8.5 / 10

Design | Comfort | Tech | Performance | Safety | Fuel Economy | Pricing | FAQs

Although the stylish Kia EV6 tends to grab headlines (especially its hotted-up GT variant), the automaker offers another all-electric crossover. The 2023 Kia Niro EV, now in its second generation, benefits from bold new styling inside and out, and while the electric powertrain is all but carried over from the previous generation, it’s still pretty competitive with today’s crop of entry-level EVs.

The redesigned Niro EV suffers from an above-average cost of entry and is limited to front-wheel drive, but it boasts a long list of standard features, decent charging time relative to its class, and a range that even rivals the EV6 with which it shares a showroom. Adding to its appeal is a torquey front-axle motor that adds spunk to the otherwise-familiar Niro driving experience – a surefire way to convert potential EV shoppers from hydrocarbons to electrons.

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Quick Stats 2023 Kia Niro EV
Motor: Single Permanent-Magnet Synchronous
Output: 201 Horsepower / 188 Pound-Feet
Drive Type: Front-Wheel Drive
Range: 253 Miles
As-Tested Price: $47,790

Gallery: 2023 Kia Niro EV Review


  • Exterior Color: Snow White Pearl
  • Interior Color: Light Gray
  • Wheel Size: 17 Inches

Whether or not you dig the Niro EV’s new design will depend heavily on what you think of the “aero blades” on the C-pillars. The Kia’s most polarizing design feature is reminiscent of a first-generation Audi R8, looking every bit as eye-catching here as there. The aero blades also serve a function, with air entering under the leading edge and flowing out the back to improve straight-line stability and overall wind resistance. But they also just look plain cool to my eyes, especially when combined with the headlights’ kinky new DRL signature and vertical taillights. If you don’t care for the contrast, the blades can be ordered in body color.

The Niro EV is as beveled and edgy inside as it is outside. The front door panel armrests plunge down from the angular dashboard, and materials are better than expected given the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf competitive set. Kia even gave the Niro EV some flash via some luminous ambient light that shines through the dash fascia. The only serious flaw inside is an overabundance of shiny black plastic that’s impossible to keep clean and fingerprint-free.


  • Seating Capacity: 5
  • Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
  • Cargo Capacity: 22.8 / 63.7 Cubic Feet

Like the Hyundai Kona Electric, the Kia Niro’s hushed cabin and impressive ride comfort make it a great place to while away a commute. All Niro EVs come standard with heated front seats, and my tester’s Preserve package included a heat pump and heated rear seats to help improve efficiency in chilly weather. As on most cars in the class, the front seats are a bit short on thigh support, but there’s a good amount of room front and rear. The wider cabin also feels less claustrophobic than the tall-and-skinny Chevy Bolt family.

The Niro’s cargo space with the seats down is also impressive, with a nearly flat-folding seat that opens up room for long, boxy cargo – the Bolt and Bolt EUV ramp up a bit in the middle. The cargo floor can also be repositioned lower for maximum space.

Interior Dimensions Headroom, Front/Rear: Legroom, Front/Rear: Cargo Volume:
Kia Niro EV 40.5 / 38.1 Inches 41.5 / 36.9 Inches 22.8 / 63.7 Cubic Feet
Chevrolet Bolt EV 40.1 / 37.9 Inches 44.3 / 36.0 Inches 16.6 / 57.0 Cubic Feet
Chevrolet Bolt EUV 39.1 / 37.8 Inches 44.3 / 39.2 Inches 16.3 / 56.9 Cubic Feet
Hyundai Kona EV 38.0 / 37.7 Inches 41.5 / 33.4 Inches 19.2 / 45.8 Cubic Feet
Nissan Leaf 41.2 / 37.3 Inches 42.1 / 33.5 Inches 23.6 / 30.0 Cubic Feet

Technology & Connectivity

  • Center Display: 10.3-Inch Touchscreen
  • Instrument Cluster Display: 10.3 Inches
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto: No/No

Both the base Wind trim and my top-spec Wave tester come standard with a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster and matching infotainment touchscreen, but going for higher of the Niro’s two trims adds a useful V2L power generator with a 120-volt outlet in the rear seat and an adapter for the charge port, plus remote Smart Park assistance and a head-up display. The whole suite works pretty nicely, with two exceptions. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t available, for one – a perplexing omission given the amount of fancy tech on offer otherwise.

And secondly, the radio and climate controls both use the same set of hard buttons, with another button switching the functionality. The problem is, it’s not easy to discern which function is active without taking your eyes off the road, so you can’t just reflexively turn down the volume when Nickelback comes on, lest the auto climate start blasting you with freezing air.

Performance & Handling

  • Motor: Single Permanent-Magnet Synchronous
  • Output: 201 Horsepower / 188 Pound-Feet
  • Battery: 64.0-Kilowatt-Hour Lithium-Ion

The Kia Niro EV shares its 64.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery with the Hyundai Kona Electric, and its single front electric motor makes an identical 201 horsepower. But curiously, the Kia is limited to 188 pound-feet of torque, down a healthy 102 over the Hyundai. There’s no denying the Niro feels a bit less fleet on its feet than the Kona, but it still offers great off-the-line response and reasonable freeway passing power.

No one is going to write love poetry about the way the Niro EV handles, but neither does it embarrass itself on a curvy road. What EV apologists and newcomers alike will appreciate is the adjustable regenerative braking system, which has four settings ranging from freewheel coasting to total one-pedal driving.


  • Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-On)
  • NHTSA Rating: Not Rated
  • IIHS Rating: Not Rated

The Niro EV gets a long list of standard safety features, including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane centering technology, blind spot monitoring, and rear parking sensors. Go for the Wave model and you’ll also get rear automatic emergency braking, active blind spot and left-turn collision prevention, and enhanced Highway Driving Assist 2. That last feature improves on the base model’s regular HDA by compensating for the behavior of surrounding traffic to place the Niro in its lane, rather than merely looking at road markings. Everything works together so well that you really shouldn’t want to disable the features.

Fuel Economy

  • Efficiency: 126 City / 101 Highway / 113 Combined MPGe
  • EV Range: 253 Miles
  • Peak DC Charge Rate: 85 Kilowatts

With an EV range of 253 miles, the Kia Niro comes up short – albeit slightly – on the Chevrolet Bolt and Hyundai Kona Electric. However, its 85-kilowatt DC charge rate improves on its platform-mate slightly, while absolutely creaming the rest of the competitive set.

Plugged into a typical at-home Level 2 charger, the Niro EV will go from 0 to 100 percent in six hours and five minutes. Using a DC fast charger, the Kia hits 80 percent in 45 minutes.

Efficiency: EV Range: City/Highway/Combined, MPGe: Peak DC Charger Rate:
Kia Niro EV 253 Miles 126 / 101 / 113 MPGe 85 Kilowatts
Chevrolet Bolt EV 260 Miles 131 / 109 / 120 MPGe 55 Kilowatts
Chevrolet Bolt EUV 247 Miles 125 / 104 / 115 MPGe 55 Kilowatts
Hyundai Kona EV 258 Miles 123 / 99 / 111 MPGe 77 Kilowatts
Nissan Leaf 212 Miles 134 / 106 / 120 MPGe 46 Kilowatts


  • Base Price: $39,550 + $1,295 Destination
  • Trim Base Price: $45,745
  • As-Tested Price: $47,790

With a starting price of more than $40,000 with destination included, it might be hard to justify the Niro EV, especially when the mechanically similar – though less stylish – Kona Electric can be had for about 5 grand less. And all the technology and functionality of the Wave trim doesn’t come cheap, starting at $45,745. The comfort- and efficiency-improving Preserve pack is $1,300, with $395 going to the Snow White Pearl paint and another $195 to the metallic gray aero blades. Add in a set of floor mats and you’ve got a heady total of $47,790.

While that’s still less than the single-motor EV6, it’s a whole lot more than even a loaded Kona Electric or a Super Cruise–equipped Bolt EUV. Folks concerned primarily with price might find it hard to stomach the Kia, but a long list of amenities, decent public charging speeds, and a respectable overall range help soften the blow.

Niro EV Competitor Reviews


Is The 2023 Kia Niro All-Wheel Drive?

No. Every member of the Niro family, including the hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and EV, is front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available on the Kia EV6.

How Much Space Does The Kia Niro EV Have?

The Kia Niro EV has 22.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up and 63.7 with them folded. It also has 99.7 cubic feet of passenger volume, more than the Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV.

How Many Trims Does The Kia Niro EV Have?

Two. The base Kia Niro EV Wind gets a long list of standard features, including hard-wearing cloth and synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, and a pair of 10.3-inch screens handling infotainment and instrumentation. The flagship Kia Niro EV Wave adds Highway Driving Assist 2 active technology, V2L charging functionality, and a head-up display. Both offer a $1,300 Preserve pack, which includes heated rear seats and an efficiency-enhancing heat pump.

2023 Kia Niro EV Wave

Motor Single Permanent-Magnet Synchronous
Output 201 Horsepower / 188 Pound-Feet
Transmission Single-Speed Automatic
Drive Type Front-Wheel Drive
Battery 64.8-Kilowatt-Hour Lithium Ion
Speed 0-60 MPH 7.2 Seconds (est.)
Efficiency 126 City / 101 Highway / 113 Combined MPGe
EV Range 253 Miles
Charge Type 240 Volt @ 11.1 Kilowatts / DC 85 Kilowatts
Charge Time 6.1 Hours (0-100 Percent) / 45 Minutes (10-80 Percent)
Weight 3,803 Pounds
Seating Capacity 5
Cargo Volume 22.8 / 63.7 Cubic Feet
Base Price $39,550 + $1,295 Destination
Trim Base Price $45,745
As-Tested Price $47,790
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