Plug-in crossover EPA-rated at 5.1 L/100km combined
The 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in has been detailed at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, and it comes packing more features, a more powerful electric motor, and larger battery that will allow it to travel up to 26 miles (42 km) in EV mode. With a full charge and a full tank of gas, the 2018 Niro Plug-in has a maximum range of up to 560 miles (900 km), which means you’ll need to stop for a break on long drives before you need to do so to refuel.
Powering the 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in is the same 104-hp 1.6-liter I-4, but this time it’s been coupled to a 60-hp electric motor and an 8.9-kW-hr lithium-ion battery, giving it the ability to operate in all-electric mode. Like the standard Niro hybrid, the Niro Plug-in comes with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which should help make it feel more like a normal car than an oddball electrified vehicle (looking at you, Toyota Prius). Even with the larger battery, cargo space isn’t sacrificed due to it being placed under the rear seat and cargo floor, preserving the Niro’s practicality. Kia says that a full charge takes 2.5 hours using a Level 2 charger or under 9 hours using a Level 1 charger or a standard household outlet, allowing you to charge the Niro plug-in overnight and commute in all-electric mode in the morning, provided the distance you’re traveling is 26 miles (42 km) or less. Combined output is 139 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, which is the same as the standard Niro hybrid, despite the larger battery and more powerful electric motor.
From the outside, there isn’t much distinguishing the Niro Plug-in from the standard hybrid other than an Eco Plug-in badge, blue exterior accents, a slightly modified grille, and the charging port on the driver-side front fender. Other ways you can tell the Niro Plug-in apart from its non-plug-in sibling are the available full LED headlights and the 7.0-inch multi-information display between the power gauge and speedometer. The standard Niro hybrid is only available with HID headlights and a smaller 4.2-inch multi-information display. The Plug-in will also be available with a unique version of Kia’s UVO infotainment system, called UVO Eco. It allows drivers to monitor the charge of their vehicle’s battery, setup charging schedules to take advantage of off-peak hours, preset the cabin temperature, and turn on the defrosters via an app.
Three trim levels will be offered on the 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in, the base LX, midgrade EX, and the range-topping EX Premium. Advanced safety features include blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, adaptive cruse control, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking, the latter five of which come standard on all Niro Plug-ins. The 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in will go on sale before the end of the year. Pricing hasn’t been announced.