Back a few months ago, I had the pleasure of driving and reviewing the new Niro, the standard Hybrid variant. However, what’s caught my attention now is the all-new Plug-in Hybrid variant of the Niro. If you missed my last review, let me remind you that I was quite impressed with the Niro’s features and performance. Now, it’s time to delve into the realm of the plug-in hybrid and see how it fares.
Unveiling the Trims: From Hybrid to Plug-in Hybrid
The Niro lineup presents three compelling options: the Niro Hybrid, the Niro Plug-in Hybrid, and the Niro EV. While the base hybrid offers a variety of trims, the Plug-in Hybrid boasts two distinct choices: the EX and the SX Touring – the latter being the model we’re focusing on today.
Sleek Exterior Design: A Fresh Look for 2023
The 2023 Niro introduces a fresh and captivating design, reminiscent of the previous model, but with distinct refinements. One of the first things you’ll notice is the captivating Mineral Blue exterior, complemented by the stylish black C-Pillar trim. The Tiger Face design, now extending from the hood to the fender, adds an aggressive touch. This aesthetic is further enhanced by the LED projector headlights, LED fog lights, and sleek LED rear combination lamps integrated into the C-pillar, reminiscent of a boomerang shape.
The Niro’s dimensions make it an ideal urban companion:
- Length: 174 inches
- Wheelbase: 107.1 inches
- Width: 71.9 inches
- Height: 60.8 inches
- Ground Clearance: 6.3 inches
Additional exterior features such as power folding side mirrors, roof rails, and 18-inch alloy wheels contribute to both style and functionality.
Trunk Space: Balancing Convenience and Efficiency
In terms of cargo space, the Niro Plug-in Hybrid impresses. The power lift gate makes accessing the rear cargo area a breeze. In hybrid mode, you’ll find a cargo volume of 22.8 / 63.7 cubic feet. Meanwhile, the PHEV mode offers a slightly reduced, yet still commendable, cargo volume of 19.4 / 54.6 cubic feet.
Under the Hood: Empowering Performance and Efficiency
The heart of the 2023 Niro Plug-in Hybrid is a potent 1.6-liter plug-in hybrid engine, delivering an impressive 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. What sets the PHEV apart is its versatile powertrain, allowing seamless transitions between the gas engine and an all-electric motor. A robust 11.1 kWh battery offers the convenience of longer trips without frequent charging. With an all-electric range of 33 miles, the Niro PHEV offers an attractive option for urban commuting. The cherry on top is the combined 510 miles of total driving range, making it an adaptable choice for various driving scenarios.
The Niro’s prowess extends beyond mileage:
- 108 MPGe combined ensures efficient fuel utilization
- Low center of gravity promises excellent handling and an enjoyable driving experience
Stepping Inside: An Embrace of Comfort and Technology
As you enter the Niro PHEV SX Touring, you’ll be greeted by a tasteful charcoal interior adorned with a combination of cloth and SynTex seating material, striking the right balance between comfort and sustainability.
Technological Marvels: Elevating the Driving Experience
The Niro PHEV is no slouch in the technology department:
- A spacious 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation provides an intuitive interface
- Compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto ensures seamless smartphone integration
- The Harman/Kardon Premium audio system offers an immersive sound experience
- A wireless phone charger streamlines your connectivity needs
Behind the Wheel: Performance and Efficiency in Harmony
With a remarkable 48 mpg in hybrid mode and an impressive 108 MPGe, the Niro Plug-in Hybrid sets new standards for fuel efficiency. Its all-electric driving range of 33 miles adds an enticing layer of versatility, allowing for eco-friendly urban driving without compromise.
Price and Value: Making Informed Decisions
As for pricing, the base Hybrid Niro starts at an attractive $26,000. Meanwhile, the EX Plug-in Hybrid enters the market at $33,840, and our featured model, the SX Touring, commences at $39,590. Our tested configuration comes with a full MSRP of slightly over $41,000, reflecting the premium features and technology it offers.
The Verdict: Making the Choice
When comparing the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid variants, the primary trade-off is a slight reduction in cargo space for the latter. However, the advantages of the Plug-in Hybrid, including enhanced fuel economy and the ability to drive up to 33 miles in all-electric mode, make it a compelling choice. If budget is a concern, the $26,000 Hybrid model still offers excellent value.
In conclusion, the 2023 Kia Niro PHEV SX Touring serves as a testament to Kia’s commitment to innovation, efficiency, and modern driving comforts. With its sleek design, advanced technology, and impressive performance, this plug-in hybrid model presents a promising glimpse into the future of eco-friendly motoring.