2023 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid in doubt for Australia


The new Kia Niro may not be offered with a plug-in hybrid option, unlike its predecessor – leaving the Sorento family SUV as the brand’s only PHEV.


The second-generation 2023 Kia Niro range may not include a plug-in hybrid option – as offered by its predecessor – when the first cars arrive in showrooms around July.

Details published on Kia Australia’s website suggest the new Niro will only be available with ‘conventional’ hybrid or fully-electric drivetrains – spelling the end of the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) offered in the current model.

It’s likely slow sales are to blame, after the PHEV accounted for just eight per cent of Niro sales in 2021, or 7.4 per cent over the first three months of 2022.

However, while the Niro PHEV might not be available at launch, Kia Australia has certified the vehicle for sale locally should it choose to introduce it, appearing alongside the electric and hybrid models in Australian government certification documents.


Kia Australia could not comment on its plans for the new Niro PHEV locally. Drive understands further details are due in the coming weeks.

Powering the new Niro PHEV is a 1.6-litre non-turbo petrol engine, paired to an electric motor and 11kWh battery for a combined output of 134kW.

Around 60km of electric driving range is claimed overseas, from a battery pack that’s up over the outgoing model’s 8.9kWh unit.

Meanwhile, the standard hybrid model pairs the same petrol engine with a less potent electric motor and 1.32kWh battery, good for 104kW combined and minimal electric driving range.


The pure-electric model in Australia looks set to use a 160kW electric motor and circa-64kWh battery pack, good for around 460km of claimed driving range.

That power figure – obtained from government documents – represents a 10kW increase over the 150kW claimed for the same vehicle in Europe. It’s unclear if and why Australian models are more powerful – or if there’s more to the discrepancy than the numbers suggest.

The lack of a Niro PHEV would leave the Sorento as Kia’s only plug-in hybrid model, as the plug-in version of the Drive Car of the Year-winning Sportage medium SUV continues to be unavailable locally.

For more details on the 2023 Kia Niro range, click here to read Drive’s earlier story. The first cars are expected to arrive in showrooms around July 2022.

William Davis has written for Drive since July 2020, covering news and current affairs in the automotive industry. He has maintained a primary focus on industry trends, autonomous technology, electric vehicle regulations, and local environmental policy. As the newest addition to the Drive team, William was brought onboard for his attention to detail, writing skills, and strong work ethic. Despite writing for a diverse range of outlets – including the Australian Financial Review, Robb Report, and Property Observer – since completing his media degree at Macquarie University, William has always had a passion for cars.

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