There’s some good news and bad news for the 2023 Kia Niro EV and its new pricing. The good news is that, despite a heavy refresh of the looks of the Niro EV, the pricing isn’t going up by much when compared to 2022. The bad news is that you’ll now only have two trim options for this model year. Though, is that really a bad thing in the end? That depends on what the Niro EV has gained and lost now that it’s dropped the EX trim.
What’s Standard (and Not) for 2023
The first thing to note is that the 2023 Niro EV’s trim names have also changed in addition to the drop of the EX model. What was once the S is now known as the “Wind,” and the EX Premium is now the “Wave.” Guess they really wanted to drive home that idea of sustainability of driving a Niro EV. When it comes to the EV specific parts and its overall mechanical bits, 2023 and 2022 remain mostly the same. The HVAC system still makes the heat pump an optional part on both the Wind and Wave trims.
The big change for the exterior of the Niro EV is the bi-function projection headlights are now only standard on just the Wave trim, something that was once standard across all trims in 2022. You also don’t get the LED fog lamps, LED positioning lamps, nor the outside mirrors with external turn signal repeaters on the Wind trim. To get all of those, you now must step up to the Niro EV Wave.
Inside, both front seats remain multi-way adjustable, but the front passenger on the Wind is now six-way manual (2022 was only four-way) and the Wave gets a 10-way power seat that wasn’t available in 2022. Both types of front seats are still heated and ventilated, but now the fans for the ventilation have three settings in 2023. The outboard rear seats are also now heated as an option in 2023. A heated steering wheel is standard on the Wave and optional on the Wind, and both heated and unheated wheels are wrapped in vegan leather.
If you want more vegan leather on your interior, you get perforated vegan leather seats as standard on the Wave while the wind makes do with cloth seating. The displays on the 2023 Kia Niro EV are now 10.25 inch for the infotainment and color TFT dash screen. Both trims come with Harman Kardon premium audio and a six speaker system, but if you want a subwoofer, you’ll need to select the Wave, which also gets you an external amplifier for it.
For comfort and convenience, you get an automatic dual-zone climate control with a driver only mode in 2023. You also now get a USB-C outlet on the front center console along with the standard two USB-A connections and a 12 volt power outlet, and rear passengers get a pair of USB-A connections. If you want power rear windows and an auto up/down passenger window, you’ll need to option for the Wave, as the Wind only has the front driver’s window as a powered auto up/down.
You still get the latest stop-and-go smart cruise control on the Niro EV, but it’s now the Navigation-based system that was originally only offered on the EX trims. You also now get Highway Driving Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance with Rear Parallel Exit and Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance, Driver Attention Warning, and a host of other driver assist features that weren’t included in the 2022 model. The new option for 2023 and only on the Wave trim is the Highway Drive Assist II that includes automatic lane changing.
What’s The Price?
The starting price of the 2023 Kia Niro EV Wind is $40,745, a rise of only $360 from the former Niro EV S. To get the top of the line Niro EV Wave trim, you actually save $200 versus 2022s EX Premium, as the price is now $45,745 (the EX Premium was $45,945). The bad news is, because there isn’t anything between the Wind and Wave, the jump between them is now $5,000. For that money, the difference in equipment between the Wind and the Wave is rather minimal. It especially doesn’t feel worth it when you consider that the ride feels brittle, the materials can feel cheap in some places, and it doesn’t have a very fast charge rate.
What Range and Charge Are You Getting?
For its 64.8 kWh battery pack to get from 25.3 miles to 202.4 miles (10 percent to 80 percent, adding 177.1 miles), you’ll be sitting for 45 minutes as the maximum charging capability of the Niro EV is 85 kW. That being said, you are charging faster than the Bolt, which only adds 100 miles in 30 minutes (55 kW rate and only 39 percent of the battery’s capacity) and the Nissan Leaf (170 miles, or 80 percent, in 60 minutes on its larger battery option).
The Bolt does go further due to the larger 65 kWh battery pack getting 259 miles, according to Chevrolet. The Bolt and the Niro EV are also nearly the same in horsepower, with the Chevrolet pumping out 200 hp and the Niro EV at 201 hp. In torque production, though, the 188 lb-ft of torque of the Niro EV will make the Bolt feel like a stump puller thanks to its 266 lb-ft of torque.
Then there is the other kick in the teeth of the Kia Niro EV. It’s nearly double the price of a Bolt (1LT $26,595, a $14,150 difference under the Niro EV Wind) and even the Nissan Leaf SV Plus ($36,895) undercuts the Niro EV Wind by $3,850. It really shows just how inexpensive the Bolt and Leaf both are in this market. Even with their range and fast charge rates, those two small EVs are still a better value than the Niro EV. What if we then compare it to the newest EV in Kia’s stable?
What About Comparing It to the EV6?
Then there is the floorside comparison you’ll make while at the Kia dealership between the Niro EV and the EV6. For not much more money, you’ll get something that’s faster and can go even further on a single charge. The Niro EV gets 253 miles on a single charge whereas the 2022 EV6 Wind RWD at $48,795 will get you 310 miles. That’s only a $3,050 difference in price between it and the Niro EV Wave, but with nearly 50 more miles of total range.
If you option for the EV6 Light RWD, that range drops to 232 miles for a cost of only $1,950 over the Niro EV Wind but a cost cut of $3,050 when you compare the price of the Niro EV Wave. The other advantage for both EV6s are their DC Fast Charge rates using its 800 volt battery system. This increases their DC Fast Rate to a potential of 350 kW (compared to the Niro EVs seemingly pathetic 85 kW rate) which gives the EV6 217 miles of range in just under 18 minutes. This means that, while you won’t go further in an EV6 Lite RWD, you’ll be at the charger for less time.
Though, there are some other drawbacks on the EV6 like confusing interior controls and limited headroom (for an SUV). Even when you compare cargo room between the EV6 and Niro EV, you’re only gaining 1.2 cu ft of cargo room (24 cu ft for the EV6 versus 22.8 cu ft for the Niro EV). Headroom is also smaller than the Niro EV as it has 40.5 inches front whereas the EV6 only has 39.0 inches in the front. Though, rear headroom is roughly the same between the two at nearly 38.0 inches.
We have to say, the price of the 2023 Kia Niro EV doesn’t quite make it a value leader in the small EV market. That’s even more true when you compare it to its stablemate, the EV6 RWD. Even when you lose a bit of range in the EV6 Lite RWD, you gain back time thanks to its higher DC Fast Charge rate over the Kia Niro EV.
|2023 Kia Niro EV||MSRP||Difference in 2022|
|Wind (formerly ‘S’)||$40,745||+$360|
|EX||NA||Dropped in 2023|
|Wave (formerly EX Premium)||$45,745||-$200|
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