Kia first unveiled the Niro PHEV at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, where it said it would go on sale in sale in the third quarter of 2017. Now, the US version of the Niro PHEV has made its debut in LA, sales in the country expected to commence in 2018. Once sales go online, the new 2018 Kia Niro PHEV will be available in three trim levels: LX, EX and EX Premium.
The new Niro PHEV has all the same packaging and driving enjoyment offered by the Niro hybrid. However, it has a number of elements that identify it as a PHEV. These include “ECO/Plug-In” badges, hybrid blue exterior accents, a charge port door (on left front fender) as well as tweaked front grille insert and surround. It comes available with LED headlamps and seven-inch color meter cluster with digital tachometer.
As a plug-in hybrid, the new Niro PHEV employs a combination of an all-aluminum 1.6-liter GDI (gasoline direct injection) four-cylinder engine and an 60-hp (44.5 kW) electric motor for a total system output of 139 hp and combined torque of 195 lb.-ft. This is backed by an 8.9 kWh (59 kW) lithium-polymer battery pack. Thanks to the higher capacity of the battery capacity (plus 7.34 kWh more than the Niro hybrid), the Niro PHEV boasts of fuel economy rating of 105 MPGe.
Its EPA-estimated MPG ratings (48 mpg city, 44 mpg highway and 46 mpg combined) are at par with those of Niro hybrid. When both the conventional engine and the electric motor are work, the Niro PHEV could travel as far as 560 miles. During all-electric mode, the Niro PHEV has a range of 26 miles. Charging the battery to its full capacity takes around 2.5 hours on a 240V (Level 2) charger, and under nine hours on a 120V (Level 1) charger.
Power is sent to the wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT), the same gearbox found in the Niro hybrid. Four driving modes are available: Eco mode, EV mode, Hybrid mode, and Sport mode.
Just like its hybrid sibling, the Niro PHEV could accommodate five occupants. It comes standard with a number of advanced driver assistance and convenience systems like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) and Smart Cruise Control (SCC). Available technologies include Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Change Assist (LCA), as well as front and rear parking sensors.