Kia Motors introduced three 2017 model-year gasoline-electric hybrids, including the Optima Hybrid, Optima Plug-In Hybrid, and Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle, at the Chicago Auto Show.
Kia is introducing the vehicles under its EcoDynamics sub-brand geared toward more environmentally friendly vehicles and includes the Soul EV. Kia hopes to increase fuel economy across its lineup by 25% by 2020.
The 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle arrives as Kia's first hybrid utility that should slot between the Sportage and Sorento with a 171.5 inch length and 106.3-inch wheelbase. The hybrid utility is powered by a 1.6L direct-injected gasoline four-cylinder that makes 103 hp and a 43-hp electric tractive motor. The tractive motor is mounted to the transmission and works in tandem with the engine to produce 146 hp and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. A 1.56-kilowatt-per-hour lithium-ion polymer battery is located under the rear seat.
The 2017 Optima Hybrid replaces an existing model, while the plug-in version adds a new option to the lineup. The vehicles now mirror Hyundai's Sonata, which is offered as both a traditional hybrid and plug-in model.
The 2017 Optima Hybrid improves fuel economy by 10% over the outgoing model. A 2.0L direct-injected gasoline engine replaces the previous model's 2.4L engine. It's paired with a 38-kilowatt electric motor and lithium-polymer battery pack that increases capacity to 1.62 kilowatts per hour. Total output is estimated at 193 hp. Power is delivered through a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The 2017 Optima Plug-In Hybrid pairs a 2.0L Nu four-cylinder direct-injection engine that makes 154 hp at 6,000 rpm with a 50-kilowatt electric motor. A 9.8-kilowatt-per-hour battery pack powers the vehicle to 27 miles in EV mode. The Optima PHEV offers 600 miles of driving range. The vehicle is enabled for Level 1 or Level 2 charging and needs under nine hours or under three hours for a full charge.