the Niro PHEV, those figures represent increases of 2.1-kWh and 23 hp. The sensible claim is that all-electric driving range goes up by 11 kilometers on the WLTP cycle, to 60 km (37 miles).

The claim we can't figure out is when Kia Sweden says the more powerful motor raises system output to 183 horsepower. Back to the spec sheet, the current Swedish Niro PHEV makes the same 139 combined horsepower as ours from the 104-hp ICE and 60-hp e-motor. Kia Sweden didn't mention an output increase for the four-cylinder ICE; output for our 2023 Niro Hybrid's engine didn't change. Without that, we aren't clear how 23 more electric ponies adds up to 44 more system ponies in Scandinavia. It's almost like someone simply added the ICE output to the e-motor output.

There's one point of confusion with the Niro EV specs we're given as well. The Swedes say their e-Niro still uses the same 201-hp electric motor as the current model, but cite a torque figure of 255 Nm, when their own brochure for the current model lists torque at 395 Nm, or 291 pound-feet — so we'll stick with the grander figure. However, a slightly larger battery is credited with having 64.8 kWh instead of 64 kWh, bumping the estimated WLTP electric driving range from 455 kilometers to 463 kilometers, or about five miles.

What's the takeaway here? That incremental improvements are coming for the 2023 Niro PHEV and EV, and we'll need an official announcement to know what's being prepped for our market. The PHEV uses the same engine and transmission as the hybrid and we know that engine and six-speed dual-clutch transmission are improved, the gearbox said to be lighter and more efficient. Kia claims a 4% fuel economy improvement on the South Korean cycle for the hybrid, so we could see additional gains on the PHEV spec sheet beyond pure power numbers.

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