Kia Niro PHEV EX Premium
A Plug For Economy
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – The Kia Niro in its base form will easily meet the needs of many, but what about Mr. & Mrs. Frugal?
Enter the Niro plug-in electric with the same four cylinder gas engine but with the ability to run on pure electric power for an estimated 26 miles.
The DOHC Atkinson cycle 1.6-liter four cylinder gas engine produces 104 horsepower and 109 lb-ft of torque.
Add in the electric motor and total output climbs to 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque and Kia can brag about a larger battery pack and more powerful electric motor than some of the competition.
Sixty horsepower for the motor and 8.9 kWh for the battery pack.
So there was adequate power for most all driving situations. And a relatively quiet set of wheels on the interstate.
Okay, what about economy? The EPA rating is 105 miles per gallon equivalent, and 46 mpg in gas only mode.
MPGe is a measure of how far the Niro can travel electrically using the same amount of energy in one gallon of petrol.
However, it would not be easy to achieve the full 26 miles using generated juice without feathering the accelerator to a large degree. Just getting up to speed on a 35 mph heavily traveled suburban highway has the 1.6 liter four kicking in.
For the week, I registered 40 mpg overall again, rarely in in full electric mode due to the demands of keeping up with traffic.
One interesting feature is a Driver-Only Air Conditioning setting that delivers the cooled air only to that side of the cabin to save on power consumption when only the Lone Ranger is behind the wheel.
What about recharging? Plug into the port on the driver’s side front fender and a full charge can be achieved in approximately 2.5 hours via a 240V (Level 2) charger, and under 9 hours via a 120V (Level 1) charger.
Here is one great move on Kia’s part. There is NO Continuously Variable Transmission, instead a six-speed dual clutch automatic and that makes a whole lot of difference on the road with much less engine noise when more power is demand for merging and other vital operating situations.
Thank you Kia engineers and take a bow.
Inside, there is additional good thinking with the battery pack located under the cargo floor, so the PHEV offers 19 cubic feet of hauling space, the same as the non-hybrid.
And check out that picture of the center dash. That is the way that audio and ventilation controls should be arranged. After just a few get acquainted miles, you can easily make changes without taking your eyes off the road. No trying to hit a small button on a screen. That’s got to be a safer solution.
Keeping with Kia tradition, the EX Premium model came well equipped with a long list of features.
An 8.0 center dash screen with navi, dual zone automatic climate control, premium audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outside mirrors, and LED headlights. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on board.
The interior was a very modern and fresh design, the seats were very comfortable, and one could accommodate two adults in the rear cabin with nary a complaint.
There is also that 10 year, 100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty to consider along with same warranty on the battery pack.
Remember this is a top of the line model with lots of features that brought the price to $35,575 including $940 for delivery.
The base LX model begins at $27,900, but my recommendation to the price conscious is to step up to the $31,500 EX and gain some rather nice features.
PHEV is Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle