The simple trim lineup for the 2023 Kia Niro EV consists of the Wind and the Wave. Both get a 64.8-kWh battery that allows for 253 miles of single-charge driving and an electric motor that produces 201 hp and 188 lb.-ft. of torque. When it’s plugged into a DC fast charger, the ’23 Niro EV can gain 100 miles of range in approximately 30 minutes and go from 10 percent on the battery to 80 percent in about 43 minutes. The Niro EV is capable of regenerative braking, too. In this process, the energy created from braking is captured and stored in the battery to add incrementally to the vehicle’s range (the degree of regenerative braking can be manipulated using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters). To help extend driving range in cold temperatures, the ’23 Niro EV can be ordered with a heat pump and battery warmer via the Preserve Package (this optional bundle will also equip the Wind trim with a heated steering wheel and heated rear outboard seats, equipment that the Wave trim gets standard).
Despite being a base trim, the Wind receives an abundance of high-end features. Its exterior highlights are automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, a smart power tailgate, roof rails, heated side mirrors with LED turn-signal indicators, heated front and rear glass, a gloss-black rear spoiler, rain-sensing wipers, proximity entry (Smart Key), and an underhood storage trunk (a.k.a. frunk). Inside, the Wind gets a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster, five USB ports (two Type-A and one Type-C charging up front and two Type-A charging in the rear), two power outlets (one in the front console and one beneath the second-row seat), a wireless phone charger, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear AC vents, ambient interior lighting, a drive-mode selector (Normal, Eco, and Sport), illuminated vanity mirrors, combination vegan-leather and cloth upholstery, a vegan-leather wrapped steering wheel, a 10-way power driver’s seat with two-way lumbar adjustments, heated front and rear outboard seats, and a 60/40-split folding rear seatback with a center armrest and cupholders. Behind the second row is a spacious cargo area with an underfloor storage compartment and available dual-level cargo floor.
The Wave is eligible for a two-tone exterior treatment that combines white paint with a gray Aeroblade. As the higher trim, it also gets additional equipment, such as a sunroof, LED headlights and fog lights, power-folding side mirrors, Digital Key, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, LED interior lighting, perforated vegan-leather upholstery with front-row ventilation, a power-adjustable front passenger’s seat, position memory for the driver’s seat, a heated steering wheel, and alloy sport pedals.
The Wind and Wave both have a 10.25-inch central touchscreen that blends into the gauge cluster to produce one expansive digital screen. It manages the navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio, and Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming; you can also control functions with voice recognition. While the Wind is content with a six-speaker sound system, the Wave upgrades to a premium seven-speaker Harman Kardon unit. The two share an onboard power generator as well, which can be used to charge or power various electronic items such as laptops, electric bikes, camping equipment, etc.
As mentioned earlier, Kia’s Drive Wise suite of active safety technologies is standard in the 2023 Niro EV. The Wind’s version includes forward collision-avoidance assist (with pedestrian, cyclist, and junction turning detection), blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, navigation-based smart cruise control with stop-and-go and curve control, Highway Driving Assist (which combines smart cruise control with lane centering for a more seamless driving experience), intelligent speed limit assist, driver attention warning with leading vehicle departure alert, rear parking sensors, safe exit warning, and rear occupant alert.
As expected, the Wave gets some additional features: enhanced forward collision-avoidance assist (it adds junction crossing detection), Highway Driving Assist 2 (which features automatic lane changing assist), front parking sensors, reverse parking collision-avoidance assist, and Remote Smart Parking Assist with a fob-based remote-control system.