Estimated fuel economy is actually lower than the existing hybrid variant.
Kia has expanded its range of Niro crossovers with the launch of the new plug-in hybrid variant at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The PHEV joins existing the hybrid version, plus a pure EV that arrives later.
The Niro PHEV packs an 8.9 kilowatt-hour lithium-polymer battery, which is 7.34-kWh larger than the unit in the hybrid model. It takes 2.5 hours to recharge from a 240-volt Level 2 charger or nine hours from a conventional outlet. Kia stows the battery under the floor and rear seat, so there's no change in cargo capacity from the hybrid, either.
The plug-in crossover combines a 1.6-liter four-cylinder and an electric motor for a total output of 139 horsepower (104 kilowatts) and 195 pound-feet (264 Newton-meters) of torque. It routes through a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Kia estimates this setup offers a total range of 560 miles (901 kilometers).
Oddly, the Niro PHEV's fuel economy is worse than the most efficient variant of the existing hybrid. Kia estimates the plug-in to get 48 miles per gallon city, 44 mpg highway, and 46 mpg combined. Conversely, the FE trim of the Niro has EPA ratings of 52 mpg city, 49 mpg highway, and 50 mpg combined. However, a major advantage for the PHEV is the 26 miles of range solely on electric power.
In an effort to keep weight down, Kia equips the Niro PHEV with some unique parts. For example, the company uses aluminum to construct the hood, hatchback, some suspension parts, and the brake calipers. In addition, there are slight tweaks to the grille.
People can identify the Niro PHEV by the door on the front fender that hides the charging port, and there's Hybrid Blue trim. Inside, the company offers a seven-inch instrument panel display with a digital tachometer. Driver-Only Air Conditioning conserves energy by only keeping a single person cool. Efficiency-minded owners can also tune the powertrain to their preferences by selecting from multiple driving modes: EV, Hybrid, Eco, and Sport.
The Niro PHEV will go on sale in 2018 in three trim levels: LX, EX and EX Premium. Kia won't discuss pricing yet, but the plug-in will likely start higher than the existing LX version's $24,180 base cost.
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Gallery: 2018 Kia Niro PHEV
KIA MOTORS AMERICA INTRODUCES 2018 NIRO PLUG-IN HYBRID CROSSOVER AT LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW
· Rated at 26 miles of All-Electric Range, 105 MPGe, 46 mpg combined, and Super Ultra-Low Emissions
· Packed with the same fantastic styling, functionality and drivability of Niro hybrid
Los Angeles, November 30, 2017 — The 2018 Niro Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) brings an exciting new dimension to Kia’s alternative fuel car line-up. As Kia’s third plug-in model, and anticipated in retailer showrooms by the end of this year, the Niro PHEV offers the same crossover utility, fun-driving and winning design of the Niro hybrid, but with an estimated 26-miles of All-Electric Range.1
“The Niro Plug-in is the exciting next step in Kia’s progression toward offering more alternative fuel vehicles by 2020,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, Kia Motors America (KMA). “Consumers who are intrigued by the Niro hybrid’s fantastic versatility and design, but want even more EcoDynamics technology and the ability to drive only using electric power, will find more to love in the Niro Plug-in Hybrid.”
Rated at an EPA-estimated 26 miles of All-Electric Range1, Niro PHEV can help some drivers consume less gasoline in most driving conditions and in all-electric mode it produces zero emissions. And with the total driving range rated at up to an estimated 560 miles, it offers fantastic versatility. With Niro Plug-in Hybrid you can have it all—pure EV daily driving and the ability to take long road trips.
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid is yet another vehicle introduced under the Kia Motors EcoDynamics sub-brand and represents an important next step on the path to nearly tripling the brand’s global lineup of alternative fuel vehicles by 2020, which includes the Niro, Optima Hybrid, Optima PHEV and the Soul EV. The new Niro Plug-in Hybrid offers all the same feature-rich packaging and driving fun of the hybrid Niro, but with a few PHEV-exclusive touches, such as a subtly-modified front grille insert and surround, hybrid blue exterior accents, available LED headlamps, a charge port door (on left front fender), available 7-inch color meter cluster with digital tachometer and “ECO/Plug-In” badges.
Efficient and Engaging Powertrain
The Niro PHEV pairs an all-aluminum, efficient 1.6-liter GDI (gasoline direct injection) four-cylinder engine with an 8.9 kWh (59 kW) lithium-polymer battery pack and a powerful 60-HP (44.5 kW) electric motor, a set-up for optimum fuel efficiency and electrically driven range. While the Niro PHEV boasts an MPGe rating of 105, its EPA-estimated MPG ratings of 48 mpg city, 44 mpg highway and 46 mpg/combined are similar to those of Niro hybrid. The estimated driving range when both electric and gasoline systems work together is up to 560 miles6.
Increased high-voltage battery capacity (+7.34 kWh more than Niro hybrid) and output/power have helped make the Niro Plug-in Hybrid an efficient, low emissions crossover with a 105 MPGe rating. The Niro PHEV’s compact, high voltage battery is neatly tucked under the cargo floor and under the rear seat and maintains the same spacious cargo capacity as the Niro hybrid. A single charging port is located in the driver’s side front fender. A full charge can be achieved in approximately 2.5 hours via a 240V (Level 2) charger, and under 9 hours via a 120V (Level 1) charger.
The Niro PHEV employs the same six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) as the Niro, which translates to more enjoyable and engaging driving. Drivers can choose from several driving modes, including EV mode, Hybrid mode, (default) Eco mode, or Sport mode for quicker transmission response that takes advantage of the powertrain’s combined output of 139 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque.
Another notable energy-conserving feature is the Driver-Only Air Conditioning, which directs the ventilation toward the driver only and decreases the power consumption of the air conditioning system.
Strong and Light Core
The lightweight structure underpinning the Niro Plug-in Hybrid is built on the same dedicated platform as the conventional Niro, utilizing over 50 percent Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS). Extensive use of hot-stamped steel components and industrial joint adhesive aims to increase torsional rigidity and improve structural integrity. Kia is targeting the Niro and Niro PHEV to earn top honors from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).
Weight reduction was a critical aspect of developing the Niro PHEV, so in addition to the body, AHSS was also used to engineer other elements including lightweight seat frames. Engineers were also able to reduce overall weight by using aluminum for the hood, tailgate and several suspension elements including the front lower control arms, front and rear knuckles, and in the brake calipers.
Like the Niro hybrid, the Niro PHEV seats five and offers the same great crossover functionality and generous cargo capacity. The Niro PHEV will be offered in three trim levels—LX, EX and EX Premium.
In addition, the Niro PHEV is offered with a suite of advanced driver assistance and convenience technologies, including Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Change Assist (LCA), and front and rear parking sensors; while Smart Cruise Control (SCC); Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB); Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) are all standard.
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid also includes UVO eco which extends Kia’s award-winning connectivity service by offering convenience and safety features tailored to eco-minded drivers. With UVO eco, drivers can remotely monitor and charge their vehicle’s high-voltage battery; setup charging schedules to take advantage of off-peak utility rates; preset the vehicle’s cabin temperature, turn on window defrosters, and heat the steering wheel, lock or unlock doors, and find their vehicle from their smartphone or web enabled device.
About Kia Motors America
Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia Motors America continues to top quality surveys and is recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands and 50 Best Global Green Brands by Interbrand. Kia serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA and offers a complete range of vehicles sold through a network of nearly 800 dealers in the U.S., including cars and SUVs proudly built in West Point, Georgia.*
For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com. To receive custom email notifications for press releases the moment they are published, subscribe at www.kiamedia.com/us/en/newsalert.
* The Sorento and Optima GDI (EX, SX & Limited and certain LX Trims only) are assembled in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.
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