In order to compete in today’s market, automakers have to be at the forefront of innovation. That’s exactly what Kia does, and it’s why the vehicle they premiered just this week is so exciting. Meet the 2017 Kia Niro, which is not just the first hybrid crossover from Kia, but their first dedicated hybrid model — that is, the first Kia hybrid that isn’t also available with a gas engine. Best of all, this vehicle was designed with looks in mind. Kia didn’t want it to call to mind blocky hybrids with high backs and odd proportions, but to slide in stylishly with the rest of the vehicles both in its lineup and on the road.
“Aerodynamics is of course important, but we wanted to offer a choice for which there’s utility involved, for which there’s a different look, a different stance, bigger tires…and with a DCT and a strong motor that has a great off-the-line experience, with a more premium power steering system that feels and tracks right, and with a suspension tune that gives up a little bit of tow in and tow out [for lowest rolling resistance] but gives you more road feel,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning for Kia Motors America.
The Niro will be powered by a 1.6-liter direct-injection Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine partnered with a 43-horsepower electric motor and will feature a six-speed dual clutch transmission. That’s good for 146 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. It’s expected to get 50 mpg and boasts an incredible drag coefficient of just .029. While the first release will be a traditional hybrid, a plug-in model is expected to follow.
The 2017 Kia Niro will be coming to our Kia dealership in Milwaukee, WI, later this year, so stayed tuned for more updates on this high-tech vehicle.