As if there weren’t enough subcompact crossovers on the market right now, soon you’ll have another option. The 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid.
It’s one of the vehicles Kia debuted at the Chicago Auto Show this week, to prove it is serious about making its lineup 25 percent more fuel efficient by 2020.
The Niro is definitely stylish in our opinion and fits right in with the subcompact crowd. Nissan went for “athletic” and “sporty” in its design. It sports wide and low proportions with a long roofline and short overhangs that give it an overall athletic profile. It seats up to five people.
Kia estimates it delivers 50 mpg with its gas – electric engine. The hybrid powertrain pairs a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery, mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. That’ll get you 146-horses and 195 pound-feet of torque. Kia also focused on aerodynamic styling as well, for fuel efficiency purposes, resulting in a coefficient of drag of .29.
Inside, Kia designers paid special attention to keeping the cabin quiet. They used insulation in the Niro’s front structure, optimized suspension bushing stiffness, and applied expanding foam inside the A- and B-pillars to cut down on road and tire noise.
They added acoustic windshield glass and carefully shaped side mirrors to help with wind noise. They even used special embossed foam in the floor (under the carpet), and a dense insulating pad underneath the hood to keep unwanted noise to a minimum.
The Niro will be offered with all the safety and convenience technologies that are a must theses days. Those include Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist; Advanced Smart Cruise Control; Lane Departure Warning; and Autonomous Emergency Braking.
The crossover also gets Kia’s new Eco-DAS system with Coasting Guide and Predictive Energy Control features. The Coasting Guide helps driers know when to brake or coast to up fuel efficiency factor. Predictive Energy Control uses the navigation system and cruise control to anticipate topographical changes on the road ahead and actively manage energy flow, to determine when its best to recharge the battery and when its best to expend stored energy to optimize overall efficiency.
The Niro is being introduced under the Kia Motors EcoDynamics environmentally friendly sub-brand alongside the new Optima Hybrid and Soul EV. A plug-in hybrid Niro will hit the road later. Pricing still to come.