Kia unveiled the second-generation Niro back in November 2021, but it has yet to showcase the version it will sell in the United States. Thankfully, the electrified crossover has now been spotted camo-free roaming the streets of California near the company’s design center. Much like the global model, it adopts the quirky two-tone look with a contrasting green C-pillar we’re having a hard time getting used to.
Being a North America-bound Niro, it comes as no surprise it has the mandatory orange side markers in the headlights. You can also notice the US-spec license plate and the fact Kia is sticking to those unusually low mounted rear turn signals. The revamped crossover wears the fresh corporate badge and appears to be the non-plug-in hybrid version since that will be the first to go on sale. The PHEV and purely electric derivative will arrive at a later date.
Despite looking radically new both inside and out, the 2023 Kia Niro is not an all-new vehicle. It still packs 139 horsepower from a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor. The crossover gets a dual-clutch, six-speed automatic gearbox and will be offered exclusively with front-wheel drive.
Not only has the power rating been carried over, but so has the drag coefficient of 0.29 despite the massive design changes and the increased footprint. Compared to the model it replaces, the new Niro is 65 millimeters (2.5 inches) longer, 20 millimeters (0.8 inches) wider, and 10 millimeters (0.4 inches) taller.
In addition, the wheelbase has been stretched by 20 millimeters (0.8 inches) for greater rear passenger legroom. The significant jump in size will also pay dividends in terms of practicality by being able to carry an extra 15 liters behind the rear seats, now with a total volume of 451 liters.
South Korea will be the first market to get the 2023 Niro this month, with global regions – including the US – to follow before the end of the year.
Source: KindelAuto / YouTube