Kia Niro was announced the winner of the 2023 Women’s World Car of the Year (WWCOTY). The announcement was made on 8 March 2023 which coincides with International Women’s Day—a day set aside to emphasize the need for gender equity. The WWCOTY has been running since 2009.
To pick this year’s winner, 63 motoring journalists picked from 43 countries were handed dozens of models to test and evaluate every detail. There were several voting rounds. However, after the first round, the best vehicles from each category were picked from a total of 59 contenders. The vehicles that made it to the second round were;
- Kia Niro (Best Urban Car)
- Jeep Avenger (Best Family SUV)
- Citroën C5 X (Best Large Car)
- Nissan X-Trail (Best Large SUV)
- Audi RS 3 (Best Performance Car)
- Ford Ranger (Best 4×4)
In the second voting round, the journalists were asked to pick from the finalists of the first round the vehicle that will become the World’s Best Car 2023. After severe scrutiny, Kia Niro edged out all the other vehicles to win the coveted prize.
Judges were full of praise for the Kia Niro
“This year’s selection was particularly difficult due to the excellent level of all the candidates,” said Marta Garcia, executive president of WWCOTY. “Each of the finalists had sufficient merit to win the trophy.”
According to Kia, the all-new Niro was designed to exceed the expectations of eco-minded consumers. The automaker said the next-generation Niro was designed to satisfy the complex and varied needs of today’s sustainability-conscious consumers.
Apart from the WWCOTY, the second-generation Niro has scooped several awards including placing first in the J.D. Power 2022 Electric Vehicle Experience Ownership Study in the mass-market category as well as winning the Golden Steering Wheel award for the Compact SUV category. Kia Niro also made the shortlist for the 2023 World Car of the Year awards.
Judges from different parts of the globe talked about everything from size, comfort, and price of the Kia Niro which ultimately swayed them to pick it as the winner of the WWCOTY. The views of some of the judges are captured below.
“One of the best hybrid vehicles with the best performance and dynamics,” said Giovanna Alvarado from Peru.
“The Kia Niro is a spacious, stylish, efficient, and practical car that is right on trend with its size, design, and driver,” said Petra Mühr from Austria.
“Kia Niro is a practical little city car that gives you everything you need in an affordable package,” said Renuka Kirpalani from India.
World Car Awards unveils top three finalists for each category
The list for the World Car Awards has been trimmed down to three finalists in preparation for the final winner announcement at the New York Motor show on April 5.
The first list was released in February with the World Car of the Year category having 10 contenders. Other categories had 5 contenders except for the World Urban Car category which had only three. Below is the list of all three finalists in all the categories.
|World Car of the Year||BMW X1 |
Hyundai Ioniq 6
|World Car Design||Hyundai Ioniq 6 |
Land Rover Range Rover
|World Performance Car||Kia EV6 GT |
Toyota GR Corolla
|World Luxury Car||BMW 7 Series/i7 |
|World Urban Car||Citroen C3 |
ORA Funky Cat
|World Electric Vehicle||BMW i7 |
Hyundai Ioniq 6
Why the second-generation Kia Niro is the center of attention
The second-generation Kia Niro EV is a small five-passenger SUV. The all-new 2023 version has a bigger battery that can travel up to 253 miles on a single charge. The 2023 Niro is available in three versions and the EV model is just one of the three.
The EV model also comes in two trims namely the Wave model (with a starting price of $44,550) and the Wind model (with a starting price of $39,550). The other available versions are the Niro hybrid electric vehicle (with a starting price of $26,590) and the Niro plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (with a starting price of $33,840).
The Niro EV uses more powerful motors compared to the hybrid models. Niro HEV comes with a 32-kilowatt motor while the Niro PHEV comes with a 62-kilowatt motor. The all-electric model, on the other hand, is equipped with a 150-kilowatt electric motor. The all-electric model is rated at 201 horsepower and 188 foot-pounds of torque. Ultimately, it can go from zero to 60 mph in about 7 seconds.
The new Niro EV comes with a 64.8 kWh battery pack which gives it a longer range compared to previous models. The battery can go from 10% to 80% in just 45 minutes when using DC fast charger.
However, that time can extend to about 7 hours when using the onboard 11kW charger with a Level 2 charger. With the regular 120-volt residential power outlet, it can take up to 57 hours to fully charge the battery.
To extend the battery range when driving in cold temperatures, drivers can opt for the $1,300 optional battery warmer and heat pump. Overall, the vehicle has a length of 174 inches and a wheelbase of 107.1 inches. The EV has 6.3 inches of ground clearance.
Another feature of the new Kia Niro that has endeared it to families is the larger passenger room and cargo space. According to the automaker, the cargo capacity behind the rear seat has jumped to 22.8 cubic feet which is believed to be 50% more than what Tesla Model 3 offers.
Kia Niro comes with innovative safety features
Female judges had every reason to pick the Kia Niro over other EVs on the market and it is partly due to the advanced safety features. The Kia Niro comes with an array of DriveWise Intelligent Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) aimed at curbing accidents.
It has a Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Junction Crossing that warns the driver when a possible collision is imminent. If the driver fails to react quickly, the system automatically applies the brakes.
Other safety technologies like the Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control-Curve (NSCC-C), Highway Driving Assist (HDA), and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), all work together to enhance the safety of the vehicle. It is not surprising that it won the WWCOTY and is on track to win the World Car of the Year.