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The Kia Niro is currently available as a hybrid, PHEV, and all-electric model. All three got a complete interior redesign for the 2023 model year, including some new standard features. The Niro EV’s exterior has also been updated in an effort to compete with other futuristic cars in the segment.

One of those is the Subaru Solterra, the automaker’s flagship EV. Most first-time buyers just got their deliveries last autumn, and only limited quantities are currently available at dealerships. If you can get your hands on one, you can enjoy these superior benefits over the Kia Niro EV.

A blue 2023 Subaru Solterra electric SUV with AWD off-road driving in the mountains over rocks and snow
2023 Subaru Solterra | Subaru of America, Inc.

The 2023 Subaru Solterra offers higher horsepower and torque

As Kia states, the Niro EV’s single-motor setup generates 201 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque. The automaker also claims that this powertrain gives the Niro a 0-60 acceleration time of 7.1 seconds. It’s also more efficient than most of its rivals, earning 113 MPGe.

Subaru tells us that the Solterra EV has a standard dual-motor setup capable of 215 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque. It’s slightly less efficient than the Niro EV’s powertrain, earning 104 MPGe combined. It still has the quicker 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds.

The Niro EV has the most range, with Kia claiming 253 miles on a full charge. With a fast-charger, you should be able to restore 70% of the battery in less than 45 minutes.

According to Subaru, the Solterra only has 228 miles of electric range. You’ll probably need at least an hour to replenish 80% of the battery at a DC fast-charging station. Fortunately, each vehicle also offers a heat pump system to help preserve range in winter.

Subaru means you get standard AWD

The Kia Niro EV is probably more efficient than the Solterra because it’s only available as an FWD model. The Solterra is AWD-only (like most Subaru models) and comes with X-Mode. This is a Subaru-exclusive feature that enhances the vehicle’s response for both daily and off-roading driving. 

The 2023 Subaru Solterra is also equipped with hill descent control and grip control. The latter is a new feature, a cruise control function engineered to tackle steep inclines. 

Each Solterra also comes equipped with the Eyesight ADAS suite. It has both forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, plus other unique features like intersection collision avoidance. Starting on the Limited trim, you get intelligent parking and a 360-degree backup camera.

Despite it retailing for about $5,000 cheaper, the Niro EV has more standard safety features than the Solterra. Only a few of its driver assist feature cost extra, though one of them is already included on the Solterra (reverse automatic emergency braking).

The 2023 Subaru Solterra has a higher ground clearance

According to Edmunds, the 2023 Subaru Solterra has approximately 8.3 inches of ground clearance. The Kia Niro EV offers just 6.1 inches of ground clearance. Combined with the fact that it lacks AWD, you may run into problems if you’re driving the Niro off-road. 

While higher ground clearance can sometimes compromise ride quality, critics have found that the Solterra rides pleasantly well on city roads. Front passengers can also enjoy standard heated seats and each trim comes with wireless smartphone integration. Both EVs have adequately spacious rows of seating, but the Kia Niro EV offers the most rear legroom.

The Kia Niro EV also offers some nice convenience tech, including a 10.25-inch center touchscreen. The Niro EV Wave trim also gives you access to more premium features (like ventilated seats) for a cheaper price compared to higher Solterra trims. Still, while the Nio EV is more efficient, the Solterra appeals to us with its enhanced utility and a wider range of features.


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