2023 Kia Niro PHEVThe 2023 Kia Niro Hybrid is one of the most unique vehicles for sale today. With all the utility of a wagon, up to 53 mpg in combined driving, and a starting price in the mid-$20,000 range, it doesn’t fit neatly into any one category. It combines the best traits of several.

The Niro is also available as a versatile plug-in hybrid and a pure electric car with a range of up to 253 miles between charges. For this discussion, we’ll stick to the Niro Hybrid.

The Niro is entirely new for the 2023 model year. Last year’s Niro had some of the same virtues. But it was a bit of a social wallflower, blending into the parking lot with staid styling. You can’t say that of the 2023 model.

Designers gave it an utterly unique feature in today’s automotive market. Kia calls them “aero blades.” They stand out from the sides of the car behind the rear pillars, and they’re available painted in contrasting colors. They serve a function — aiding aerodynamics and even quieting wind noise. That’s nice…but we like them because they look cool and stand out in an otherwise look-alike segment.

The Niro looks sharp inside, too, especially in higher trim levels where contrast-color upholstery panels and aluminum pedals lend an upscale look. Its best trick is its spaciousness — the Niro fits into the footprint of a compact SUV or small car but offers a full 105 cubic feet of passenger volume and up to 63.7 feet of cargo space with the seats folded.

The Niro Hybrid won’t win any performance awards — its 139 combined horsepower does the job. But a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission gets the most out of the engine, and the steering is surprisingly sprightly.

Five Trims Available

Kia builds the 2023 Niro in five trim levels: LX, EX, EX Touring, SX, and SX Touring.

The base LX comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen display, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A 6-speaker audio system handles entertainment. Forward collision avoidance assist with car and pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist are part of the standard Kia Drive Wise safety suite. It rides on 16-inch alloy wheels. The LX starts at $26,490. Kia also charges a mandatory $1,295 destination fee on all Niro Hybrid models.

The EX adds creature comforts like a vegan-leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, and a 10-way power driver’s seat with 2-way power lumbar adjustment. The seats are upholstered in a combination of vegan leather and cloth. Rain-sensing wipers appear, and the infotainment screen grows to 10.25 inches. Rear seat passengers will appreciate the A/C vents that start at the EX level. The Niro Hybrid EX starts at $29,090.

Step up to the EX Touring, and a sunroof will come standard. The EX Touring rides on larger 18-inch alloy wheels and gets LED fog lights. Exterior molding is gloss black for a more sophisticated look. Inside, LED lighting makes an appearance. We think the alloy sport pedals look great and this is the least-expensive trim to carry them. The EX Touring starts at $31,390.

The SX trim starts to add near-luxury features like heated and ventilated vegan leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and a 7-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system. A smart power tailgate opens automatically if you stand behind it with the key in your pocket. Speaking of keys, a digital key system lets you use your smartphone as your key. The driver’s seat includes a memory function at this level. You have to move up to at least the SX level to get the aero blades painted in a contrasting color. The SX starts at $32,490.

The top-of-the-line SX Touring adds LED projector headlights and exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels in gloss black with a machined finish. It carries an MSRP of $34,790.

We think the sweet spot in the lineup is the EX Touring. But we have to admit, we’d be tempted to spring for the SX to get the two-tone paint job.

Here’s the Complete Rundown on 2023 Kia Niro Hybrid Trims and Prices:

2023 Kia Niro LX: $26,490

  • 1.6-liter Hybrid Powertrain w/ 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft torque
  • 6-Speed Dual-Clutch Auto Transmission
  • 16-inch Alloy Wheels
  • Dual-Zone Auto Climate Control
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • LED Daytime Running Lights and Taillights
  • 60/40 Split Folding Rear Seats
  • Electronic Parking Brake w/ Auto-Hold

2023 Kia Niro EX: $26,090

  • 1.6-liter Hybrid Powertrain w/ 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft torque
  • 6-Speed Dual-Clutch Auto Transmission
  • Roof Rails
  • 16-inch Alloy Wheels
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Auto Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers
  • Dual-Zone Auto Climate Control
  • Rear A/C Vents

2023 Kia Niro EX Touring: $31,390

  • 1.6-liter Hybrid Powertrain w/ 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft torque
  • 6-Speed Dual-Clutch Auto Transmission
  • Sunroof
  • Roof Rails
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • 18-inch Alloy Wheels, Gloss Black w/ Machined Finish
  • Exterior Body Cladding & Trim, Gloss Black
  • LED Fog Lights
  • Power-Folding Side View Mirrors
  • Dual-Zone Auto Climate Control

2023 Kia Niro SX: $32,490

  • 1.6-liter Hybrid Powertrain w/ 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft torque
  • 6-Speed Dual-Clutch Auto Transmission
  • Sunroof
  • Smart Power Tailgate
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Roof Rails
  • Exterior Body Cladding & Trim, Gloss Black
  • Auto Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers
  • Dual-Zone Auto Climate Control
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • LED Fog Lights
  • LED Interior Lighting

2023 Kia Niro SX Touring: $34,790

  • 1.6-liter Hybrid Powertrain w/ 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft torque
  • 6-Speed Dual-Clutch Auto Transmission
  • Sunroof
  • Smart Power Tailgate
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Roof Rails
  • LED Projector Headlights & Fog Lights
  • Exterior Body Cladding & Trim, Gloss Black
  • 18-inch Alloy Wheels, Gloss Black w/ Machined Finish
  • Dual-Zone Auto Climate Control
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • LED Interior Lighting

Ready to buy a Kia Niro Hybrid? Shop for one on sale now near you.