All-New Daring Design. Kia has introduced a fully redesigned Niro for 2023. The last-gen Niro played it safe with its design, but that’s not the case with the 2023 model. The subcompact SUV arrives with a daring look that’s unlike anything else on the market. While the previous Niro blended in with the crowd, the new Niro does the exact opposite.

The 2023 Niro’s design isn’t for everyone, but Kia deserves credit for trying to do something different. The most polarizing feature on the new Niro is its boomerang-styled rear end. The polarizing styling element is at the back of the SUV and starts at the roofline and runs to the rear bumper. The SUV’s rear taillights follow the same curve as the body panel, resulting in a unique rear end.

The front end of the 2023 Niro isn’t as polarizing, though it’s still unusual. A razor-thin front grille sits above a massive front air intake. The SUV features chunky LED headlights with oddly shaped daytime running lights sitting within the unit. Kia lets the lights stand out on their own at the front without any major distinctive touches.

Three Efficient Powertrains. For shoppers looking to make the switch to an electrified vehicle, the 2023 Niro lineup gives shoppers plenty of options. The subcompact SUV is available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and an all-electric vehicle.

The hybrid and PHEV models come with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. Power is rated at 139 horsepower with the hybrid and 180 hp with the PHEV thanks to a larger electric motor. The PHEV comes with an 11.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack to be able to travel up to 33 miles, which is a large improvement over the previous generation.

The base hybrid is rated to get up to 53 mpg in the city, 54 mpg on the highway, and 53 mpg combined, which are outstanding figures and get close to matching the Toyota Prius. Official fuel economy figures for the Niro PHEV aren’t available yet, but the SUV is expected to get up to 108 MPGe combined, which is great for a PHEV.

Lastly, there’s the all-electric Niro EV. It comes with a 201-hp electric motor and a 64.8-kWh battery pack that delivers up to 253 miles of range. When plugged into a DC fast charger, the EV can go from 10% to 80% charged in roughly 45 minutes.

Performance from the base Niro is adequate, as it feels quick at low speeds and around town, but struggles to get up to highway speeds. The PHEV is slightly better thanks to its punchier electrified powertrain, but not great. The EV is the peppiest powertrain of the bunch, delivering punchy acceleration off the line.

Surprisingly Spacious Cabin. The subcompact Niro makes the most use of its size to deliver roomy accommodations for passengers. The amount of space on the inside is surprising, given the Niro’s placement between the Seltos and Sportage.

Compared to last year, the Niro offers 2.4 inches of rear legroom, which grows to 39.8 inches for 2023. Headroom is also impressive with 39.5 inches. These figures are great for a subcompact SUV and match some larger compact options.

Cargo capacity has also grown for 2023. The SUV now offers 3.4 more cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats to 22.8 cubic feet of space. With the rear seats folded, the Niro Hybrid offers up to 63.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which is 9.2 cubic feet more than last year. Because of the larger battery pack, cargo capacity in the PHEV goes down to 19.4 cubic feet of space with the rear seats in place and 54.6 cubic feet of total cargo space.

2023 Kia Niro Interior

Brimming With Features. The Niro isn’t short on features. Even the base trim comes with goodies like an eight-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, six audio speakers, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The subcompact SUV also comes with a healthy list of standard safety features that includes standouts like blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and traffic sign recognition.

Higher trim levels get a more expansive 10.25-inch touchscreen and more upscale features like a Harman Kardon audio system, Kia’s Digital Key 2.0 feature that allows owners to use their smartphone as a key, and a wireless charging pad.

While we’re fans of the 10.3-inch touchscreen and the way it’s integrated into the instrument cluster, the touchscreen for the HVAC system can be difficult to use. The dial shifter can also be hard for some people to get used to, especially with park being a button in the center of the dial.

Final Thoughts. For drivers looking for an efficient SUV with a lot of features, the previous Kia Niro got a lot right. With the fully redesigned 2023 Niro, Kia has made the electrified subcompact SUV even more well-rounded with a roomier cabin, more advanced features, more eco-friendly materials, and incredibly efficient powertrains. The only real strikes against the Niro are its polarizing design and lack of all-wheel drive.

The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is a more rugged SUV than the Niro. It comes with a plug-in hybrid powertrain with 148 hp and 17 miles of electric range. The Crosstrek Hybrid comes with standard AWD and has impressive off-roading capability.

While not a direct competitor, the Toyota Prius is similar enough to the Niro to be cross-shopped. It’s also available with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. The Prius was fully redesigned for 2023, can get up to 57 mpg combined, has a stylish design, has up to 25 miles of electric range, and has up to 220 hp.

Check prices for the 2023 Kia Niro »