The 2018 Kia Niro PHEV is the hybrid version of their newest crossover. Kia is looking to increase their foothold in the hybrid car market by producing a car that is capable of 26 miles on an electric charge. This 5-passenger crossover is intended to perform double duty on both the highway and in city.
Power is derived from the 1.6-liter Atkinson-cycle gas engine which is good for 104hp and 109 lb-ft of torque. This i4 engine is connected to a hybrid electric motor which gives it an additional 60 more horsepower. Total power output is 139hp and 195 lb-ft of torque.
This front-wheel drive car puts power to the ground via a six-speed, dual clutch automatic transition. Battery capacity is 24.7Ah and the internal cells produce 8.9 kWh of energy which allows the car to run 26 miles in all-electric mode.
Kia has come out and stated that if you charge the battery on a daily basis, it will maximize the all-electric range and could wind up saving in fuel costs. Kia estimates that if you recharge daily, it would cut your gas bill by as much as 50%. So, paying attention to the cluster gauges is of utmost importance if you want the car to live up to its full potential.
No hybrid would be complete without an instrument gauge cluster that closely resembles the flight deck of the Starship Enterprise. A 7-inch gauge cluster provides vital signs that will enable you to get the most out of the car. E-meter, range member, mileage yardstick, charging status, and fuel gauge are all visible on the cluster.
The EX model features a standard leather trim which is only second best to the EX Premium’s all leather interior. Internally, a 120 Volt, 2.3-hour charging cable can be had for an additional cost. The batteries themselves are kept below the rear seat and back floor, which allows for interior cargo space to be a roomy 19.4 cubic feet with the seats up and 54.5 cubic feet when the seats are put down.
No hybrid would be complete without a suite of safety features. Lane keep assist, forward collision warning, automatic braking, blind spot detection, front and rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert and smart cruise control make up the standard safety features.
The Niro was never intended to be a sports car, but from a pure acceleration stand point, it will get up to freeway speeds in a reasonable amount of time compared to other hybrid vehicles. The 1.6-liter engine will be pushed to the max under moderate acceleration. The DCT transmission is smooth as butter, but there was a slight hesitation when starting from a full stop while in ECO mode.
EPA ratings are at 48 city/44 highway, which totals out to 46 mpg combined. Kia claims that under ideal driving conditions, the combined mileage is good for up to 560 miles! Your mileage may vary, of course.
As the proverbial new kid on the block, the 2018 Kia Niro PHEV EX has got some heavy competition from Toyota, Honda, and even Nissan. Pricing will start around $30,000 and a $4,500 Federal Tax Rebate will help cushion the cost a bit. There may be other local incentives in the area that you live in that could significantly sweeten the deal.