Kia’s 2018 Niro Plug-in Hybrid, which is expected to be in showrooms by the end of the year, was on display at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. The crossover is Kia’s third plug-in model, joining the Optima PHEV and the Soul EV.
The Niro PHEV pairs an all-aluminum 1.6-liter GDI (gasoline direct injection) four-cylinder engine with an 8.9 kWh (59 kW) lithium-polymer battery pack and a 60 hp (44.5 kW) electric motor. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission rounds out the picture. Combined output is 139 hp and torque is 195 lb-ft.
Electric range is 26 miles, MPGe is 105, and EPA-estimated efficiency in hybrid mode is 46 mpg combined.
The Niro PHEV’s battery pack is tucked under the cargo floor and under the rear seat. Kia says cargo capacity is the same as that of the Niro hybrid.
The new PHEV features a number of energy-conserving features, including Driver-Only Air Conditioning, which directs the ventilation toward the driver to decrease AC power consumption. Weight reduction was a critical aspect of the new model’s development. The frame uses over 50 percent Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS), which is also found in other elements such as the seat frames. Aluminum is used for the hood, tailgate and several suspension elements.
A standard suite of driver assistance and convenience technologies includes Smart Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Keep Assist System.