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Geneva 2017: Kia expands plug-in hybrid lineup

Geneva 2017: Kia expands plug-in hybrid lineup image

Anton Andres / Kia | March 09, 2017 07:33

Kia Optima Sportwagon, Niro get plug-in hybrid variants

Following the release of the Kia Optima plug-in hybrid (PHEV) last year, the Korean automaker has added two models for their PHEV range. For Geneva, Kia is introducing the Optima Sportwagon PHEV and Niro PHEV, widening the marque's plug-in range to three models.

Kia PHEV models

Starting with Niro PHEV, Kia says that the Niro will be the first car on the market to capitalize on two significant trends: rising sales of plug-in hybrid models and continued growth in the compact crossover market. As for visual differences between the standard and the PHEV model, the only marker is the plug-in socket for the charging system. The rest of the body carries over unchanged.

Also retained is the Niro's 1.6-litre GDI engine as seen in the non-PHEV version. It is, however, paired with a larger 8.9 kWh high-capacity lithium-polymer battery pack. According to Kia, it substantially reduces emissions over the more conventional Niro hybrid and has a pure-electric driving range of over 55 kilometers. The car’s high-capacity battery pack is located beneath the floor of the trunk and rear seat bench and Kia claims that the crossover's utility remains intact.

On top of that, it also has a new Eco Driving Assistant System (Eco DAS) that serves as a guide to drive more efficiently under various 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.

Kia PHEV models

Moving to the Optima Sportwagon PHEV, it gets more exterior detail changes compared to the Niro PHEV. For starters, the Optima Sportwagon PHEV has re-profiled front and bumpers to cut down drag. It also has redesigned side skirts and wheels to make the car more aerodynamic as well. Like the Niro, there is a partition for the socket to charge the batteries.

Being a plug-in hybrid, the Optima Sportwagon PHEV has two powetrains, one gas and one electric. Internal combustion is provided by a 2.0-liter ‘Nu’ four-cylinder GDI engine which outs out 156 PS and 189 Nm of torque. The electric motor meanwhile is 50 kilowatt unit, giving it a combined output of 205 PS and 375 Nm of torque. It shifts via a conventional six-speed automatic. It also comes with regenerative braking to recharge the 11.26 kWh batteries on the go.