At the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show, Kia Motors unveiled four new models. The new Kia Stinger fastback sports sedan makes its European premiere, alongside the all-new Kia Picanto city car, which makes its global debut. Advanced powertrain technology features in two other new Kia models on show for the first time—Niro Plug-in Hybrid crossover and Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid.
The new Niro Plug-in Hybrid, revealed for the first time in Geneva, combines crossover versatility and design appeal with maximum fuel efficiency from its advanced new plug-in hybrid powertrain, which it shares with the Hyundai Ioniq. (Earlier post.) The Niro will be the first car on the market to capitalize on two significant trends: rising sales of plug-in hybrid models (forecast to expand in Europe to more than 600,000 units per year by the end of 2023) and continued growth in the compact crossover market.
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid will go on sale across Europe during Q3 2017, pairing an economical 1.6-liter GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine with an 8.9 kWh high-capacity lithium-polymer battery pack. The latest addition to Kia’s hybrid crossover range substantially reduces emissions over the more conventional Niro hybrid—engineers are targeting combined CO2 emissions below 30 g/km (New European Driving Cycle) and a zero-emissions pure-electric driving range of more than 55 kilometers (34 miles).
The introduction of a plug-in hybrid powertrain has minimal effect on the Niro’s packaging and versatility—the car’s high-capacity battery pack is located beneath the floor of the 324-liter (VDA) trunk and beneath the rear seat bench, while cabin space is unaffected. An optional Towing Pack—rare amongst cars in the hybrid class—allows owners to tow braked loads of up to 1,300 kg.
The Niro Plug-in Hybrid features regenerative braking technology to harvest kinetic energy and recharge the battery pack while coasting or braking, while a new Eco Driving Assistant System (Eco DAS) provides drivers with intelligent guidance on how to drive more efficiently under current conditions. Eco DAS includes Coasting Guide Control (CGC) and Predictive Energy Control (PEC), enabling drivers to maximize fuel mileage by suggesting when to coast or brake, and using or harvesting electrical energy depending on the topography of the road ahead. The car’s touchscreen infotainment system displays the battery charge levels and the locations of nearby charging stations.
Alongside the Niro, the all-new Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid is the second car unveiled in Geneva with an advanced hybrid powertrain. Due on-sale across Europe from Q2 2017, the new derivative combines the tourer versatility of the conventional Optima Sportswagon with the high-efficiency powertrain found in the Optima Plug-in Hybrid sedan, introduced towards the end of 2016. (Earlier post.)
The new model is built exclusively for the European market, and offers 440 liters (VDA) of cargo space—133 liters more than the Optima Plug-in Hybrid sedan—for maximum practicality. The powertrain combines an efficient 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine with a 50 kW electric motor and 11.26 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack.
With a total power output of 205 ps and a high 375 N·m maximum torque, the Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid gives drivers a pure electric range of more than 60 kilometers (37 miles) (development targets), and emits just 34 g/km CO2 (combined, development targets). The car’s low running costs and maximum practicality will enhance the Optima’s appeal among both private and fleet buyers.
The car is equipped with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system available with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as Kia Connected Services powered by TomTomTM, providing live traffic updates, speed camera alerts and weather forecasts. The Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid is available with Kia’s wireless smartphone charger, letting users charge mobile devices on the move. A suite of active safety technologies help drivers avoid or mitigate the effects of a collision.
New plug-in hybrid versions of the Niro and Optima Sportswagon will help Kia achieve its 2020 target to improve fuel economy by 25% over 2014 levels.—Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe
All product specifications and standard/optional features pertain to Kia vehicles to be marketed in Europe and may differ with vehicles sold in other regions.