2017 Kia Niro

For some time now gas prices have been consistently low and
analysts are predicting that the low prices will persist for a
little bit longer. Nonetheless, we all know that ultimately
they will go up again. Automakers perfectly understand this and
are busy upgrading their drive-trains to provide increased fuel
economy.

Kia is one such automaker, the automaker plans to triple its
lineup of hybrids by 2020. One of the new planned vehicles is
the 2017 Kia Niro which made its public debut recently at the
Chicago Auto Show.

Kia designers have worked tirelessly to create a vehicle that
combines efficiency with a body that looks like a conventional
car than a hybrid. The automaker even goes ahead to refer to
the Niro as a “hybrid crossover”. The vehicle is based on Kia’s
new eco-car platform.

2017-Kia-Niro-NCI-8

2017 Kia Niro Exterior

While many automakers design models that scream “hybrid” for
the masses to notice, Kia took a different turn. The Niro looks
like a conventional model. The automaker aim is to offer a
highly efficient hybrid without sacrificing the functional
utility or the engaging emotional design. Kia looks to avoid
the criticism that befell the Prius despite its impressive
hybrid drive-train. Critics argue the Prius physical profile is
unexciting.

The 2017 Kia Niro features Kia’s signature “tiger-nose” grille.
The grille is flanked by a pair of near vertical headlights
which are angled towards the A-pillars. The front also features
vertical air vents on the bumper and a lower grille all which
give the Niro a sporty look.

2017-Kia-Niro-NCI-9

At the rear, you will notice design cues borrowed from the
Sportage such as the small rear glass, high-mounted taillights,
tiny bumper lights as well as a trapezoid-shaped license plate
recess. The vehicle has some unique features such as its
one-piece taillight and rear glass design, a sporty tail-gate
spoiler, C-shaped LED light clusters and a body colored apron
withe aluminum inserts. The side view is similar to the
Sorento. Towards the rear, the crossover seems to go the coupe
way with a thinner D-pillar.

For a hybrid, Kia did a great job in integrating the Niro into
its lineup of crossovers. Though it is not as impressive as
your regular crossover, the vehicle won’t look out of place
when lined up with other crossovers.

2017-Kia-Niro-NCI-4

2017 Kia Niro Interior

The interior of the 2017 Kia Niro looks nice and inviting. At
the front, the instruments cluster is very informative and
colorful. It has a large touch-screen befitting a crossover.
Its center console and door panels have been designed with
storage areas for small objects.

2017-Kia-Niro-NCI-11

The vehicle rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase; this together with
its wide stance and short overhangs ensure sufficient head, leg
and shoulder room for all passengers. Its seats are upholstered
in a quality material and the seat cushions have an increased
pad density which improves the comfort of passengers.

Stiff suspension bushings, an acoustic windshield, special
engine mounts and more sound insulation features ensure the
cabin is very quiet from wind, road and engine noises.

2017-Kia-Niro-NCI-5

The engine is placed underneath the rear seats which help to
create more space for passengers and cargo. Tech’ wise the 2017
Kia Niro comes equipped with Kia’s UVO3 infotainment system
with a 7.0 inch touch-screen. The system offers Android Auto
and Apple CarPlay capabilities. In terms of security, it
features stability and traction control, rear cross-traffic
alert, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, ABS and
lane departure warning.

2017-Kia-Niro-NCI-3

Engine Specs and Performance

Under the hood, you will find a hybrid drive-train.  The
unit combines a 1.6 L, 4-cylinder gasoline engine which is
rated at 103 hp with an electric motor rated at 43 hp. The
electric motor draws its power from a 1.56 kWh lithium-ion
battery the rear seats. The two combine to give the Niro 146 hp
and 195 lb-ft of torque. The drive-train is paired with a
6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission system.

To reduce weight, the automaker has done away with the 12-volt
battery and the vehicle uses the same lithium-ion battery for
starting up. EPA ratings are not yet out but the automaker is
targeting a rating of 50 mpg. If it is achieved, this will be
pretty impressive considering the vehicle offers SUV-like
utility. This will also place it just behind the Prius which
returns 52 mpg on combined drives. To achieve this impressive
fuel efficiency, Kia leverages a new technology which includes
Predictive Energy Control and an ECO driver’s assist system
which offers Coasting guide.

Coasting Guide notifies the driver when to coast and when to
brake to optimize efficiency. Predictive Energy Control on the
other hand combines with cruise control to help manage the best
times to recharge the battery or to expend extra energy to
maintain speed efficiently.

According to credible reports, a plug-in hybrid will be offered
at a later date.

2017-Kia-Niro-NCI-2

Price and release date

Expect the price of the 2017 Kia Niro to fall slightly below
the market leader, the Toyota Prius. The recently released 2016
Toyota Prius has a starting price of $ 26,000 so expect the
Niro to start at around 25,000.

The new Kia Niro 2017 made its debut at the recent Chicago
Auto Show. Sales will start in the second half of this year
(2016).

2017-Kia-Niro-NCI-1

Competition

Of late automakers are trying their best to improve their
hybrid engines to offer high numbers of fuel efficiency. One
model that is leading the way is the Toyota Prius
which commands a great chunk of this market segment. Hyundai is
also coming up and fast with their Hyundai Ioniq.