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Kia Niro PHEV 2023: Test of the Week

2023-08-11

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The new generation Kia Niro is a vehicle that I was particularly eager to try, as it is one of the few models available in hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and 100% electric versions. Thus, you're not limited to choosing the Niro based solely on its mechanics, as there's something for everyone. As you may have read in the title, I was able to test the PHEV version, or plug-in hybrid if you prefer. Let me tell you that I wasn't disappointed. In my opinion, it's the best of both worlds, allowing you to drive electrically for daily commutes without worrying about recharging on long journeys.

The Niro has been around for a few years, but the small SUV from the Korean manufacturer underwent a complete redesign in 2023, and that's one of the reasons why I was so eager to get behind the wheel. Needless to say, Kia has done an excellent job on all fronts, but that's no surprise. The Korean manufacturer has built a solid reputation for design, quality, and technology, which the new generation Niro showcases perfectly.

Driving Experience

The 2023 Kia Niro PHEV is powered by a combination of a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor, resulting in a total output of 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The accelerations aren't lightning-fast, but it's far from being a slow vehicle. In fact, the electric motor alone produces 83 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. Even though these figures might not sound very impressive, I assure you that they don't accurately represent the reality. However, I have some other figures for you that are indeed real, and those are related to average fuel consumption and range. I managed to achieve an average consumption of less than 5.0L/100 km in hybrid mode, which is excellent. However, it's important to understand that this can vary from person to person. As for the range in 100% electric mode, Kia claims an average of 55 kilometers, which is quite accurate. Also, don't be surprised if you get slightly better range in the summer.

Highway - Few small vehicles offer as effective sound insulation as the Kia Niro, and that's one of the many reasons why I enjoyed driving this model on the highway. It's a very comfortable vehicle with excellent visibility. The driving position is very pleasant, and there's plenty of legroom. It's the kind of vehicle you can drive for many hours without getting tired or uncomfortable.

City - As I mentioned earlier, the Kia Niro is compact and offers good visibility, which are great advantages for city driving. The fact that the Niro is equipped with an electric motor regardless of its version is an advantage, as it makes accelerations more direct. Its sound insulation is also beneficial in the city, as it helps eliminate a large portion of the surrounding noise.

Countryside - The Kia Niro PHEV handles well on country roads. It might not offer a thrilling driving experience, but it's not an unpleasant one either. In any case, it's a pleasant vehicle to drive, offering a sense of tranquility that you won't find just anywhere, especially in this size and price range.

Price and Equipment

Not surprisingly, the regular hybrid version turns out to be the most affordable of the bunch, starting at $32,559. Next, we move on to the PHEV model, which has a starting price of $40,559. Finally, you'll need to spend $47,859 for the 100% electric version. Of course, there are subsidies that can apply at all levels, which can significantly reduce the price, especially for the 100% electric version.

Design and Interior

To be honest with you, I'm not a big fan of the trend that automakers have of wanting to make electrified vehicles look different from others. That's somewhat evident in the rear part of the Kia Niro, but it remains quite subtle on most versions. Overall, the small SUV from the Korean manufacturer offers a fairly elegant and modern design. It features attractive color and wheel combinations.

The interior of the 2023 Niro is very modern and surprisingly spacious despite its size. The quality of finishing is definitely above average, and it's a vehicle that doesn't lack anything in terms of equipment. I must say I really like the fact that a rotary dial is used to engage the forward gear and all that jazz. It saves space and makes the center console more functional.

Technologies

The 2023 Kia Niro is not lacking in technology, and that applies to both safety and entertainment aspects. In fact, you're immediately greeted by a large dashboard that integrates the digital instrument cluster. The latter has a nice design. In the center, you'll find the multimedia system displayed on a 10.25-inch interface. As for safety technologies, I found the adaptive cruise control particularly effective and well calibrated.

Recommendations

I strongly recommend the Kia Niro, and the PHEV version is by far the most interesting of all, especially if you want to delve into the world of electric vehicles. It's a vehicle that offers you a lot for its price, and the driving experience is simply superb.

Jean-Sťbastien Poudrier

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