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Kia Introduces 2017 Niro Hybrid, Hybrid Optima Sedans at Chicago
In brief: Kia introduced three new hybrids at the Chicago Auto Show, all as 2017 model year productions.
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Year, Model: 2017 Niro, Optima Hybrid, Optima PHEV
Kia introduced the 2017 Kia Niro, a Hybrid Utility Vehicle based on concepts shown at previous auto shows over the past couple of years. This subcompact sport utility is based on an all-new eco-car platform Kia has been developing for some time. Other vehicles based on this platform will be forthcoming, the company promises.
The Niro has an all-new 1.6-liter gasoline direct injected engine that Kia engineered specifically for hybrid vehicles. The engine combines the Atkinson cycle, cooled exhaust gas recirculation, and GDI in a long-stroke, narrow-bore configuration. An exhaust heat recovery system improves engine warming times and a 32 kW tractive motor is mounted in the transmission to replace the torque converter. The car produces a total of 146 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed dual-clutch automated transmission.
A new-generation of the Kia Optima Hybrid is also being shown at the Chicago Show. This hybrid is 10 percent more efficient than the outgoing model, replacing the 2.4-liter engine with a 2.0-liter GDI and an upgraded six-speed automatic transmission.
In a new move for the Korean automaker, Kia introduced a new Optima Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) for the 2017 model year. Using the same basic powertrain as the Optima Hybrid, the Plug-in has a 27-mile all-electric range and places its battery pack under the rear seat and into the wheel wells in order to preserve trunk space and to allow the rear seats to fold down for expanded cargo access.
Both hybrids benefit from improvements to the engine, including an electric water and electric oil pump to remove mechanical power use from the engine. The Optima Plug-in Hybrid is expected to be about 20 percent more efficient than the outgoing Optima Hybrid.
And so ...
The Chicago Auto Show is where Kia decided to showcase its forthcoming electrification strategy. These three 2017 model year vehicles begin that move towards more hybridization in the make's vehicles.
Photo credits: Kia
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