Kia Motors has unwrapped the 2018 Niro Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Kia’s third plug-in model will hit the showrooms by the end of this year.
The Niro PHEV is powered by the same 1.6 GDI (gasoline direct injection) 4-cylinder engine, but the electric motor is a powerful 60 hp (44.5 kW) unit, drawing power from a 8.9 kWh (59 kW) lithium-polymer battery pack. The PHEV boasts an all-electric range of 26 miles (42 km) and a total driving range (electric + gasoline) of up to an estimated 560 miles (900+ km). It has an EPA-estimated MPG ratings of 48 mpg city, 44 mpg highway and 46 mpg/combined.
The Niro PHEV employs the same 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) as the Niro. 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 hp and 195 lb.-ft. (264 Nm) of torque.
As for the build, 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, said Kia.
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 connectivity service by offering convenience and safety features. With UVO eco, drivers can remotely monitor and charge their vehicle’s 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.