2023 Kia Niro EV Wave Review – Under the Radar

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Fast Facts

2023 Kia Niro EV Wave Fast Facts

Permanent magnet synchronous electric motor (201 horsepower @ 6,000-9,000 RPM, 18 lb-ft 0-6,000 RPM)
Transmission/Drive Layout
Single-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Fuel Economy, MPGe
126 city / 101 highway / 113 combined (EPA Rating)
Fuel Economy, Le/100km
1.9 city / 2.3 highway / 2.1 combined (NRCan Rating)
Estimated Range
253 miles / 407 kilometers
Base Price
$44,550 (U.S.) / $52,995 (Canada)
Price As Tested
$47,570 (U.S) / $56,094 (Canada)
Prices include $1,300 destination charge in the United States and $2,849 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.
2023 kia niro ev wave review under the radar

The Kia EV6 gets most of the attention when it comes to Kia EVs. That and the upcoming EV9. But the EV version of Kia’s Niro flies a bit under the attention radar.

Perhaps it shouldn’t. It’s not a sexy sportster like the EV6, so it’s understandable that the styling won’t turn heads, but the overall package is pretty commuter friendly.

A bit boring, maybe, but useful enough. Maybe that relative lack of spice is exactly why this version of the Niro isn’t catching attention like the EV6.

Like most EVs, the Niro Wave has torque on tap right away, though it’s not as fleet afoot as some others. It’s quick enough but won’t leave you grinning the way the EV6 can (especially in GT trim). Handling is similarly unremarkable – it’s good enough to avoid being a letdown but not good enough to make you want to attack the nearest on-ramp in anger.

The ride is inoffensive – calm enough for serene commuting without being unduly soft.

Dynamically speaking, this is a car that you forget about the second you park it. That’s not an insult – the Niro is good enough that you’ll drive it happily. It’s just not going to give you an extra serving of fun.

It’s sensible shoes. It’s healthy yet somewhat tasty comfort food. It’s a cozy, basic dwelling.

This continues in the cabin – the Niro has a layout that’s familiar across the Kia line by now. There are large dual digital screens for gauges and infotainment and a large, round shift knob. Buttons and knobs are minimal, and one can flip between key audio and HVAC controls by tapping an icon in a control strip that lies below the infotainment screen.

The car is generous when it comes to front headroom, but a sloping roofline cuts into rear head space a bit. Kia has added a wide, vertical “stripe” panel that’s a different color in order to give some more flavor to the otherwise generic styling. A large lower fascia threatens to swallow things whole, though the look is still more cohesive than with other vehicles that use similar sculpting.

The Niro Wave’s electric motor puts out 201 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque, which gets to the front wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission. Maximum range is claimed at 253 miles, and charge time will take seven hours on a Level 2 charger. A Level 3 can get you from 10 to 80 in less than 45 minutes. The lithium-ion battery is 64.8 kWh. One neat touch is paddle-controlled adjustable regenerative braking.

Standard features include satellite radio, wireless cell phone charger, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and starting, remote start, a power liftgate, 17-inch wheels, roof rails, and LED daytime running lights.

Standard safety aids include forward-collision avoidance assist, rear blind-spot collision avoidance assist, lane-following assist, safe-exit warning, smart cruise control, and highway driving assist.

The top-trim Wave – Wind is the lower trim – adds a power sunroof, LED headlamps and fog lamps, remote parking assist, head-up display, Harman/Kardon audio, digital key, cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, LED interior lights, park-distance warning, and a battery heater. A package added heated rear seats. As tested, my Snow White Pearl ran $47,570.

The Niro Wave EV is a nicely done package that is only remarkable in how unremarkable it is. EV shoppers looking for a commuter that offers little fuss or muss will do just fine. Those hoping for more verve will like elsewhere.

Sometimes flying under the radar is a good place to be.

[Images © 2023 Tim Healey/TTAC.com]

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4 of 15 comments
  • Tassos Tassos on Jul 09, 2023

    the author claims, with a straight face, that

    "The Niro Wave EV is a nicely done package that is only remarkable in how unremarkable it is."

    Really? Do you think its huge gaping "whale shark" grille is ... "nicely done"? It is ATROCIOUS.

    Have you even bothered, oh lazy (or worse!) author, to compare what you get here and at what price, with the current Model 3, which is now cheaper than a Damned CAMRY, and has much superior performance and efficiency than this little ugly breadvan?

    Not to mention the Chevy Bolt, which can be had for $18K after tax credit, and has MORE range than this little POS?

    DIdn't they teach you "critical thinking" at school, or at least in College? Were you too busy drawing ugly little Niros to listen?

    • See 1 previous
    • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on Jul 10, 2023

      One comment half the length of this one could easily have conveyed the few useful bits of information in the four (4) separate comments you've left on this story.

  • Cprescott Cprescott on Jul 10, 2023

    Unless a dependable golf cart can be had for under $30k without having to steal your neighbor's $7,500, then there is no point in owning a golf cart (unless you use it on a golf course).

  • SCE to AUX A question nobody asks is how Tesla sells so many EVs without charge-at-home incentives.Here are some options for you:[list][*]Tesla drivers don't charge at home; they just squat at Superchargers.[/*][*]Tesla drivers are rich, so they just pay for a $2000 charger installation with the loose change in their pocket.[/*][*]Tesla drivers don't actually drive their cars much; they plug into 110V and only manage about 32 miles/day.[/*][/list]
  • SCE to AUX "Despite the EV segment having enjoyed steady growth over the past several years, sales volumes have remained flatter through 2023."Not so. How can EV sales be increasing and flatter at the same time?https://insideevs.com/news/667516/us-electric-car-sales-2023q1/Tesla and H/K/G are all up for EV sales, as are several other brands.
  • ToolGuy Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
  • Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."