Kia Niro PHEV Comes To LA With 26 Miles Of Electric Range

2 days ago by Chris Bruce 31

Kia Niro PHEV

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.

Kia Niro PHEV

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.

Kia Niro PHEV

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.

Kia Niro PHEV

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 (and yes, that is a delay over the expected launch last month): 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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Press blast below:

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[1], 105 MPGe[2], 46 mpg combined[3], and Super Ultra-Low Emissions[4]

·      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[5] and in all-electric mode it produces zero emissions. And with the total driving range rated at up to an estimated 560 miles[6], 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

Kia Niro PHEV

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[7], 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.

Feature-Rich

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[8], 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[9] 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[10] 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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31 responses to "Kia Niro PHEV Comes To LA With 26 Miles Of Electric Range"

  1. Ziv says:

    26 miles is kind of short legged, but it looks roomy and is fairly attractive. Can you floor the accelerator when you are electric mode without the gas engine coming on? If you can even get to 3/4 throttle on the electric motor alone, that is kind of decent.
    This looks roomier than the Ford Fusion Energi and has 26 miles of AER vs. the 22 miles of the newer Ford Fusion Energi.
    Baby steps, but this baby is moving in the right direction.

    1. SparkEV says:

      26 miles is more than Prius prime and Niro has more room, seats 5 (vs 4 in prime), and not hideous. Depending on price, this could be Prime killer.

      I know some may say “Prime gets better MPG”, but if the buyer is really after MPG, they’d get Ioniq that has even better MPG (and seats 5, not 4 like Prime). If the pricing is similar, only people getting Prime will be irrational Toyota nuts.

      1. PiP_n_ModelS says:

        The Prime will have Toyota’s reliability behind it (HSD vs 6-speed dual clutch transmission to point one out), and has more/better tech features in it. For instance, the Niro offers Smart Cruise Control, but it appears it doesn’t do Stop-and-Go (you need Kia’s Advanced Smart Cruise Control which isn’t available in the Niro). Toyota’s Safety Sense-P (standard on all trims of the Prime) offers Stop-and-Go cruise control. I will give it to Kia that they offer Apple/Android CarPlay, whereas Toyota still uses their proprietary crap.

      2. john1701a says:

        Comparing any SUV to any hatchback is rather absurd. They have little in common, the vehicle types are simply too different.

        1. Mr. M says:

          A SUV is a hatchback with a small trunk and higher seats. Thats what they look like to me. Every Audi hatchback has more room than the according SUV in the same class. See Q3 to A3 as example.

    2. Lawrence says:

      26 miles is perfect for my mother who likely won’t ever need the engine, which is there fortunately if she forgets to charge. Which I’m sure will happen.

      This is a great vehicle for retirees.

    3. Davek says:

      If you floor it the engine will come on, but it’s not too hard to keep it in electric mode if you want. No haptic pedal though. And no electric heating either! I’ve test driven one in Germany and liked it a lot, but if you can’t drive in the winter on electric power alone then it’s not really a functioning PHEV, imho. That basically killed it for me. Ditto the Ioniq.

      1. john1701a says:

        The heat is entirely supplied by coolant from the gas-engine… really? I was under the impression they just kept it simple, like GM by using old-school resistance. That lack of anything electric would be a huge negative.

        btw, I really like Prime’s ability to run its heat-pump directly from grid electricity. That feature is nice for when I’m packing up at work, about to walk the few blocks to where it is plugged in (to a level-2 charger). Getting there and having it warmed already without using up any battery is a big plus.

  2. Arpe says:

    If they advertise this car in Denmark it will be a bestseller!

    Priced just 3.000 USD more than the Qushqai which is the segment leader in Denmark and with a very impressive equipment package.

    Go Kia!

  3. John says:

    I believe this time period will be looked back on as the ‘Golden Era of Barely Electrics.’

    A wondrous (miserable) time to legacy car manufacturers, who eagerly (grudgingly) embraced (tolerated) the exciting (painful) process of transitioning from the obsolete (cash cow) model of ICE to the welcomed (forced) emergence of EV’s, and who graciously (unwillingly) changed their progressive (myopic) goal(s) from the good of just themselves (just themselves) to a future focused on everyone (just themselves and then their consumers).

  4. Mike says:

    That rage is disappointing. I need at least 30 miles to do my commute. Shame, it was on my short list for spring.

    1. Laurence Rothschild says:

      so you use a little gas,i have a 2017 touring,I’m getting close to 50 miles a gallon

  5. Lou Grinzo says:

    I view a lot of these short- to mid-range PHEVs and BEVs as “on-ramp vehicles”, meaning they give the car companies a foot in the electric door with a relatively easy way to crank up the range as battery prices continue to fall.

    And by “foot in the door” I mean a whole bucket of things: Creating awareness among customers that the company has plug-in vehicles; gaining in-house engineering and support experience; getting their dealers up to speed with electrics; and establishing and developing new supplier relationships.

    While it’s certainly easy and tempting to criticize these companies for being so cautious, I think it’s also fair to say that these companies are taking a sizable step in a direction we want and positioning themselves to do The Right Thing.

    1. James says:

      I like your optimism.

      I tend to lean towards John’s realistic albeit tersely-worded post.

      It’s painful after all these years – from Volt which will be discontinued in 2020 with no replacement in sight, to any real MASS PRODUCED BEV from ICE OEMs that can nudge towards affordable without a tax break.

      I do see PHEVs and EREVs as bridges to the new EV dawn. I prefer a Volt with 53 electric-only miles range – as for me, that’s a point to where 90+% of my driving would be off the dino juice.

      To say the public charging space has a lot to work out is a massive understatement. No worries of range anxiety means a PHEV/EREV with 50-90 miles range and a small gas or diesel range extender still will be a most practical answer for most – 5 to 10 years on from now.

  6. EVShopper says:

    Needs AWD.

  7. wavelet says:

    “Kia stows the battery under the floor and rear seat, so there’s no change in cargo capacity from the hybrid, either.”
    Not true, at least according to the published UK specs:
    Cargo capacity (VDA standard) of the hybrid is 427 liters / 1425 liters with rear seats up/down; on the PHEV, it’s 324 liters / 1322 liters .

    1. Dan says:

      Those numbers may be for the electric version which is also in the works.

  8. Don Zenga says:

    26 mile AER with 50 MPG in FE trim is decent, now the pricing is the important factor. But please note that this vehicle is lot more spacious at 119 cu. ft. and Prius Plugin is much smaller than this.

    1. john1701a says:

      In real-world use, that space doesn’t emerge as a shortcoming or advantage.

      The hidden efficiencies… such as heater type… do though.

      Compare Niro’s resistance to Prime’s heat-pump. That washes away the supposed range advantage.

  9. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Too bad that it is FWD only and it is really short which is really a wagon (not even a tall one).

    1. Davek says:

      And this is a bad thing? Aren’t buyers of this car (and I would have assumed visitors to this site) interested in using less energy? Raising it up means pushing more air out of the way which would kill the already just barely adequate AER. Especially on the highway. I’ve driven the Niro PHEV and it’s plenty tall. If anything I’d want it lowered.

  10. PHEVfan says:

    “Oddly, the Niro PHEV’s fuel economy is worse than the most efficient variant of the existing hybrid.”

    Oddly??? That is pretty standard when you are carrying 6x the battery weight. Ford’s Energi’s have the same issue.

  11. PiP_n_ModelS says:

    I would like to know why Kia and Hyundai went with the 6-speed dual clutch transmissions for their hybrids and plug-in hybrids instead of the Power Split Device planetary gear set found in most other hybrids nowadays (Toyota’s Prius HSD “eCVT”). A family member nearly bought a Kia Niro but chose against it since reviews state the transmission can be clunky.

    1. Ziv says:

      Way back in the day, Ford built and started selling the Ford Escape Hybrid. As gas prices started to go up, so did Escape Hybrid sales. So in 2006 Ford asks Aisin, “Can you sell us more CVT’s next year?” And Aisin, a subsidary of Toyota, says, “Nah, and in fact, we won’t be able to sell you as many next year as we did this year.” Ford actually got nearly enough CVT’s in 2007 but in 2008 they never got the amount they had requested.
      Toyota didn’t want anyone out-hybrid’ing the original.

  12. marshall says:

    If the car needs to run the engine to supply heat to the interior in the winter like the Sonata plug-in, then what’s the point outside of a little better acceleration from a start.

    On top of that, Hyundai can’t seem to supply parts in a reasonable amount of time. So your car is held hostage for up to two months waiting for repairs.

    Plus the technicians either don’t know how to fix them or won’t take the time to troubleshoot any problem to may occur.

  13. john1701a says:

    “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.”

    Prime takes 1h 50m to recharge using my JuiceBox. It seems odd that Niro takes so much longer for just a 0.1 kWh larger pack.

    And is that “9 hours” truly correct? That seems bizarre. 5h 30m is all the longer it takes for Prime… at 12 amps. I wonder if they only include an 8-amp charger with purchase.

    1. marshall says:

      According to ClipplerCreek’s web site, they estimate a Prius Prime takes 2.5 hours to charge from empty on a 3.8 KW or greater EVSE.

      So the question is: is your battery fully discharged or does Toyota hold back some reserve?

      1. john1701a says:

        That comment “from empty” makes no sense. All plug-in vehicles retain a reserve; it’s how they achieve longevity of the pack. Virtually all of them don’t recharge to 100% either, also for longevity.

  14. Scramjett says:

    I was considering this as an alternative to the Outlander PHEV since there hasn’t been a peep from Mitsubishi since September when they announced this month as the month they’d finally start sales. But lackluster cargo capacity and no AWD makes this a deal breaker.

    I’d wait for the Outlander PHEV but considering the fact that it was a no show at the LA Auto Show, it’s probably been delayed…again. Looks like I may have to get a regular old gas mobile for my second trip car.

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