According to Car and Driver, there is a small list of new or updated information that was previously unconfirmed for the North American market (presumably due to all previous information being for the European market). Here’s an account of the additional information since last week and from previous reporting on the forthcoming versions of the Niro, and note none of the versions will get AWD for 2023, unfortunately.
First, for the HEV version, Kia shared that its fuel economy is expected to improve by 3 mpg, to a total of 53 mpg combined, compared to 50 mpg for the 2022 model. This should result in a total driving range of 588 miles, according to Kia. This improvement is due to better aerodynamics (a drag coefficient of 0.29) along with additional improvements to the engine (“better cooling, friction and combustion technologies”) and transmission (made lighter and more efficient) as reported by Autoblog.com.
The HEV and PHEV versions also get: a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, optional 18 inch wheels, black door cladding and wheel arches (while the EV version gets Steel Gray or black exterior trim depending on body color), the “Green Zone Drive Mode” which automatically switches these models’ drive mode into EV mode when in residential areas, near schools or hospitals based on navigation information and driving history.
The changes unique to the PHEV version include a larger 11.1 kWh battery, good for an estimated 33 miles of range which is 7 more miles than last year’s model (though the 16 inch wheel option is required for that), and an increase in combined horsepower to 180 (from 139). Note that it has the same amount of torque at 195 lb-ft. The increase in battery size might make a corresponding price increase more likely for the vehicle, but we’ll have to wait and see on that as pricing hasn’t been released, though CNET suggests any price increases may be “slight”. A final note on price: with the larger battery size for the PHEV the federal tax rebate will also increase, which may offset in full or in part any increase in the retail price.
Finally, the EV version of the Niro, gets an increase in range to 253 miles on a full charge, up from 239 miles on the 2022 model. This is welcome news and this range increase doesn’t come from an increase in the size of the battery (at least no increase of consequence), but rather through better aerodynamic efficiency, and possibly other factors like weight reduction or lowered friction. The EV model also seems to have gotten a small bump in its fastest (level 3) charging speed as well, now at 85 kW according to Kia which is up from 77 kW, as well as a small front trunk, or frunk, according to InsideEVs. Kia also revealed that the Niro EV has an optional heat pump and battery warmer to help preserve range in colder temperatures, as well as a suite of new safety features. For the first time on the Niro EV, Highway Driving Assist II is available which provides Lane Change Assist functionality, Forward Collision Avoidance with Lane Change, and Smart Cruise Control with Machine Learning.
There are several other new features for all models, including new driver-assistance features such as lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. What are you most interested in? Please leave your comments below.
Images provided by Kia.
Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.