• 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

News: 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid Introduced

26-Mile Electric Driving Range For New Model

At this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show automakers introduced a mixture of environmentally friendly, advanced technology vehicles along with traditional high-performance models appealing to a different market segment. At Clean Fleet Report we think there’s some high performance worth noting in the first group. This is one of several stories that will highlight the most significant news out of the show.

The 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) took a bow at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Thursday, complementing the Korean automaker’s existing Optima PHEV and the Soul EV plug-in vehicles. With an estimated 26 miles of all-electric range, the Niro Plug-in is in the same league as most other plug-in hybrid models like the Toyota Prius Prime (25 miles), Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in (29 miles) and Kia’s own Optima Plug-in (29 miles).

2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

The big difference from the other Niro

When the battery is depleted, the Niro Plug-in automatically switches to gasoline-electric hybrid operation where is obtains an EPA estimated fuel economy of 48 mpg city/44 highway/46 combined, slightly less than Niro Hybrid model. The estimated mile-per-gallon-equivalent rating is 105 MPGe. With a fully charged battery and a full tank of gasoline, Kia estimates a total range of 560 miles.

This is all achieved by pairing an all-aluminum, 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection four-cylinder engine with an 8.9-kWh lithium-polymer battery pack and a 60-horsepower (hp) electric motor with a combined output of 139 hp and 195 pounds-feet of torque. That compares to the regular Niro Hybrid’s 1.56-kWh battery pack and 43-hp motor. The Niro PHEV employs the same six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as the Niro Hybrid. Drivers can choose from several driving modes, including EV mode, Hybrid mode, Eco mode or Sport.

With a Level 2, 240-volt charger, the Niro PHEV can be fully charged in 2.5 hours. Using a Level 1, 120-volt standard home electrical outlet, charging time is around nine hours, making for effective overnight charging at home.

Looks Like the Niro Hybrid

Side by side, the new Kia Niro PHEV and Niro Hybrid are near identical twins. The Niro Plug-in can be spotted by the charging port, which is blended into the driver’s side front fender. There’s also a slight change to the grille along with some blue accents. Not noticeable, in an effort to keep weight down, Kia uses aluminum to construct the hood, hatchback, some suspension parts and the brake calipers.

2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

The plug-in keeps the interior dimensions intract

Inside, the company offers a seven-inch instrument panel display with a digital tachometer. A wide range of safety tech is standard, as is adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking. Kia continues with driver-only air conditioning, which conserves energy by only keeping the driver cool. Although the battery has a larger capacity, it is neatly tucked under the cargo floor and rear seat so the car maintains the same cargo capacity as the Niro hybrid.

When it goes on sale, the Kia Niro Plug-in will be offered in three trim levels: LX, EX and EX Premium. Pricing has not yet been announced, but Kia needs to hurry up—it is expected to roll into showrooms this month, which means any day now. 

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About Author: Larry Hall

Larry E. Hall is the Editor-At-Large at Clean Fleet Report. His interest and passion for automobiles began at age 7, cleaning engine parts for his father, a fleet manager for a regional bakery. He has written about cars and the automobile industry for more than 25 years and has focused his attention on “green” cars and advanced technology vehicles. Larry’s articles have been published by Microsoft’s MSNBC.com and MSN Autos as their alternative vehicles correspondent, and is currently the Senior Editor at HybridCars.com. His work has appeared in metro and suburban newspapers as well as business publications and trade journals. He is the founding president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association and a member of the Motor Press Guild. Larry lives and drives in Olympia Wa. with his wife, Lynne, who shares his passion for cars.

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