2023 Kia Niro

Kia’s has revealed the newly updated Niro BEV, “redesigned from the ground-up” in a bid to accelerate Kia’s global electrified vehicle sales to two million units by 2030.

Five years after its predecessor’s debut, the new Niro will be available with “a trio of eco-friendly powertrains.” Unlike the outgoing model, the second-generation Niro crossover will also be the first EV on Kia’s books to be built atop the mid-sized, third generation ‘K’ platform, a more flexible alternative that provides multiple battery mounting points. It’s expected the architecture will sit at the heart of many of the 14 battery-electric vehicles the Korean brand is set to unveil up to and including 2027.

2023 Kia Niro

2023 Kia Niro

First customer deliveries in Europe are expected to begin in August, with Kia stating this “crucial model,” while continuing to promote its Korean heritage, will simultaneously “broadening the brand’s appeal to new environmentally-conscious buyers.”

“Kia has redesigned Niro to provide people with a clearer path to clean mobility,” President of Kia Europe Jason Jeong explains. “The range of eco-friendly powertrains will encourage even the most hesitant customers to make the switch to more sustainable forms of movement.”

In its hybrid electric (HEV) or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) guise, the Niro mates a second-generation, 141 hp 1.6-litre GDI four-cylinder with an electric motor that produces 32 kW in the HEV and 62 kW in the PHEV, a combination that, in the latter, produces 183 hp in total. The PHEV’s purely-electric range has also been confirmed at up to 65 km, a distance aided by the first use of Kia’s 5.5kWh high-volt ‘Positive Temperature Coefficient’ that helps warm the cabin using excess heat generated from the drivetrain’s electric componentry without affecting the overall range.

The Niro BEV meanwhile combines a 64.8kWh lithium-ion battery with a single electric motor to produce 150 kW – around 201 hp, in-keeping with its predecessor – and 255 Nm (188 lb ft) of torque, enough to generate a top speed of 167 km/h. The immediacy of the electric powertrain means the EV crossover sprints from 0-100 km/h in 7.8 seconds, almost three seconds quicker than either of its hybrid counterparts.

Impressively, the BEV’s range is up to 463 km – up on the first generation’s 384 km – aided by the redesign’s newly reduced 0.29 low drag co-efficient. The lithium-ion battery takes 43 minutes to charge from 10 to 80 per cent “with a suitable DC rapid charger.”

Design tweaks at front are restricted to a subtly tweaked ‘Tiger Face’, closed front grille, and a central socket for the CSS port – both reflect the ‘Joy for Reason’ design ethos – though the sides have been given a more thorough overhaul. The flanks on the EV now feature new ‘character-lines’ that improve the airflow, and a new two-tone, C-shaped ‘blade’ – akin to an Audi R8 – that envelops the C-pillar. While the BEV is equipped with “model-specific” 17-inch wheels, 16 and 18-inch examples are available for the HEV and PHEV.

Measuring 4,420 mm (14.5 ft) in length, 1,825 mm (5.9 ft) wide), and standing 1,570 mm (just over 5 ft) tall, the newly elongated Niro now boasts a larger 2,720 mm wheelbase, meaning there’s slightly more cabin space to work with. The off-centre dash is dominated by two seamless 10.25-inch display screens, and the slimmer design front seats means there’s more room for rear passengers. In an EV tradition, recycled materials have been used to create the headlining, the cargo screen, the vegan leather seats, and the VOC free paint.

There’s also more trunk space, of which, unsurprisingly, the BEV offers the most of all three models at 475 litres. The front trunk on top of this provides an additional 20 litres of storage space.

No firm word has been made on pricing, nor indeed any news regarding a North American release date, though a starting price from upwards of $45,000 is speculated.

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