Kia Niro gets an all-new plug-in hybrid powertrain

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With a potential fuel economy of 1.3l/100km and producing CO? emissions of just 29g/km, the new SUV will be the Korean company’s most efficient ever car featuring a combustion engine. All while getting to 100km in 10.4 seconds and reaching a top speed of 172km/h.

Fitted with the same 1.6-liter direct injection petrol engine as Kia’s hybrid counterpart, the new PHEV has been paired with a more powerful 44.5kW electric motor. The OEM claims the car can travel 58km on the energy stored in the batteries alone.

The petrol motor, which will produce 105ps and 147Nm of torque, is Kia’s first combination of an Atkinson combustion cycle, cooled exhaust gas recirculation, direct petrol injection and a long-stoke specification.

The Atkinson cycle holds the intake valve open for longer than the Otto cycle. This means that the compression ratio is reduced, so that more energy can be extracted from the combustion process. In addition to this, efficiency is boosted thanks to an exhaust heat recovery system which quickens the engine warm-up process.

The upgraded electric motor is now powered by an 8.9kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. When combined with the engine, the Niro PHEV develops 140ps and 265Nm of torque, all available from first gear, meaning rapid acceleration.

When it comes to the transmission, drive to the front wheels is through a 2DCT; Kia says this means a more immediate response along with greater refinement.

Packed with technology, the SUV also uses energy-harvesting technologies, including regenerative braking, coasting guide control and an HEV switch. Additionally, the Niro has an intelligent air conditioning system that will save battery power where possible.

As Kia works to reduce the CO? emissions of its range by 25% before 2020, the PHEV compact SUV is the next step for the Korean company. The newest addition to the Niro range will release in 2018.

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About Author

Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine + Powertrain of the Year Awards.

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