Kia is expanding its offering of alternative fuel cars with the introduction of the 2018 Niro Plug-in Hybrid model. The announcement came today at the LA Auto Show as Kia continues to delve deeper into hybrid and EV technology
The Niro is Kia's crossover SUV that will now be available as a plug-in hybrid. To do so, Kia combined an aluminum 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection four-cylinder engine with an 8.9kWh lithium-polymer battery pack and 60 horsepower electric motor. This will deliver an MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) of 105 and an EPA-estimated 48 miles per gallon in the city and 44 miles per gallon on the highway.
In total, if the Niro Plug-In Hybrid is driven using both the electric and gasoline systems, it should get a max range of 560 miles. That will come in a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that can be adjusted to different modes like EV mode, hybrid mode, Eco mode, and Sport mode. Overall, the powertrain will deliver 139 horsepower and 195-pound feet of torque.
"The Niro Plug-in is the exciting next step in Kia's progression toward offering more alternative fuel vehicles by 2020," stated Kia vice president of Kia Motors America Orth Hedrick. "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."
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid is the third plug-in mode from the Kia EcoDynamics sub brand. It is the brand responsible for the all of the alternative fuel vehicles coming from Kia, including EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Just like the hybrid Niro, the Plug-in Hybrid Niro will sport the same design and packaging except for some plug-in staples like the modified grille and hybrid blue exterior accents.
Kia is saying the three available trims of the 2018 Niro Plug-in Hybrid—the LX, EX and EX Premium—will be arriving at dealer showrooms by the end of the year, but it did not mention a starting price.