Kia has unveiled its first dedicated hybrid, the 2017 Niro hybrid utility vehicle. The Niro hybrid combines the efficiency of a hybrid powertrain with a SUV body, which should help it appeal to the SUV-loving buyers.
Based on an all-new dedicated eco-car platform, the Niro hybrid is powered by a 1.6L four-cylinder engine that generates 103 horsepower and a 43-hp electric motor. The powertrain generates a total 146 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque. The system is mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission and a 1.56 kWH lithium-ion battery that is located under the rear seat. Kia estimates that the Niro will have a combined rating of 50 mpg. A plug-in hybrid version will be added later.
On the outside, the Niro looks more like a traditional compact SUV than a hybrid. Kia boasts that "the Niro demonstrates that owners don't have to sacrifice emotionally engaging design or functional utility in the name of efficiency."
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