Making its global debut at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, the 2017 Kia Niro offers an attractive crossover design — with a new hybrid powertrain — engineered for a dynamic driving experience while delivering excellent fuel economy. Niro is the first vehicle built on an all-new dedicated eco-car platform that expands Kia’s green car lineup under the EcoDynamics brand. At the heart of Niro is an innovative hybrid system which Kia targets at 50 mpg combined.
Attractive Crossover Design
A joint effort between Kia’s design centers in Irvine, California, and Namyang, Korea, the Niro crossover has an attractive, flowing design with a long roofline and short overhangs. Designed to not look like a typical hybrid, the Niro is intended to be an appealing, efficient crossover-utility vehicle with an attractive design and functionality that will compete against other compact crossovers.
Innovative Hybrid Drivetrain
Niro gets motivation from a new hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.6-liter gasoline direct-injection engine specifically designed for hybrid applications that produces 103 horsepower, combined with a 43-horsepower motor (known as the transmission-mounted electric device or TMED) for a combined output of 146 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Power is delivered to the front wheels through a new 6-speed dual-clutch transmission that delivers a more dynamic driving experience than other CVT hybrid models.
Compact, Lightweight Battery
The hybrid system stores electrical energy in a compact, lightweight 1.56-kWh Lithium Ion Polymer battery located underneath the rear seat to reduce the impact on cargo capacity. The power and energy density of the high-voltage battery allowed engineers to use a smaller gasoline engine to maximize fuel economy.
To maximize efficiency, the new engine combines the Atkinson Cycle combustion process with cooled exhaust gas recirculation, gasoline direct injection and a long-stroke narrow-bore design. Niro also incorporates an exhaust heat recovery system to speed engine warm up by routing the engine coolant through a heat exchanger in the exhaust system.
New Eco-Car Platform
The Niro is built on a new platform specifically designed to accommodate the hybrid-electric drive system. Utilizing 53 percent advanced high strength steel, the strong, lightweight platform employs extensive use of hot-stamping components and industrial joint adhesives to increase rigidity. The 2017 Kia Niro is scheduled to go on sale later this year globally and early in 2017 for the U.S. market.
Modern High-Tech Interior
Niro’s interior features a clean, uncluttered instrument panel and glossy white or black accents. The long wheelbase, wide stance and body height add to interior roominess and allow for an elevated seating position that adds to the crossover appeal. Seats were designed with increased pad density for a more comfortable ride.
Optima Hybrid, Optima Plug-In
In Chicago Kia also debuted the new 2017 Optima Hybrid, which has the same full redesign as the gasoline-powered Optima and a new hybrid powertrain that targets a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy over the previous Optima Hybrid. The new hybrid powertrain combines a 2.0-liter gasoline direct-injection engine that produces 154 horsepower with a 38 kW electric motor and clutch to replace the torque converter, for an estimated combined output of 193 horsepower. Kia also debuted the 2017 Optima Plug-In Hybrid in the Second City as well.