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Kia made some strategic changes to the Niro for the 2023 model year affecting the hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and its all-electric versions of the SUV. While it places the vehicle in a more competitive stance in the market, the Niro doesn’t quite have enough to beat out its rivals, like the 2023 Volkswagen ID.4. In fact, there are six areas where the Volkswagen outshines the Kia. Let’s look at what those areas are.

The VW ID.4 is an EV with autopilot features.
Volkswagen ID.4 | Volkswagen

1. Volkswagen has drivetrain choices for the 2023 ID.4

Kia’s Niro EV has a single permanent magnet synchronous motor that powers the vehicle’s front wheels. It does not offer all-wheel or rear-wheel drive. The Volkswagen ID.4 model comes standard with RWD, but you can opt for an all-wheel drivetrain, which will add a second motor to send power through the front wheels. 

Volkswagen reports that the added motor will help the SUV offer more traction when you need it. It’s also important to note that Volkswagen’s AWD doesn’t link the two axles together as other all-wheel drivetrains do. The motors will power the wheels through a differential and a single-speed gearbox. 

2. The 2023 ID.4 has more torque than the Kia Niro EV

With Kia’s single motor setup, you get a total output of 201 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque, which enables the vehicle to go from 0 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds for the Wind and Wave trims. On the ID.4, the standard model runs on a single motor, so you get 201 hp, but the torque surpasses what the Niro EV provides with 229 lb-ft.

However, since the VW model offers an optional dual-motor setup, the AWD version’s torque goes up to 339 lb-ft. With this powertrain, you’ll get a total of 295 hp. Plus, you’ll get an acceleration time of 5.7 seconds for a 0 to 60-mph run. 

3. More driving range 

The Kia Niro EV offers a 64 kWh battery, which will get you an estimated 253 miles on a single charge or around 113 mpge. It takes approximately 2.5 days to charge the battery on a 120-volt charger. A DC fast charging setup will only take about 40 minutes to go from 10-80%. 

On the Volkswagen ID.4, you have two battery options. The base model comes with a 62 kWh battery, and upper trims will offer an 82 kWh unit. With the rear-wheel drivetrain, this will get you an estimated 275 miles on a single charge. If you choose the all-wheel model, expect a bit less at 251-255 miles of distance. A level 2 charger will juice up the battery in approximately 7.5 hours. 

4. The 2023 VW ID.4 has a larger cargo area 

In the cargo area, you get 22.8 cubic feet if the rear seats are in the ‘up’ position. If you fold them down, it gives you 63.7 cubic feet of space to store your items. That’s not bad for an electric vehicle of this size. 

However, the Volkswagen gives you quite a bit more. With the rear seats up, you’ll have 30.3 cubic feet to haul your items. Folding them down will increase that area to 64.2 cubic feet of space.

5. The Niro EV can’t compete with ground clearance 

Ground clearance is essential if you’re looking to do some off-roading or driving in snowy areas. The Kia Niro EV isn’t the best option for either of these situations since it only has 5.9 inches of space from the ground to the underside of the SUV. 

If you look at the VW ID.4 model, you’ll get almost an inch more ground clearance since it offers 6.7 inches. It won’t tackle rocky terrain well, but it might help in deep snow drifts. 

6. Volkswagen offers more towing capacity

When it comes to towing, the clear winner here is the Volkswagen ID.4, which will allow you to haul up to 2,700 lbs if you choose an AWD version with the tow hitch added to the vehicle. That’s enough for a lightweight trailer with some recreational goodies tied down. 

With the Kia Niro EV, you get significantly less towing capability. It’s only rated for a total of 1,653 lbs of hauling capacity, according to Kia’s website.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with choosing a Kia Niro EV if you want it, we recommend the VW ID.4 because you would get more ground clearance, towing capacity, cargo area, driving range, and torque than the Niro can offer. You’ll also get an AWD model, which Kia doesn’t even offer on the 2023 Niro EV.

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