Kia Debuts Three Hybrids in Chicago that are Green-Car Efficient
Kia Motors unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show three new hybrids, including a stylish Niro hybrid subcompact SUV and two “green” versions of its Optima midsize sedan—the next-generation 2017 Optima Hybrid and the company’s first Optima plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). The three hybrids are being added to Kia’s EcoDynamic sub-brand fleet that will grow to 11 models by 2020 to help the Korean automaker increase its fuel efficiency rating by 25%.
The Niro crossover with a wide, low body and roofline was created by designers in Irvine, CA, and Namyang, Korea, to be an “alluring yet practical” hybrid. It boasts a high-tech interior accented in gloss black and white. Built on a new eco-car platform, the Niro is powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine and electric motor that in tandem produces 146 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. When it arrives in showrooms next year, the Niro is expected to achieve a fuel-economy target of 50 mpg in combined highway/city driving, Kia says.
Kia also debuted its first plug-in hybrid—the 2017 Optima PHEV—packed with new technology including a robust hybrid powertrain and plenty of advanced telematics/infotainment technology that includes more than 30 features. Some exterior design enhancements and a refined interior with a distinctive instrument cluster are also elements of the new Optima Plug-in Hybrid.
Kia’s new plug-in hybrid, available in the United States in the fourth quarter, can travel 27 miles in full-electric mode and has a combined gasoline/electric driving range of 600 miles, according to the automaker. The new PHEV, which features a 9.8-kWh Lithium-ion polymer battery pack that produces nearly 60% more energy output, can be fully charged in 3 hours with a 240-volt charger. Recharging with a 120-volt charger takes nearly 9 hours, the company says.
Kia also showed off its next-generation 2017 Optima Hybrid sedan, with a new hybrid powertrain for improved performance. Kia says the new Optima Hybrid is 10% more fuel efficient than the prior model. The sleeker, more aerodynamic 2017 model also includes more advanced driver-assistance technologies. Total combined output for the 2017 Optima Hybrid’s gasoline engine and electric motor is estimated at 193 horsepower. The Optima midsize sedan is Kia’s second-highest-volume model line after the Kia Soul.