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2017 Kia Niro Driving Exterior Interior Design
At the heart of the Niro’s all-new powertrain is a state-of-the-art 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine from Kia’s Kappa engine family which is engineered specifically for hybrid applications. Making 104 horsepower, the new engine marks the first combination of the Atkinson Cycle, cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), GDI and a long-stroke-narrow-bore specification to maximize efficiencyto up to 50 mpg (Combined)1. Efficiency and emissions are further improved via the Niro’s exhaust heat recovery system, which speeds engine warm-up by routing coolant to a heat exchanger in the exhaust system. A 43-hp tractive motor is fitted between the engine and transmission and works in tandem with the gasoline engine to produce a robust 139 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque.
That power is transmitted through a newly developed, second-generation six-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), which not only boosts efficiency but is also a key factor to the Niro’s great driving experience. The transmission delivers smooth, quick shifts for a natural and spirited feel, which is in stark contrast to that of other hybrids equipped with continuously variable transmissions. Electric energy and power for the whole system is provided by a compact and lightweight 1.56-kWh Lithium Ion Polymer battery located underneath the rear seat. Because the high-voltage battery is both power and energy dense, it is smaller and lighter than other hybrid batteries, and also allowed engineers to downsize the gasoline engine to further maximize fuel economy and reduce emissions.
The Niro’s simplified parallel hybrid system creates seamless transitions of power delivered to the front wheels, resulting in a very un-hybrid-like driving experience. The hybrid system is neither intrusive nor obvious. The Niro accelerates quickly off the line and continues its smooth power delivery, inspiring driver confidence in everyday driving maneuvers such as merging onto the highway.
Special attention was also paid to brake feel. Applying lessons learned through development of two generations of Optima Hybrids as well as the fully electric Soul EV, Kia engineers designed the Niro’s regenerative system to seamlessly blend in hydraulic friction braking. Consequently, deceleration feels more consistent and linear than in other hybrids.
Advanced Hybrid Technology
The Niro is offered with a suite of advanced driver assistance and convenience technologies, including Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Lane Change Assist (LCA); Smart Cruise Control (SCC); Lane Departure Warning (LDW); and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
All-new Eco-DAS(Driver Assistance System) features Kia’s first application of Coasting Guide and Predictive Energy Control, which use the navigation system and analysis of the driver’s route to improve efficiency. The Coasting Guide aims at maximizing fuel economy by coaching the driver on when to coast and brake. Predictive Energy Control anticipates topographical changes on the road ahead to actively manage energy flow, seamlessly determining when its best to recharge the battery and when its best to expend stored energy to optimize overall efficiency. Similar systems have been seen on German luxury makes, but it Kia’s is the first system to monitor and adjust for both ascending and descending scenarios. Other notable features include Smart Air Intake, which reduces drag by carefully managing the intake of outside air for the HVAC system, and also an accompanying Auto Defog system that prevents condensation from building on the glass by monitoring cabin air conditions to manage the cycling of the A/C compressor.
Kia’s award-winning infotainment and telematics system aims to keep Niro drivers connected at all times, with the newest version, UVO3, trickling down from the all-new 2017 Sportage. Complete with AndroidAuto, Apple CarPlay, and UVO eServices featuring 14 telematics services, the enhanced system features up to 8 GB of music storage, access to onscreen apps such as Pandora7 and Soundhound and Wi-Fi tethering capability. All this is displayed on a 7-inch capacitive touch screen.
The Niro is the latest vehicle introduced under the Kia Motors EcoDynamics environmentally friendly sub-brand and represents a number of firsts.