Both models will go on sale later this year, but the Sportswagon is a Euro-market exclusive.

Kia’s hybrid offerings have officially expanded. The company unveiled its latest efforts at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, featuring plug-in versions of the Niro compact crossover and Optima Sportwagon. Both models will be covered by Kia’s 7-year / 100,000-mile warranty, which does include the lithium-ion battery packs. That could offer some reassurance to hybrid shoppers who are interested in Kia but concerned over the brand’s limited history in the hybrid genre.

 

2018 Kia Niro

 

The Niro plug-in hybrid retains the 1.6-liter, 104-horsepower gasoline engine from the standard model but jumps up to an 8.9 kilowatt-hour, high-capacity lithium-ion battery pack. Kia says the Niro should be good for an all-electric range of over 34 miles, depending of course on speed and a variety of other power-use factors. Kia is keen to point out the plug-in Niro is available with an optional towing package – something not usually seen on hybrid vehicles of this caliber – which can accommodate loads up to 2,800 pounds provided the trailer has brakes of its own. A new Eco Driving Assistant System (dubbed Eco DAS by Kia) helps drivers get the most from their Niro by offering “intelligent guidance” on getting the most efficiency in various driving conditions.

Exclusive to European markets, the Optima Sportswagon plug-in hybrid draws its motivation straight from the sedan. That means you'll find a 2.0-liter gasoline four-pot with an 11.3 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack powering an electric motor, all packaged efficiently beneath the Sportswagon’s attractive skin. Total combined output is 202 horsepower, and though official ranges haven’t yet been announced, Kia is targeting an electric-only distance of 38 miles at 75 miles per hour.

Compared to the standard wagon, the plug-in hybrid components have virtually no affect on passenger or cargo space. 15.5 cubic feet is available in the back with the rear seats upright, and despite the battery pack beneath the floor, the rear seats will fold completely flat to reveal 55.6 cubic feet of total cargo space.

Both the Niro and Optima Sportswagon feature plenty of convenience options, including a touchscreen infotainment system that monitors the hybrid system to show total range and nearby charging stations. Both models are expected to go on sale in the third quarter of 2017.

Source: Kia

 

 

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