The Kia Niro is probably not the first vehicle that comes to mind when speaking of performance-oriented models. It’s not even among the sportiest in the crossover segment but that doesn’t mean it can’t do the moose test and exceed all expectations. This is exactly what happens in the latest moose test, the video of which can be seen attached at the top of this page. 

Let’s start with the dry numbers. This particular Kia Niro is from the hybrid version (not full EV and not PHEV), which has a 1.6-liter engine under the hood mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It’s not exactly powerful with its 139 horsepower (104 kilowatts) at 5,700 rpm and a peak torque of 195 pound-feet (265 Newton-meters) at 4,400 rpm. But, as we all know, power is not the most important factor in the moose test.

Gallery: 2023 Kia Niro Hybrid: First Drive

Whether it's the suspension tuning, the electronic stability system, or the tires – we don’t know, but the Kia Niro registers a speed of 50 miles per hour (81 kilometers per hour) in the test conducted by We believe the combination of all three factors above makes this superb result possible, turning the South Korean crossover into one of the best-performing vehicles in the test.

This conclusion isn’t only based on the numbers, though. The test driver says the vehicle has very predictable reactions and at no point feels uncontrollable around the cones. In fact, the Niro is able to change its direction at the final section of the test course, unlike any other car. This is quite surprising to hear as we’ve never thought about the Niro as a driver’s car.

The second-generation Kia Niro has been on sale in the United States since the summer of this year with the Niro Hybrid wearing a starting price tag of 27,785 with destination charge included. The plug-in hybrid version kicks off at $35,035, while the fully electric version starts from $40,745.

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