The 2023 Kia Niro’s design is considerably sharper than before, but there’s one feature in particular that stood out to us at the New York Auto Show this week: The Aero Blade.
JOEL STOCKSDALE: This is the new redesigned Kia Niro. We've seen it displayed for Europe and other countries before, but this is the first time we've had a chance to see it in the US. This is the all-electric model. Like the previous Niro, it will be available in three different versions. There's this electric version, which has a charging door up front, and a slightly larger faux grille here. And then there are hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.
This is the hybrid version, and it has a slightly more slim front grille. And, obviously, no charging door, because this one does not plug-in. And the plug-in hybrid version shares the same front fascia as the regular hybrid, but it features a charging door on the fender.
Now the front fascia, of course, is very different from the original one. It's much more aggressive. It's got much more distinct headlights. And it's a little bit taller, too. But that's not where the styling changes end. As you move around the vehicle, you'll find contrasting cladding around the wheel arches and down the side, as well as a very distinct contrast color rear pillar.
Now this can be had, in fact, in a, the same color as the body. But we think the side blade stands out, and it also highlights one of the interesting aerodynamic aspects of the car as there's actually a channel behind that pillar that channels air through to make it more aerodynamic. And, of course, you have the sweeping boomerang taillights around the back.
And all of this is based on a concept from a few years back, called the HabaNiro. The car is also slightly larger, the wheelbase has been extended just a bit. And the overall vehicle is a couple inches longer in total. This also expands cargo space slightly.
The electric model has the same 201-horsepower motor as before, but it has a slightly larger battery. And that brings range from a little over 230 miles to a little over 250 miles. The plug-in hybrid also gets additional battery capacity, and that brings its electric range from 26 miles up to just over 30 miles of range.
And even the conventional hybrid, the one that doesn't plug-in, sees fuel economy improvements. It improves from 50 miles per gallon, combined, to an estimated 53 miles per gallon, combined. All of this makes all of the Niros greener vehicles.
The Kia Niro's interior has been completely redesigned as well, and now it features dual instrument screens that fit into, kind of, one big panel to make it look like one large one. It also features the new Kia climate control system, where you can switch between the climate modes and the fan settings, and switch that over to your infotainment buttons. Fortunately, this retains control knobs for your temperature and volume and such.
In the electric version, it loses the conventional shift knob in favor of the little dial, while the hybrid versions still have a shift knob. The steering wheel is a new two spoke unit, and the whole thing looks a little bit more akin to the all-electric EV6 that sits a little bit higher in the range.