Home » In A Sky-High Car Market, The 2023 Kia Niro Starts At An Entirely Reasonable $27,785

In A Sky-High Car Market, The 2023 Kia Niro Starts At An Entirely Reasonable $27,785

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Kia releases pricing for the 2023 Niro, every state now has an approved charging plan, the electric Nissan Ariya finally has a price tag. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Kia Prices The 2023 Niro

2023 Kia Niro
Photo credit: Kia

Pricing for the 2023 Kia Niro Hybrid is out, and it’s a pretty big climb from the base model to the range-topper. The entry-level LX trim starts at $27,785 including a $1,295 freight charge, the mid-range EX trim climbs to $30,385, and then an EX with the Touring package stickers for $32,685. The range-topping SX trim stickers for $33,785, while the SX with the Touring package retails for $36,085. So what’s in this Touring package that makes it command a $2,300 premium over a standard car? Well, it depends. Both Touring packages get 18-inch alloy wheels, satin chrome trim on the door handles, alloy pedals, black mirror caps, but the Touring package on the EX model adds such luxuries as a sunroof, power-folding mirrors, gloss black exterior trim, and LED interior lighting.

While the Touring package seems a bit steep, the base Niro LX looks to be really good value. It’s a well-priced, capacious crossover with a funky design and an estimated 53 mpg combined. Of equal importance, it puts a ton of pressure on Toyota when pricing the 2023 Corolla Cross Hybrid. While hybrid crossovers might not be the most exciting subject in the world, we like the Niro Hybrid’s weird styling, and I’m far more impressed by a good sub-$30k car than I am by a good six-figure car. Making cheap cars is hard, yet Kia’s whipped up one that looks and sounds really nifty. Kia also says the Niro will go on-sale nationwide this month, really impressive considering there aren’t many days left in September.

GM Walks Back Office Return

2021 Buick Envision 004
Photo credit: Buick

Last week, General Motors announced that office employees would see a part-time return to office before the start of next year. Understandably, this didn’t go over terribly well. Reuters reports that GM is now walking back those plans.

General Motors Co on Tuesday said it will not mandate workers return to offices before 2023 after it had told them on Friday that they would be expected to work three days on-campus each week later this year.

GM said Tuesday’s clarification was “based on the dialogue that took place since Friday. We intend to spend the next few weeks continuing to listen to your feedback so that we incorporate it into our implementation plans.”

GM said it would “communicate more information at the end of next month. Between now and then, we continue to ask for constructive dialogue about our culture, collaboration, speed and innovation.”

If a person has the equipment to do their required work, there’s no good reason they should go into an office as weekly routine. As long as work is being done, what’s the difference between working from home and working in-office?

[Ed Note: If you’ve worked in/with a larger corporation you know that “we continue to ask for constructive dialogue about our culture” usually means ‘please stop sending us angry emails.'” -MH]

Every State Now Has An Approved EV Charging Plan

Ev Charging Stations Sign
Photo credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

Well, that was fast. Automotive News reports that all 50 states now have federally-approved charging infrastructure plans.

The approval unlocks more than $1.5 billion in funding in 2022-23 to build EV chargers across roughly 75,000 miles of U.S. highway, including interstates and alternative fuel corridors, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

“With this greenlight, states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico can ramp up their work to build out EV charging networks that will make driving an EV more convenient and affordable for their residents and will serve as the backbone of our national EV charging network,” said Stephanie Pollack, acting administrator for the Federal Highway Administration.

Building out national EV charging infrastructure is an incredibly labor-intensive project, so it’s impressive to see work being done so quickly. Hopefully, it won’t be long now before charging stations start popping up all over the place.

We Finally Have Pricing For The Nissan Ariya

2023 Nissan Ariya Us 44
Photo credit: Nissan

Speaking of electric cars, here’s some good news from Nissan. After massive delays, the 2023 Nissan Ariya electric crossover will go on sale in America this autumn, and we finally have pricing.

Every Ariya is subject to a freight charge of $1,295. With that out of the way, here’s what every variant will cost. The base front-wheel-drive Engage model with a 63 kWh battery pack stickers for $44,485. Step up to the Venture+ trim, and you’re looking at a price tag of $48,485. The Evolve+ trim starts at $51,485, while the Empower+ goes for $54,985. That’s a lot to remember, but here’s a tip: Every trim that ends in a plus sign gets a bigger 87 kWh battery pack. Well, every trim save for the $55,985 Premiere model.

All-wheel-drive is a $4,000 option on every trim except Venture+, Empower+, and Premiere, which doesn’t get an all-wheel-drive equivalent. However, all-wheel-drive also includes two more trims: The Engage+ e-4ORCE which stickers for $52,485 and the Platinum+ which stickers for $61,485.

[Ed note: Wait, what? – MH]

I got the chance to poke around an Ariya several months ago and I’m pleased to report that it features a very roomy cabin with rather comfortable seats. Three fully-grown adults can fit quite nicely in the rear seats, which should make the Ariya a serious family car. While it feels like we’ve been waiting forever for Nissan’s electric crossover, this is one electric car that’s likely worth the wait.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Wednesday, we’re officially halfway through the week. I quite enjoyed seeing everyone’s answers to yesterday’s game, so let’s play another one in the same spirit. Let’s say you’re given a blank check to buy two examples of one car. The twist is that one must have zero options and one must be fully-loaded. For example, an F-150 XL and an F-150 Raptor R, or a W204 Mercedes-Benz C180 and a C63. What pair of cars are you picking up?

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40 Responses

  1. I wonder what the Ariya looked like before they put it in a rock tumbler.

    Hopefully the inside has something captivating, because beige-ish was the perfect choice for such a bland exterior.

  2. Buggati Chiron, obviously. I mean, what is the top trim on this car??? Blank check means blank check. I’d then sell them both and buy a large fleet of go-karts.

  3. I’m really intrigued by the idea of a charging station every 50 miles along the interstates. Out here in the west, there are plenty of 50+ mile stretches of the interstate where there isn’t even electric service.

  4. The Kia for the price is not outrageous even for the loaded option. In today’s market 30 – 35 is normal. Gone are the days of the 20k new car with all the toys.

    For the stripped vs loaded out. My first thought is a base Camaro V6 1LS with 6-spd manual. This is about 27k.

    Loaded out as a 2SS with 6spd/V8, a bit more at 52k (broke the option computer).

  5. Leaving aside cheeky answers like supercars that come with zero options, my answer is probably the 911.

    Give me a base model and whatever you consider the top of the line to be, Turbo S or GT3. Either way, the driving characteristics are going to be different enough that I won’t get bored.

  6. Kia still doesn’t have features by trim level or a build-and-price on their site, so it’ll be hard to tell how good a deal the base Niro is (except we know it’ll be a hybrid). They have a history of pretty grimly decontented base models, though. Just before the pandemic I looked at a base-base model Soul, the only one you could get a manual transmission on, and it was the newest car I’d ever seen without remote unlock (not proximity keys, I’m talking about a plip key of the kind that’s been around since the ’90s) and the only colors were black, white and silver of which all but silver cost extra.

  7. “Last week, General Motors announced that office employees would see a part-time return to office before the start of next year. Understandably, this didn’t go over terribly well. Reuters reports that GM is now walking back those plans.”

    I’ve been fully remote since 2010. The only people ‘return to office’ benefits is middle-management and micromanaging assholes. It’s not coming back, and everyone stupid enough to try and force it? Has immediately seen significant numbers of employees quit on the spot. We’re not putting up with commutes, we’re not putting up with ‘hybrid’ workspaces, and we’re not giving up a better work-life balance.

    “Every Ariya is subject to a freight charge of $1,295. With that out of the way, here’s what every variant will cost. The base front-wheel-drive Engage model with a 63 kWh battery pack stickers for $44,485.”

    Unless Nissan’s pulled off the impossible and completely changed not only their culture but how they build cars? They’re fucking high with this pricing. The build quality of a 2022 Nissan Armada (MSRP starting at $49,900) wasn’t even on par with a Mitsubishi Mirage. The Infiniti QX80 (MRSP starting at $71,950) I test drove last year had more rattles and squeaks than a 22 year old Saab does.
    How bad is Nissan? Extending the Mirage comparison, you will have an easier time getting a Sentra, Pathfinder, Murano, or Frontier (more than 40 in stock of each locally) than a Mitsubishi Mirage (less than 5 in stock locally, and they sell quick.) If you can’t even run yourself low on stock in this market, it’s bad. Nobody ‘aspires’ to own a Nissan, they grudgingly accept that they’re stuck with it. This is a company that kept trying to sell interiors completely unchanged from 2004 up into 2021.

    The only people I could see eagerly buying these are Leaf owners looking for something bigger. Otherwise? The demographics will be “I wanted a (Chevy Bolt, Hyundai Ioniq, Hyundai Kona, Kia EV6, Kia Niro, Ford Mustang Mach-E, VW ID.4) but I couldn’t get one.”
    All of which are priced cheaper than the Nissan.

    But who knows. Maybe Nissan got their heads out of their asses and started putting effort into build quality and design again. But it’s still going to be one hell of an uphill battle with the damage they’ve done to their own reputation.

    “Let’s say you’re given a blank check to buy two examples of one car. The twist is that one must have zero options and one must be fully-loaded. For example, an F-150 XL and an F-150 Raptor R, or a W204 Mercedes-Benz C180 and a C63. What pair of cars are you picking up?”

    … well I’m just gonna cheat like hell here.
    1996 Dodge Neon.
    See, the only way to ‘zero option’ a Neon is to actually order it with just one option – ACR. That actually gets you negative options with radio delete and front manual windows. Even base doesn’t get that low. You actually got credit off base MSRP with radio delete.
    And the fully optioned would be the ’96 Sport which gives you full power everything, 6 speakers, CD changer, and manual transmission as an option.
    Giving me two manual transmission pocket rockets.

    1. I am supposed to go back to the office 1-2 times per week starting in October. It is moronism. The only reason that they are doing this is because they are paying for so muvh downtown real estate, and there are businesses hurting.

      Meanwhile, I have been getting nothing but positive reviews for the work output from my dining room table. I get 90 minutes a day back without my commute. And I save a ton of money.

      Adding to the pile is that Mrs. Hand and I both have COVID. This shit ain’t done yet. I see no positives.

      1. Yep, they’re paying for real estate sitting unused, and middle-managers who are suddenly realizing they serve absolutely no function and are wastes of a salary. Nevermind that I’m orders of magnitude more productive when I don’t have to deal with constant interruptions and migraines caused by bad fluorescent lights.

        My response to everyone who’s come sniffing with “hybrid” or “onsite” is: ‘I am not interested in positions where the company is either incapable of working effectively or clearly does not trust me to do my job.’ I actually told an Apple recruiter – quoting myself – “since your company has demonstrated clearly that they are dishonest about their remote work policies, an interview would be a waste of everyone’s time.”

        And frankly, given the current job market and economy, I’d tell them they can either provide a company car and gas card, fuck off, or find my replacement effective immediately. And good fucking luck with that.

    2. “We’re not putting up with commutes, we’re not putting up with ‘hybrid’ workspaces, and we’re not giving up a better work-life balance.”

      Yes you will. How do I know? Because the American workers already have many times. WFH is facing a juggernaut of powerful interests whose success is dependent on butts in cubicles, notably the corporate real estate industry, energy companies, transportation, restaurant, etc. Companies that own their own buildings will NOT let the value of those buildings drop without a fight. And no, those buildings can’t just be repurposed, that’s too much of a hassle. Energy companies need to sell gas, they will push for longer commutes, auto manufacturers need to see cars they will lobby too. Even public transit has a vested interest. Their pockets are much deeper than yours. The worker has few friends but plenty of colleagues eager to scramble over others to get ahead.

      American workers have no real sense of solidarity nor stomach for a fight. Hell they can’t even be bothered to walk a picket line, instead letting others picket for them:

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704288204575362763101099660

      Workers will hitch and moan but once they even think the commuting worker gets even then slightest advantage their butt will be back on the road heading too and from the cube. It’s happened before and it WILL happen again.

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  9. “I’m far more impressed by a good sub-$30K car than I am by a good six figure car.” Holy crap. When the villagers come with their torches and pitchforks I will fight by your side.

  10. Still crazy to think that 4 years ago I was cross-shopping a Niro at $22k. Granted, that was when they first came out and no one new they existed. I think the dealers were just trying to get them out the door. But a 27% hike in 4 years……*checks inflation calculator*…..oh. Nevermind.

    1. Other sidenote….that Kia visit was the most Kia dealership experience ever. 22 year old salesman in an overly tight polo refusing to talk price without starting paperwork and then tried to explain to me that if they told me their best price I couldn’t go down the street to the other dealer and use it as leverage. Which is exactly what I did. Bleep you Kia dealer (and no, I didn’t end up buying a Kia)…..

      1. Really?He said that?What kind of buyer would fall for that and sign on the dotted line?

        Next time you get that,respond with “Yeah i guess they get that a lot.People using the price of a kia to drive down the price of a car they really want”
        XD

  11. Base and a premium?

    Mini Cooper Hardtop or Clubman.

    Get a base with a stick and 3 pot that sounds like a lawnmower and is super light. Like I always say – it’s half of a Supra engine.

    Get a JCW with a stick and every option checked.

  12. I’ve had a PHEV Niro for about 50k miles now and loved it. I don’t know about the new model, but the top-of-the-line one we got has a lot of bells and whistles–heated and cooled seats, heated wheel, lane assist and radar cruise control, etc. It was the best deal we found to get those sorts of features.

  13. “If a person has the equipment to do their required work, there’s no good reason they should go into an office as weekly routine. As long as work is being done, what’s the difference between working from home and working in-office?”

    This is quite the blanket statement. What holds true for an automotive journalist may not be generally applicable to everyone else. Maybe this determination should be made by the (brace yourself) BOSS?

      1. The funniest part of this whole thing has been them all finding themselves out too. Covid did the Office Space Bobs routine to every company everywhere.

        Keep an eye out for lightly used Porsches.

  14. No big surprise that the states moved so quickly on getting an approved charger plan. When there is free money to grub for they can move quite quickly. They’ll also make sure they hit the needed points in their plan even if they don’t plan to actually implement those plans. Then when it comes time to spend that money they will drag it out as long as they possibly can.

      1. No D-pillar/rear quarter window, and the rear window rake is too steep. The roof doesn’t cover at least half the cargo area behind the rear seats (unless you count the rear spoiler as roof coverage. Otherwise it’s got a good cargo area for a little car.

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