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Unread 2013-08-10, 08:27 AM   #1
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Default Kia teases new compact crossover concept for IAA




Kia B-segment concept teaser photo 09.08.2013

Will be unveiled on September 10

Kia has announced plans to reveal a B-segment concept next month at 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Described as a "dramatic concept", the car will serve as a preview for a possible upcoming competitor in the B-segment. In other words, we are dealing with a compact crossover judging by the slightly increased ride height.
No further details have been released, but from these two teaser photos we notice the Nissan Juke rival will wear Kia's corporate grille together with those "ice-cube" LED daytime running lights and fog lights we've seen on the cee'd GT / pro_cee'd GT. There's also a sculpted hood, bulging wheel arches, wraparound headlights and what appears to be a carbon fiber front lip spoiler.
The futuristic interior cabin adopts a minimalistic approach with only a few switches and knobs, along with a flat-bottomed steering wheel featuring paddle shifters. Judging by the green border of the front grille, the concept probably has a hybrid or electric powertrain.




Further info will be available on September 10 when the car will be unveiled at IAA.
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Unread 2013-08-29, 04:31 PM   #2
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Kia reveals Niro concept in Frankfurt, by Frankfurt and for Frankfurt








Although the Frankfurt Motor Show may be home turf to a half dozen German automakers, Kia won't have far to go when it wheels its new concept over to the Messe for the exposition in a couple of weeks. That's because the show car you see here was designed less than a kilometer away from the convention center at Kia's European design center.

It's called the Niro, and it's designed to gauge public interest – particularly the European public's – for a potential new B-segment model. Kia's not saying much else about the project, only that it was directed by its chief European designer Gregory Guillaume, that it "combines a mischievous character in a clearly robust and substantial yet stylish bodyshape" and that it incorporates stainless steel and other materials into its shape.

What we can see from the images (which you can view in the gallery above) distributed with the press release (below) is a compact crossover coupe with Kia's trademark grille (accented with neon yellow), a contrasting greenhouse, and butterfly doors to access a molded cockpit with widescreen infotainment display. For more than that, though, we'll have to wait until the concept is revealed in Frankfurt on September 10.
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Unread 2015-11-16, 10:04 AM   #3
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Kia Niro hybrid crossover first teasers are out ahead of 2016 launch


Kia Niro hybrid crossover first teasers are out ahead of 2016 launch

Kia South Korea has released a couple of teaser images of the Niro hybrid crossover set to be launched in the first half of 2016.
Previewed by a namesake concept back in 2013, the Niro is just about ready to show its production face as Kia has released a couple of teaser images along with preliminary technical specifications concerning their hybrid crossover. As we suspected, it will have the same hardware arrangement as Hyundai’s Prius fighter, so it will team up a four-cylinder 1.6-liter naturally aspirated engine to an electric motor, a six-speed dual clutch gearbox, and a 1.56 kWh battery pack.
The conventional engine will have a thermal efficiency of 40% and is going to deliver 105 PS (77 kW) and 147 Nm (108 lb-ft). Kia says the Niro will be a hybrid, but most likely the model will also receive a plug-in hybrid version later on during its life cycle as part of the company’s objective to increase average fuel economy across the range by 25% until the end of the decade.
Unlike the concept which had a three-door configuration, the production version will adopt a more practical five-door layout and will also have a larger footprint. Like with pretty much all teasers nowadays, these design sketches don’t tell the whole truth, but from what we can see so far it’s going to look pretty sleek by adopting a relatively low roofline and a prominent roof spoiler.
The headlights send out a Jaguar F-Type vibe while the rear end has an aluminum underbody protection and sizable taillights that extend onto the tailgate. Kia says all of the body panels have been aerodynamically optimized to boost efficiency and they also added plastic body cladding around the wheel arches along with side mouldings to make the Niro look somewhat rugged.
Set to be a global model, the Kia Niro is programmed to go on sale in the first half of next year.
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Unread 2016-01-11, 04:40 PM   #4
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Kia teases Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle ahead of Chicago debut


Kia has released a couple of teaser images of its upcoming crossover bound to receive a dedicated hybrid powertrain.
We’ve seen it in numerous spy photos last year and Kia is now putting the finishing touches on what it calls a Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV). The “Niro” moniker isn’t exactly new as the company used it on a concept revealed back in 2013. The latest teasers are somewhat more revealing than the sketches published a couple of months ago and show a compact crossover borrowing some styling cues from the 2017 Sportage.
While the styling may seem familiar, the Niro is an all-new model riding on its own platform and will be able to achieve a sub-90 g/km CO2 rating. Kia isn’t saying a word about the hardware arrangement, but it does mention it’s a newly developed gasoline-electric downsized hybrid powertrain.
It’s safe to assume it will have the same setup as the Hyundai IONIQ, so it will likely combine a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. The combustion engine is going to have 103 horsepower and 108 pound-feet of torque, whereas the electric motor will be rated at 43 hp and 125 lb-ft.
We’ll have to wait until next month for the Chicago Auto Show to find out whether our predictions are correct.
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Unread 2016-01-15, 01:16 PM   #5
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2017 Kia Niro Spy Shots










Kia has confirmed it will unveil a new dedicated hybrid model called the Niro at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show on next month. The automaker has been dropping a number of teaser shots in the lead up to the reveal but our spy shots give us a good idea of what the vehicle will be like out on the road.
First previewed as a concept car in 2013, the production model shares little with the radical show car apart from its name. Kia is calling the Niro a “hybrid utility vehicle” though judging from the shots the vehicle is more of a tallish hatch about the size of a Volkswagen Golf. In fact, engineers are even using a Golf GTE plug-in hybrid as a benchmark.
The Golf GTE shares a powertrain with the Audi A3 e-tron Sportback on sale in these parts. The powertrain combines a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a combined output of 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque plus an electric driving range of approximately 31 miles on the European test cycle.
(In the U.S. version of the A3 e-tron, however, that electric range is rated at 16 or 17 miles--likely a more realistic figure for most drivers.)



It’s not clear what the Niro will be packing. All Kia will say is that the vehicle has been designed around a bespoke platform featuring a “specific set of environmentally-conscious technologies,” some of which are next-generation powertrains. It’s likely we’ll see some technology borrowed from the upcoming dedicated hybrid from sister brand Hyundai, the 2017 Ioniq.
Stay tuned for the debut of the Kia Niro at the Chicago Auto Show, which gets underway February 11. Sales should start in the second half of the year, which will likely see the vehicle arrive as a 2017 model.
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Unread 2016-02-11, 11:59 AM   #6
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Kia Niro crossover is the company's first dedicated hybrid




Kia arrives in Chicago this week with the Niro, an all-new hybrid crossover joining the company's growing electrified lineup. It's not Kia's first hybrid, but it is the first dedicated hybrid, designed from the ground up with gasoline-electric power.

Following the Niro concept from the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show and the teaser images that followed, the production Niro joins the Soul EV and Optima Hybrid in the automaker's EcoDynamics line. Though full specifications and dimensions have yet to be revealed, the Niro rides on a 106-inch wheelbase to slot it size-wise in between the smaller Sportage and larger Sorento.

The parallel hybrid powertrain mirrors that of the Ioniq – which is, in turn, parent company Hyundai's first dedicated hybrid and which we're not expecting to see in person until next month. The system pairs a 1.6-liter four with an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery, and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The sum total is 146 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, and a projected fuel-consumption rating of 50 miles per gallon.

According to Kia's product guru Orth Hedrick, the company has tuned the Niro for "the best combination of outstanding mpg, an engaging driving experience, utility, and most importantly, a stunning design that doesn't shout 'hybrid'." Of course the taller, less streamlined form means it won't cut through the air like a more streamlined sedan or hatchback would, but it's still much slipperier than most crossovers: its drag coefficient of 0.29 comes a lot closer to the Ioniq's 0.24 than it does to the Soul EV's 0.35.

We'll wait to see it in person before we decide how that streamlined crossover styling comes across. But for now you can scope out the full details released thus far in the press release below.

Quote:
ALL-NEW 2017 NIRO HYBRID UTILITY VEHICLE ARRIVES IN THE WINDY CITY FOR GLOBAL DEBUT AT CHICAGO AUTO SHOW
Kia's Hybrid Utility Vehicle Boasts a Number of Firsts for the Brand, Including an All-New, Dedicated Eco-Car Platform and Unique Hybrid System


• Niro is a no-compromise package, maintaining the style and appeal of a utility vehicle while offering outstanding fuel economy with a targeted 50 mpg combined
• Niro challenges the hybrid-electric segment with an innovative hybrid system that directly contributes to a dynamic driving experience

CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2016 – A key component to Kia Motors' Green Car Roadmap was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show today as Kia Motors America (KMA) hosted the global debut of the all-new 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV). A no-compromise vehicle that combines driving enjoyment with eye-catching design, functional utility and hybrid efficiency, the all-new Niro strikes the perfect balance for today's consumers and stakes claim to a unique position between the hybrid-electric vehicle and CUV segments.

"The Niro hits the sweet spot by offering the best combination of outstanding mpg, an engaging driving experience, utility, and most importantly, a stunning design that doesn't shout 'hybrid,'" said Orth Hedrick, vice president product planning KMA. "The subcompact CUV market continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the world, and the Niro offers a uniquely alluring yet practical package that consumers haven't seen before."

The Niro is yet another vehicle introduced under the Kia Motors EcoDynamics environmentally friendly sub-brand and represents a number of firsts. While it was preceded by clean mobility products such as the Optima Hybrid and Soul EV, Niro is the first Kia to make use of an all-new, dedicated eco-car platform and is an important next step on the path to nearly tripling the brand's global green car line-up by 2020.

An "Un-Hybrid" Design

Designed at Kia's design centers in Irvine, California, and Namyang, Korea, the Niro demonstrates that owners don't have to sacrifice emotionally engaging design or functional utility in the name of efficiency. The HUV's design language is atypical of a hybrid, appearing strong and confident with subtly sculpted surfaces offset by robust styling cues. The Niro sports wide and low proportions with a long roofline and short overhangs that give it an overall athletic profile. Up front, the Niro bears a familiar front fascia highlighted by Kia's signature grille and flanked by aggressively shaped headlights that accentuate the Niro's strong shoulders. Contours on the hood lend visual interest and, along with voluminous wheel arches, rocker cladding, roof rails, and rear skid plate, contribute to a sporty look. Although the Niro has a cohesive crossover theme, it was designed with aerodynamics in mind, with its carefully shaped bodywork contributing to a relatively slippery coefficient of drag of .29.

Stepping inside the Niro reveals an inviting, modern, and high-tech interior. Glossy white or black accents underline the HUV's straightforward theme. The instrument panel is uncluttered and clean, with colorful and informative gauges at the forefront and perfectly positioned primary and secondary controls falling readily to hand. Interior roominess comes by way of the Niro's 106.3-inch wheelbase, body height, and wide stance, which affords ample leg-, head- and shoulder-room. Seats with increased pad density in the cushions ensure a comfortable ride, helping to prevent fatigue on longer trips. With its crossover-like proportions, the Niro boasts an elevated seating position much like the Kia Soul, providing drivers with a more commanding view of the road as well as easy ingress and egress. While the clever packaging of the high voltage battery assists in delivering a desirable driving experience, its location underneath the rear seats also increases cabin and cargo space and allows a flat load floor.

In addition to spaciousness and comfort, ensuring a quiet interior environment was also a key development focus for engineers. Copious insulation in the Niro's front structure, optimized suspension bushing stiffness, careful body sealing, and application of expanding foam inside the A- and B-pillars all prevent road and tire noise from entering the cabin. Furthermore, acoustic windshield glass and carefully shaped side mirrors mitigate wind noise.

Engineers also worked hard to address the innate issues often associated with hybrid powertrains. To that end, they minimized system noise and vibration at the source with specially designed engine mounts, equal-length driveshafts, and even added a damper inside the steering wheel hub to minimize vibrations felt in the steering wheel. Other NVH measures include a special embossed foam in the floor (under the carpet), and a dense insulating pad underneath the hood also help to keep unwanted noise to a minimum.

Strong and Light Core

The platform underpinning the Niro has been specifically engineered to accommodate the unique gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, and with 53 percent of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS), including reinforcement in the A- and B-pillars as well as the roof rails, it is both a lightweight and durable structure. Extensive use of hot-stamped components and industrial joint adhesive increase torsional rigidity and structural integrity. As such, engineers are targeting the Niro to earn top honors from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).

Weight reduction was a critical Niro development aspect, and in addition to the body, AHSS was also used to engineer other elements, including novel lightweight seat frames. Further, engineers were able to bring down the 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. Even the parking brake pedal contributes to the weight savings through the use of fiber-reinforced plastic construction. Finally, the engineers eliminated the traditional 12-volt battery to reduce weight, instead, utilizing the high-voltage lithium-ion polymer battery.

Uniquely Engineered Hybrid Powertrain

Motivating the Niro is a highly efficient and engaging powertrain starting with an all-new, state-of-the-art Kappa 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine, engineered specifically for hybrid applications. Making 103 horsepower, the new engine marks the first combination of the Atkinson Cycle, cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), GDI and a long-stroke-narrow-bore specification to maximize efficiency. Efficiency and emissions are further improved via the Niro's exhaust heat recovery system, which speeds engine warm-up by routing coolant to a heat exchanger in the exhaust system. A 43-hp tractive motor, known as the transmission-mounted electric device (TMED), works in tandem with the gasoline engine to produce a robust 146 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque.

That power is transmitted through a newly developed, second-generation six-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), which not only boosts efficiency but is also a key factor to the Niro's great driving experience. The transmission delivers smooth, quick shifts for a natural and spirited feel in stark contrast to that of other hybrids equipped with continuously variable transmissions. Bringing the whole system together is a compact and lightweight 1.56-kWh Lithium Ion Polymer battery located underneath the rear seat. Because the high-voltage battery is both power and energy dense, engineers were able to use the downsized gasoline engine to maximize fuel economy and reduce emissions.

With its unique combination of the lightweight TMED, proven GDI and Atkinson Cycle technology in the internal combustion engine, along with the DCT providing a dynamic driving experience, the Niro offers enjoyment and efficiency all in one, targeting a combined fuel efficiency rating of 50 mpg.

Driving Fun

The Niro's parallel and simplified hybrid system creates seamless transitions of power delivered to the front wheels, resulting in a very un-hybrid-like driving experience. The hybrid system is neither intrusive nor obvious. The Niro accelerates quickly off the line and continues its smooth power delivery, inspiring driver confidence in everyday driving maneuvers like merging onto the highway.

Special attention was also paid to brake feel. Applying lessons learned through development of two generations of Optima Hybrids as well as the fully electric Soul EV, Kia engineers designed the Niro's regenerative system to seamlessly blend in hydraulic friction braking. Consequently, deceleration feels more consistent and linear than other hybrids.

Advanced Hybrid Tech

Like the rest of Kia's lineup, the Niro will be offered with a suite of advanced driver assistance and convenience technologies. Familiar features that will be available on the HUV include Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist; Advanced Smart Cruise Control; Lane Departure Warning; and Autonomous Emergency Braking.

All-new Eco-DAS (Driver Assistance System) features Kia's first application of Coasting Guide and Predictive Energy Control. The Coasting Guide aims at maximizing fuel economy by essentially coaching the driver on when to coast and brake. Predictive Energy Control, meanwhile, uses the navigation system and cruise control to anticipate topographical changes on the road ahead and actively manage energy flow, seamlessly determining when its best to recharge the battery and when its best to expend stored energy to optimize overall efficiency. Similar systems have been seen on German luxury makes, but Kia's system is the first in the industry to monitor and adjust for both ascending and descending scenarios. Other notable features include Smart Air Intake, which reduces drag by carefully managing the intake of outside air for the HVAC system, and also an accompanying Auto Defog system that prevents condensation from building on the glass by monitoring cabin air conditions to manage the cycling of the A/C compressor.

Kia's award-winning infotainment and telematics system aims to keep Niro drivers connected at all times, with the newest version, UVO3, trickling down from the all-new 2017 Sportage. Complete with Androidv Auto™, Applevi CarPlay®, and UVO eServices featuring 14 telematics services, the enhanced system features up to 8 GB of music storage, access to onscreen apps such as Pandora®vii and Soundhound and Wi-Fi tethering capability. All this is displayed on a 7-inch capacitive touch screen.
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Unread 2016-02-12, 08:43 AM   #7
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The 2017 Kia Niro Will Teach You To Drive Smoother




Did you know Kia has an “environmentally friendly sub-brand” called EcoDynamics? I didn’t either, and apparently that’s kind of the point of the new Niro. Being a “subtle hybrid” is the car’s main objective, but that’s actually not its coolest feature.


The 2017 Kia Niro only vaguely resembles the Niro concept we first heard about three years ago, but it’s a pretty sharp looking little wagon. Sort of reminds me of a softer-looking four-door Mini. Kia’s Vice President of Product Planning calls it “a stunning design that doesn’t shout ‘hybrid,’” in a press release.
It’s also billed as fun to drive, with a 1.6 liter gasoline engine running in tandem with “a 43-hp tractive motor, known as the transmission-mounted electric device (TMED)” to produce a total output of 146 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque.


A six-speed dual-clutch transmission puts all that gasoline and lithium-ion polymer battery-supplied power to the wheels. Apparently the fun is in there. Somewhere.
More realistically (relevantly?), the powertrain is supposed be able to hit 50 MPG with your help.

Kia’s launching a new feature called Eco-DAS (Driver Assistance System) with a Coasting Guide and Predictive Energy Control. It’s going to teach you how to drive real smooth-like, as the company explains:
“The Coasting Guide aims at maximizing fuel economy by essentially coaching the driver on when to coast and brake. Predictive Energy Control, meanwhile, uses the navigation system and cruise control to anticipate topographical changes on the road ahead and actively manage energy flow, seamlessly determining when its best to recharge the battery and when its best to expend stored energy to optimize overall efficiency.”
We’ve had realtime fuel economy gauges in cars for decades, but I love Kia’s initiative here for trying to treat a source of poor fuel economy rather than the symptoms.
Seems like everybody on the road here in Los Angeles is guilty of riding the throttle right up to stop signs, and booting it again as soon as a light goes green. If the Kia Niro can do anything to make people cut that shit out, I’m all for it.

Make the most of your opportunities to release the throttle, every component of your car and your wallet will thank you.
Besides hybrid power and some instructional gauges to help people drive smoother, the Niro supposedly uses lighter components and adhesives wherever possible. Though Kia would like me to assure you “engineers are targeting the Niro to earn top honors from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).”
Prices have yet to be announced, but on paper and pictures the 2017 Niro looks like a practical and efficient way to get a few people and items around town. Not sure a car that tells you to coast will be able to deliver on the promise of being “fun to drive” but I like the idea of cheap and efficient transportation as much as the next city slicker.

Why do I like this design so much?
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Unread 2016-11-13, 05:31 PM   #8
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Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid To Gain e-4WD system


Some exciting news to report in the Kia world, as we have learned that the new Kia Niro hybrid / plug-in hybrid will be offered as an AWD model.
It should be noted that this is not the AWD system that you might be used to, but rather the electric 4WD system that has been developed by Hyundai Wia, a South Korean automotive parts maker tied to the Hyundai-Kia group.
Kia Niro e-4WD system

In a standard 4WD system, you need a shaft and a transfer case to send power to the rear wheels, which results in a reduction of interior luggage space, as well as poorer fuel efficiency.
The E-4WD system uses an electric motor mounted between the rear wheels to deliver that power.
The positioning and size of this unit means that more cargo space is freed up inside, and improves fuel efficiency and leg room.
What is e-4WD and how it works


The electric 4WD systems are relatively new technology, and currently only seen in a small number of vehicles.
The automakers that do use this system usually do so in hybrid plug-in models.
Some of the vehicles you will find E-4WD in include the Volvo XC90 plug-in, BMW i8, Lexus RX hybrid, and Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV.
As plug-in hybrid models become more common, so will this system.
To be used in a range of Kia, Hyundai vehicles

Don’t expect the use of the e-4WD system in the Kia Niro plug-in hybrid to be the last time that we see the Koreans use it, as it will almost certainly show up in other Hyundai and Kia models.
It would make sense for the Kia Sportage and the Sorento SUV’s to start using the system, and it may also end up in the next-generation Soul crossover vehicle.
After all, the Soul Trail’ster concept vehicle from last year had this system fitted.
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Unread 2016-12-15, 11:40 AM   #9
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Kia Niro traverses US on 4.1 tanks of gas, sets world record





Kia's 2017 Niro has set a Guinness World Record for the lowest hybrid fuel consumption driving across the USA from coast to coast.


The Niro EX started at Los Angeles City Hall, eventually arriving at New York City Hall in downtown Manhattan after spending 3,715 miles on the road. The trip was completed with just 4.1 tanks of fuel, or 48.5 gallons.

The new record-setting average fuel efficiency is 76.6 mpg, significantly higher than the Niro's EPA-estimated 49-mpg highway rating. Kia suggests the Niro was not altered in any way for the trip.

The Niro combines Kia's 1.6-liter Kappa four-cylinder engine and a transmission-mounted electric motor, providing a combined 146 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Interestingly, the record-setting mpg was achieved using the crossover's standard six-speed dual-clutch transmission -- not a CVT or eight+ gears found in many other efficiency-focused vehicles.

The company suggests the Niro will land in showrooms by the first quarter of 2017, however pricing remains unclear.






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Unread 2016-12-19, 11:20 PM   #10
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First Drive Review
2017 Kia Niro

One hybrid that doesn't flaunt it.




Midway through their second decade, hybrids have reached a critical juncture in the United States. While their technology is going to become increasingly important as automakers push to meet regulatory targets, gas prices (adjusted for inflation) are at their lowest consistent point since 2003.

The latest Toyota Prius has embraced “Space Oddity” styling, but that doesn’t appear to be spurring sales of that hybrid icon. The new Kia Niro, on the other hand, looks like the kind of vehicle that can inspire Americans to trade in their compact or mid-size sedans. The Niro is an approachable and practical, crossover-like hatchback—one that just happens to have a hybrid powertrain and EPA city ratings of up to 52 mpg. Refreshingly straightforward, it has no unfortunate packaging concessions, no bizarre styling, and no weird controls that are different just for the sake of being different (we’re looking at you, Prius shifter).
VIEW PHOTOS



Blending In

The Niro is built on a dedicated compact hybrid-vehicle platform shared with the Hyundai Ioniq. However, while the Ioniq sticks with a Prius-like Kamm-back profile designed to squeeze the last tenth of a mile out of every gallon of gasoline, the Niro trades off some aerodynamic efficiency for greater passenger and cargo space. For the U.S. market especially, we think Kia made a smart choice. From across the parking lot, the Niro looks like a crossover SUV. Step closer, and it’s clearly lower and more wagonlike.

It’s a slightly higher-riding alternative to the Toyota Corolla iM or the Ford Focus hatchback, yet it’s lower and more squat than many small crossovers such as the Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, or Fiat 500X. Seat height is about an inch and a half higher than that of a typical compact sedan, according to Kia, and slightly lower than the Soul’s—perfect for easy entry and exit. There’s enough headroom and legroom in back for tall adults, and the rear seatbacks flip forward, creating a flat cargo floor.
Eco Every Time

The Niro, like Kia’s Optima hybrid, has a four-cylinder engine and a single AC electric motor/generator integrated within a six-speed automatic transaxle. But much is different about both the engine and the gearbox. The engine is a new, Atkinson-cycle 1.6-liter four-cylinder with exhaust-heat recovery and dual cooling circuits for quickly warming up the cylinder head. It makes 104 horsepower and 109 lb-ft of torque, and Kia claims it operates with 40 percent thermal efficiency, a lofty mark on that scale. The six-speed is a dual-clutch unit, with two hydraulically actuated multiplate dry clutches finessing launches and shifts. The combined system output to the front wheels is 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. In case you missed any previous hints that this is not a rugged SUV, note that all-wheel drive is missing from the lineup, and there are no plans to add it.
VIEW PHOTOS



Kia suggests that the dual-clutch gearbox at the core of the Niro’s powertrain layout makes for a more engaging driving experience. But with every startup and shift into drive, the Niro defaults to its Eco mode—a setting that prefers higher gears, delivers sluggish downshifts, and in which stabs of the accelerator bring a long pause before anything happens. Start off gingerly enough to avoid waking the gasoline engine and you’ll probably be irritating the traffic behind. The Niro is fairly aggressive about shutting down the gasoline engine when you’re crawling along in dense traffic or in city driving at less than 30 mph or so.
Sliding the shift lever over to the left engages the Niro’s perkier Sport mode, with somewhat firmer steering, sharper accelerator response, and a dramatically different shift schedule. You’ll pay a mileage penalty using that mode, as it keeps the engine running the vast majority of the time. And with a zero-to-60-mph time expected to be on the far side of the 10-second mark—about the same or slightly slower than the Prius—the Niro still isn’t quick.
The one drivability aspect we found a little off-putting was the complete lack of engine braking. In Sport, you can pull the shifter back to downshift a gear or two—to manage speed down a long grade, for instance. You’ll hear the engine revving higher, but there’s no significant deceleration. Nor is there any sign of increased regenerative braking on the in-dash readout.
VIEW PHOTOS



We also experienced a few powertrain judders and uncouth transmission sounds. Unlike Toyota, Hyundai/Kia doesn’t have 20 years of experience with hybrid-system software mapping, and it can show in that way. That said, the Korean companies have made tremendous progress in hybrid drivability in a relatively short period—including the Niro’s great pedal feel blending regenerative and mechanical braking.
The Niro also exhibits good ride, handling, and NVH qualities. Although it doesn’t feel overtly sporty, on the South Texas back roads where we drove the Niro, we found good body control and a lack of the queasy rebound moments that you find in some crossovers. The steering is nicely weighted and requires very few corrections to maintain a straight path on the highway. A rubber-isolated front subframe helps keep vibrations and harshness from reaching the cabin, and all Niro models have an acoustically insulated windshield.
No hybrid would be complete without some eco-geek goodies, although the Niro generally keeps such things rather subtle. Grille shutters automatically close at approximately 35 mph to diminish drag, and the Niro has a host of underbody airflow-smoothing items, including an air deflector for the muffler. The available navigation system accesses GPS data for road topography and can advise the driver when to lift off the gas—such as when going down hills or exiting freeway ramps—and can direct the powertrain to shunt electrons to precharging the battery pack in anticipation of long uphill grades.
VIEW PHOTOS



It all adds up to exemplary fuel-economy ratings: 52 mpg city and 49 mpg highway for the miserly FE version, 51/46 mpg for the LX and EX models at the heart of the lineup, and 46/40 mpg for the Touring models we drove. That’s a significant difference in mileage across versions with seemingly minor differences; Kia says that all of the core hybrid components remain the same but point to the Touring’s nearly 170 pounds of extra equipment and wider tires (225/45R-18 versus 205/60R-16).
The Niro will start reaching U.S. dealerships in January. All models get a rearview camera and a 7.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Compared with the more affordable LX, the EX model makes a significant step up in terms of interior comforts, adding standard heated front seats, rear A/C vents, upgraded trim, and an available sunroof. Touring models upgrade their audio significantly with an eight-speaker Harman/Kardon system and also get power front seats and leather upholstery. Adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking are among the features available on top EX and Touring models.
As with the Hyundai Ioniq, this hybrid version is only one iteration of Kia’s green machine. A plug-in-hybrid Niro is due to arrive next September, and an all-electric variant is expected to complete the family, likely in early 2018.
In the meantime, those who choose a Niro because it is the size and shape they want probably will find a lot of value in this model’s generally pleasant driving experience and roomy interior—not to mention a lot more monetary value should gas prices rise.
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Unread 2016-12-20, 06:02 PM   #11
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The anti-Prius | 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid First Drive










































  • Image Credit: Kia



  • Engine
    1.6-liter I4 + Electric Motor
  • Power
    139 HP/195 LB-FT
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    Front-Wheel Drive
  • Curb Weight
    3106–3274 LBS
  • Seating
    5
  • Cargo
    19.4 / 54.5 CU FT
  • MPG
    46–52 City / 40–49 HWY
  • Base Price
    $24,000 (est.)


The 2017 Kia Niro is a significant model for the brand. It's the company's first car designed from the get-go to be a hybrid. And as Kia's VP of product planning explains, it's helping lead the company's push to improve fuel economy by 25 percent across the board. So it's kind of funny that almost everything about this car reads as "conventional" or simply "normal."

There are exceptions to this. Under the attractive – if not adventurous – skin is some interesting technology. Most of the mechanicals are shared with the upcoming Hyundai Ioniq, including the direct-injected 1.6-liter inline-four and electric motor that send power to the front wheels. The powertrain makes a combined 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Kia also implemented various aerodynamic and weight aids to make the most of the engine and motor. The Niro features air curtains, a rear spoiler, and active air shutters to help achieve a 0.29 coefficient of drag, and the hood, hatch, brake calipers, and some suspension components are all made of aluminum. Plus, when ordered with navigation, the Niro will provide tips on driving more efficiently, and will use topographical information to use electric power in the most efficient manner.

The various bits of fuel-maximizing technology mean the Niro manages Prius-like fuel economy ratings of 52 mpg in the city, 49 on the highway, and 50 combined. That's only for the base FE model, though. Moving up to the slightly better-equipped LX and EX models yields a small decrease to 51 city, 46 highway, and 49 overall. If you opt for the Touring model, shown here, because you want all the bells and whistles, be ready to sacrifice more mileage – it only manages 46 city, 40 highway, and 43 overall. Kia says this is due to the increased weight of the standard features, different roof rails that change the aerodynamic profile, and the larger, wider 18-inch wheels and tires that increase the rotational mass and rolling resistance.



All of the effort Kia put into making the Niro a highly efficient Prius fighter seems to have been matched by an effort to make the car appear as normal as possible and give it the broadest appeal. So, no polarizing looks like on the latest Prius and Prius Prime. Glancing at it, you'd say the Niro is just another crossover. The greenhouse looks like a scaled-down version of the Sorento's. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since the larger Kia crossover is fairly handsome. The Niro's scowling headlights and hood scallops are sharp, too. But the Niro does have an air of anonymity, and nothing about it (aside from some badges) shouts hybrid or efficient. In that way it's like the anti-Prius.

The same goes for the inside. Forget glossy white plastics, big touchscreens, and funky shifters. We've got an interior that wouldn't look out of place in any other Kia. It's low and wide, and has good fit and finish. There are some cheap plastics here and there, but they're textured nicely and kept to areas of the dash that you won't be touching often. Only the gauge cluster looks mildly futuristic, with its power/economy meter. Being a crossover of sorts, the Niro also has a high seating position that, coupled with the low dash, provides good forward visibility. The conventional hatchback shape also means that the Niro has a healthy amount of cargo space. With the rear seats up, it offers 19.4 cubic feet of space, and 54.5 with them down. There's even a run-of-the-mill T-handle shifter inside connected to a mostly conventional transmission. The Niro packs its electric motor in a six-speed dual-clutch transmission instead of a CVT-esque arrangement like many other hybrids. The 1.56-kWh battery pack is hidden under the rear seat and doesn't cut into cargo room – an advantage of Kia designing this platform for use as a hybrid from the start.



The theme of the Niro seems to be fancy technology in a plain, palatable package. The driving experience certainly backs that up. The transmission works pretty well, and certainly feels more like what you find in the average automobile. It isn't lightning fast, but is still generally smooth and responds promptly enough in both automatic and manual mode. Considering the transmission has actual gears and a manual shift mode, it would be nice to have a tachometer to judge when best to request a shift. As a bit of a workaround, you can drop the shifter into the Sport gate, pick a gear to engage manual shifting, and let it upshift on its own at what is presumably redline.

The powertrain is acceptably peppy as well. It's not going to blow you away, but it sets off with solid pace, thanks in part to the electric motor's immediate torque. And in Sport mode, the throttle is responsive and the transmission holds gears longer. Unfortunately, the gas engine is not a refined piece of machinery, and you hear a lot from it in the Sport mode. It buzzes and moans at and near wide-open throttle. Because of all this, you'll probably just want to leave the shifter in Drive.

Another reason to avoid Sport mode is that it also affects steering. The Niro actually has fairly pleasant steering in the default driving mode. It's weighted nicely and resistance builds up naturally. Like so many modern steering systems, feedback is mostly absent, but occasionally you'll feel a kernel of information work up through the column. This changes when Sport mode is engaged. The weight increases noticeably, and unfortunately it just feels artificial. It also seems to do away with any faint feedback that may have made it to your fingertips otherwise.



The Niro is certainly competent in corners, feeling plenty stable, but it's not going to have you seeking out twisty roads. There is some noticeable body roll, and it doesn't turn in eagerly. The ride is generally good, and very little noise makes it into the cockpit. And while bumps don't upset the handling, they are felt in the cabin; larger imperfections are a bit rough, and small bumps and irregularities can leave the car feeling a tad jittery. It is possible this is primarily an issue on the Touring model, the only version available on our drive, as it has a slightly different suspension tune to handle the larger wheels and lower-profile tires. The FE, LX, and EX models might have a more composed ride thanks to different suspension calibration and taller sidewalls on 16-inch wheels. That said, Kia tends to tune its suspensions on the stiff side, and there is the weight of the hybrid components to contend with.

Kia has done an excellent job of eliminating one of the most common complaints with hybrids: inconsistent brake-pedal feel. Because hybrids typically use blended brake systems that combine regenerative and mechanical power that can vary when pressing the pedal, the response can feel a bit odd and make judging the amount of pressure needed difficult. That issue is nonexistent in the Niro. Though feedback is low, the resistance of the pedal is good and always steady. We'd like it to be firmer, but the average driver shouldn't have any issues with it.



The Niro's price goes along with the rest of its mainstream palatability. Kia hasn't set final pricing yet, but we're told that base models will start at around $24,000, which would put the Niro just under the $25,065 price of the base Prius. Touring models should top out around $32,000. If the Niro sounds like the car for you, you'll be able to pick one up this January. And, if you can wait a while longer, Kia will be launching a plug-in version at the end of 2017 that will have an electric range of about 25 miles. That model will likely cost more, but available tax credits may offset all or part of the price increase.

Taken as a whole, the Niro is a solid car. It's not outstanding, and it's not horrible; it's good. It looks handsome enough, it rides comfortably enough, it handles well enough, and most important for some, it does a good job of hiding the fact that it's a hybrid at all. It's best thought of as a competent and competitive crossover that happens to get roughly 50 mpg if you go easy on the options. There are crossovers and hybrids that are sportier, more comfortable, or more striking looking. But for many people, the Niro will be just about perfect, giving them the crossover look and feel they desire with a measure of utility, while also delivering excellent fuel economy. That combination is at least noticeable.
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Last edited by JDLM; 2016-12-20 at 06:29 PM..
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Unread 2017-01-24, 09:59 PM   #12
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2017 Kia Niro hybrid's $23,786 price undercuts the Toyota Prius

There's also a newly announced Launch Edition for $28,895.





We're close to the commercial launch of Kia's hybrid crossover, the pointless-record-breaking but decidedly "solid" Niro. The ad campaign has begun with Melissa McCarthy voicing the TV spots, and with the Super Bowl tease already in full swing, curious customers are going to want to know what they'll have to shell out for the fuel-sipping family car. Kia has announced that the Niro will start at a base MSRP of $23,785.

The 50 mpg (combined) Niro FE's sub-$24k price includes 16-inch wheels, keyless entry, a seven-inch touchscreen display with rearview camera, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The $24,095 LX adds push-button start, roof rails, and LED rear lighting. The LX also offers the $1,450 Advanced Technology Package, adding forward collision and lane departure warnings, and autonomous emergency braking.

At $26,595, the EX provides heated seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED daytime running lights, fog lights, and heated power folding mirrors. It also includes a few driver assistance features, such as blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assist. A $2,300 Advanced Technology Package includes a power sunroof, smart cruise control, the collision and lane departure warnings, and autonomous emergency braking.

Just below the Touring trim is the Launch Edition at $28,895. It comes in either Snow White Pearl or Aurora Black Pearl paint with a unique metallic grille and Hyper Gray 18-inch alloy wheels. It includes an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

Topping the line is the $30,545 Niro Touring, which includes a power sunroof, park assist, heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, and the Harman Kardon premium sound system. This level also offers the Advanced Technology Package, and $1,900 adds HID headlights, wireless phone charging, smart cruise control and the warning and braking systems offered at the other trim levels. Unfortunately, both the Touring and the Launch Edition suffer in fuel economy, at 43 mpg combined.

For comparison, the base Kia Niro comes in $1,765 cheaper than the just slightly more efficient Toyota Prius's $25,550. The Ford C-Max Hybrid starts at $24,995, and falls short by about 10 mpg. The Niro is about the same price as the slightly larger, but much less efficient Hyundai Tucson.
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Unread 2017-02-02, 11:07 PM   #14
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Something went wrong. Please make sure you added the video correctly.

Video URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHnF1aG5y2E
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Unread 2017-11-30, 02:33 PM   #16
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2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Makes U.S. Debut, Promises 26-Mile EV Range





After posing for the cameras at the 2017 LA Auto Show, the 2018 Niro PHEV, is expected in retailer showrooms by the end of this year.

The Niro PHEV boasts an EPA-estimated 26 mile (42 km) all-electric range, while its total driving rage is estimated at 560 miles (901 km).

"The Niro Plug-in is the exciting next step in Kia's progression toward offering more alternative fuel vehicles by 2020," said KMA exec, 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."

Like with the Niro hybrid, the PHEV version also seats five people, offering strong functionality and generous cargo capacity. Buying into the range will mean choosing between three trim levels - LX, EX and EX Premium. As for driver assistance and convenience systems, you get the following: Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist and front and rear parking sensors. Meanwhile, Smart Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Keep Assist are all standard.

Powering the Niro PHEV is an all-aluminum 1.6-liter GDi petrol unit, working alongside an 8.9 kWh (59 kw) lithium-polymer battery pack and a 60 HP (44.5 kW) electric motor. The total power output is 139 HP (141 PS) and 195 lb-ft (265 Nm), which should help the Niro PHEV hit 60 mph in around 10.5 seconds.

According to Kia, this very efficient crossover boasts an MPGe rating of 105, while also having EPA-estimated MPG ratings of 48 mpg (4.9l/100km) city, 44 mpg (5.3l/100km) highway and 46 mpg (5.1l/100km) combined - similar to what you get in the Niro Hybrid.

As for charge times, owners can juice up their Niro PHEV completely in about 2.5 hours using a 240V (Level 2) charger, and in under 9 hours with a 120V (Level 1) charger.

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