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The Kia Niro recently went over a massive redesign for its 2023 model year, affecting its hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and EV models. So, how does the new Niro EV compare to its competitors? Here are four reasons to consider the 2023 Toyota bZ4X over the 2023 Kia Niro EV.

1. The Toyota bZ4X has more torque than the Kia Niro EV

According to Toyota, the bZ4X FWD variants come with a single electric motor capable of producing 201 horsepower. This setup can also provide 196 lb-ft of torque.

AWD variants of the Toyota SUV come with dual motors. They may not offer much of an upgrade in power at 214 hp, but there’s a 52 lb-ft increase in torque to 248 lb-ft.

Comparatively, Kia’s electric vehicle offers similar 201 horsepower figures but only manages 188 lb-ft of torque in both the Wind and Wave trims.

2. The bZ4X is more energy efficient

Fuel economy (equivalent) is another of the bZ4X’s advantages over the Kia Niro EV. The FWD XLE trim offers 131 MPGe in the city with regenerative braking and constant stops helping reduce energy consumption. On the highway, it’s less fuel efficient, offering 107 MPGe, leading to a combined 119 MPGe.

Comparatively, the Kia EV’s figures are 126 MPGe in the city and 101 MPGe on the highway for a combined 113 MPGe. It’s even worse than what you get with the FWD variant of the Limited trim, rated at 114 MPGe.

3. More ground clearance than the Niro EV

A 2023 Toyota bz4X compact electric SUV model in Wind Chill Pearl parked on a beach near a lifeguard station
2023 Toyota bz4X | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

If you’re fond of taking your vehicle off-road, the more ground clearance you have, the better. As such, the Toyota electric vehicle’s 8.1 inches of ground clearance should be enough and matches what’s available in pickup trucks like the Ram 1500.

It’s also more than what you get with the trucks like the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado 1500, which both have 7.9 inches of ground clearance.

The Kia Niro EV’s 5.9 inches of ground clearance makes it more of a city car. It’s on par with a sedan like the Subaru Legacy. As such, it will likely drive fine on tarmac or paved roads but will likely struggle through backroads.

4. Only the Toyota EV offers all-wheel drive (AWD)

Lastly, the Toyota bZ4X offers optional AWD for the XLE and Limited trims, an option not available with the Kia Niro EV. As mentioned above, the dual motor setup provides 214 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. Naturally, this also translates into on-road performance, with the more powerful AWD variants making a 0-60 mph acceleration run in 6.4 seconds on Car and Driver‘s test strip.

On the other hand, Kia claims its electric SUV can make the same run in 7.1 seconds. That said, the AWD systems’ faster acceleration comes at the cost of fuel efficiency. Consequently, the AWD XLE and Limited trims of the bZ4X offer combined fuel economy equivalent figures of 104 MPGe and 102 MPGe, respectively.

The advantages of the Kia Niro EV over the Toyota bZ4X


Should You Buy a Kia Niro EV or Niro PHEV?

There are also advantages to picking the Kia Niro EV over the Toyota bZ4X. For instance, you can get it significantly cheaper with a $39,450 starting price, while the Toyota starts at $42,000.

Additionally, buyers of the Niro EV get a 10-year warranty for most components. If you get the Toyota EV, the electric vehicle drive components are covered for eight years, while everything else gets either three-year or five-year coverage.  

The Kia Niro EV even offers more cargo space with the rear seats down at 63.7 cu. ft. compared to the Toyota’s 56.9 cu. ft. This is despite the Kia having less interior space overall and less cargo space behind the second-row seats.