NEXT STAGE: Redesign in 2022
Kia’s Niro epitomizes the brand’s eco-friendly strategy by offering a trio of electrified powertrain options — full-electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid. The subcompact crossover, which shares a platform with the Hyundai Kona but has a lower, more wagonlike body, is redesigned for 2023 and goes on sale in the fall with larger dimensions, including a 107.1-inch wheelbase that pushes overall length to 174 inches. The cargo area behind the rear seats also has been enlarged.
The Niro EV’s range increases by 14 miles to 253 miles. Charging from 10 to 80 percent of capacity on a Level 3 charger will drop below 45 minutes, compared with previous charge times of more than an hour. Like the EV6, the Niro EV features vehicle-to-load capability.
The plug-in hybrid variant gets a 7-mile boost in all-electric range to 33 miles, using a larger 11.1 kilowatt-hour battery (up from 8.9 kWh). The electric motor — paired with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine — is now 62 kilowatts vs. 59 kW, and combined system output increases from 139 hp to 180 hp.
The hybrid Niro uses the same engine as the plug-in paired with a 32-kW electric motor. Fuel economy improves slightly, returning 53 mpg in combined driving.
NEXT STAGE: Freshen in 2024
A freshening is expected late in 2024, likely for the 2025 model year. But this could be the last generation of the Niro, as Kia rolls out its portfolio of dedicated EVs. One of the forthcoming electric subcompact offerings could replace the Niro in 2026.
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