The 2023 Kia Niro hybrid has a combined fuel economy rating up to 53 mpg. (Kia)

The 2023 Kia Niro hybrid has a combined fuel economy rating up to 53 mpg. (Kia)

2023 Kia Niro comes as hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric

The subcompact SUV is remodeled, roomier, more fuel efficient, and better equipped with safety features.

Kia’s Niro subcompact hybrid SUV is remodeled for 2023 with kicky new styling, a roomier interior, higher fuel efficiency, better build quality, and an expanded list of active safety features as standard equipment.

There are three Niro models for 2023: hybrid (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and the fully electric Niro EV. Front-wheel drive is the standard configuration across the board. All-wheel drive isn’t on the menu.

The Niro HEV has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with a 32kW electric motor. They produce a combined 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Fuel efficiency transcends performance. That’s not necessarily a bad quality for the average consumer interested in a small hybrid car.

A Niro hybrid with 16-inch wheels has an impressive 53-mpg fuel economy rating for combined city and highway driving. If riding on the optional 18-inch wheels, that number lowers to 49 mpg.

Sport and Eco modes give drivers some options, and a Green Zone drive mode is new this year. It automatically transfers the Niro HEV into EV mode in residential areas, and near schools and hospitals.

Despite its reserved acceleration characteristics, the Niro HEV has a friendly personality on curvy roads and is capable of generating enjoyment. Its smooth six-speed automatic transmission is commendable.

The 2023 Niro HEV lineup includes five trim levels: LX, EX, EX Touring, SX, and SX Touring. Pricing starts at $26,590 for the LX and tops out at $34,890 for the SX Touring.

Niro’s new exterior has a dominating feature Kia calls the aero blade, a panel running from the roof down to the rear wheels. Available in body color or a variety of contrasting colors, and sure to generate commentary, Kia says it also aids airflow beneath the Niro’s D-pillar. My SX Touring test car’s Cityscape Green paint and black aero blade were a handsome color combination. The aero blade was a $195 option.

There’s seating for five inside the Niro HEV. The driver and front-seat passenger are given the lion’s share of the room, always the case in a subcompact car. Rear-seat legroom has increased by 2.4 inches from last year’s Niro and is among the best in its class. But my family is a family of tall people, so Niro’s rear-seat legroom doesn’t strike me as roomy.

The Niro HEV SX Touring has an abundant supply of comfort, convenience and infotainment equipment: heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents, wireless phone charger, sturdy and comfortable SynTex seating material, 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM, and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system.

The audio and climate systems share controls on the touchscreen, which helps give the new Niro interior a clean, uncluttered look, but also adds the extra step of having to toggle between them.


Base price, including destination charge: $36,185

Price as driven: $36,435

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

Talk to us

More in Life

A glorious example of Gothic architecture, Reims Cathedral's construction began in 1211. Around the back of the church, flying buttresses are hard at work, supporting the massive structure.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Bubbly, historic Reims: The toast of France’s Champagne country

Imagine that happy day around 1700 when the monk Dom Pérignon, after much fiddling with the double fermentation of his grape juice, stumbled onto a bubbly delight.

When to get professional help for your child

Here are some of the signs that a consultation with a mental health expert is in order.

Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives are slated to perfom June 13 at Edmonds Center for the Arts. (Associated Press)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Country star Marty Stuart and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, are performing in Edmonds on June 13.

Fishy experience at a bar in Istanbul ends up in a $7,853 charge

Nicholas Butler is robbed by criminals who prey on tourists. Will Wells Fargo step up and help him undo the charges?

Dolly Hunnicutt holds onto a metal raccoon cutout while looking through metal wildflowers at the Freeborn Metal Art booth during the first day of Sorticulture on Friday, June 9, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Sorticulture brings gardening galore, fun by the bushel at 130 booths

“Every year there’s something different to see,” one attendee said at the opening of the three-day festival in downtown Everett.

Photo by Patricia Guthrie   This old medicine bottle from Lee’s Pharmacy in Seattle was found in the dirt outside the log cabin.
A long-hidden cabin emerges from the mists of time on Whidbey

Demolition of a dilapidated farmhouse in Langley reveals an entombed log cabin that might be 150 years old.

Multiple signs at Boxcar Park alert park users to a ban on kites at the park “effective immediately” on Wednesday, June 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s Boxcar Park cuts strings with kite flyers due to power lines

Safety is the reason for the ban at the park with the perfect breeze for kite flying.

People begin parading down First Street with a giant balloon “PRIDE” during Snohomish’s inaugural Pride celebration on Saturday, June 3, 2023, in downtown Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Your guide to Pride in Snohomish County

Mark your calendars; Pride Month is upon us.

Twin sisters Lyndsay Lamb (left) and Leslie Davis (right), co-hosts of HGTV's Unsellable Houses. (Photo provided)
Meet and greet HGTV’s ‘Unsellable Houses’ twin sister stars in Snohomish on Friday

Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis have made Lamb & Co. a #twinwin home-selling, home-goods brand.

Most Read