The 2017 Kia Niro, the First Hybrid Utility Vehicle to Hit the Market

We’ve all heard the rumors and probably have seen the photos. This past February, Kia officially unveiled the all-new 2017 Kia Niro at the Chicago Auto Show, a brand new Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV) being added to the Kia line-up and becoming a member of Kia Motor’s “Green Car Roadmap”

This will be Kia’s first “hybrid” only vehicle, and more importantly, the first HUV on the market to date, increasing consumer hybrid options to be that of a crossover build rather than a small sedan or hatchback. The body shape will resemble a sportier 2016 Kia Sorento build and will feature almost all of the same amenities as the 2017 Kia Sportage. Unlike most dedicated hybrid designs that typically have an unusual body, this is the first hybrid-only vehicle with an “un-hybrid design”

“The Niro hits the sweet spot by offering the best combination of outstanding mpg, an engaging driving experience, utility, and most importantly, a stunning design that doesn’t shout ‘hybrid’. The subcompact CUV market continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the world, and the Niro offers a uniquely alluring yet practical package that consumers haven’t seen before.” Orth Hedrick, Vice President of Product Planning at Kia Motors America

And what makes this big news for a hybrid utility-vehicle is that Kia aims for a 50mpg fuel-economy rating, giving the Niro an estimated 700 miles per fill up, which is unheard of until this point for a utility vehicle. There are still questions as to whether the Niro will come with an AWD option; Kia has yet to make that announcement. Although uncertain today, we suspect that it won’t be long before that option becomes available, especially in markets that demand AWD.

Another leaked feature being shared is that the Niro will coach drivers when to coast and when to break for maximum fuel efficiency. Along with what is called Predictive Energy Control, which will use cruise control with the navigation to anticipate changing road conditions. To determine when it’s best to -recharge or pull- power from the battery, helping the system manage how energy is expended. We’ve also been told to look forward for a potential plug-in Niro sometime in the future, possibly for the 2018 model.

Estimated to hit showroom floors in the second half of 2016, we’ll be keeping you updated as more details get released. Stay tuned for more details and pricing on the 2017 Kia Niro.

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