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    2016 Chicago Auto Show: Kia Niro Hybrid


    • When Hybrid meets Utility


    Kia took to the stage this morning at the Chicago Auto Show to reveal their first dedicated hybrid, the 2017 Niro.

     

    The Niro is what Kia classifies as a Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV). We can see some elements of the Sportage crossover in the Niro's design such as the tiger nose grille and overall shape. The design is very aerodynamic as well, recording a 0.29 coefficient of drag.

     

    Under the skin is a new front-wheel drive platform designed exclusively for hybrid vehicles that can accommodate various configurations of engines and batteries. This same platform underpins the new Hyundai Ioniq.

     

    At launch, the Niro will use 1.6L DI four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor producing a total output of 146 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic routes power only to the front-wheels. A 1.56-kWh lithium-polymer battery pack sits under the rear seat. Fuel economy is unknown at this time, but Kia is aiming for 50 MPG combined.

     

    To boost MPG further, the Niro will feature a coaching system to help the driver improve overall efficiency. There will also be a system called Predictive Energy Control that uses the navigation system and cruise control to manage energy flow from the battery.

     

    Kia says a plug-in hybrid is expected sometime later in the Niro's lifecycle.

     

    “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,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president product planning KMA.

     

    The Kia Niro will be available at your local Kia dealer sometime later this year.

     

    Source: Kia

     

     

     

    You can follow our coverage of 2016 Chicago Auto Show News here.

     

    Press Release is on Page 2


     

    All-New 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle Arrives In the Windy City for Global Debut At Chicago Auto Show

    • Kia’s Hybrid Utility Vehicle Boasts a Number of Firsts for the Brand, Including an All-New, Dedicated Eco-Car Platform and Unique Hybrid System
    • Niro is a no-compromise package, maintaining the style and appeal of a utility vehicle while offering outstanding fuel economy with a targeted 50 mpg combined1
    • Niro challenges the hybrid-electric segment with an innovative hybrid system that directly contributes to a dynamic driving experience


    CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2016 – A key component to Kia Motors’ Green Car Roadmap was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show today as Kia Motors America (KMA) hosted the global debut of the all-new 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV). A no-compromise vehicle that combines driving enjoyment with eye-catching design, functional utility and hybrid efficiency, the all-new Niro strikes the perfect balance for today’s consumers and stakes claim to a unique position between the hybrid-electric vehicle and CUV segments.

     


    “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,’” said Orth Hedrick, vice president product planning KMA. “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.”
    The Niro is yet another vehicle introduced under the Kia Motors EcoDynamics environmentally friendly sub-brand and represents a number of firsts. While it was preceded by clean mobility products such as the Optima Hybrid and Soul EV, Niro is the first Kia to make use of an all-new, dedicated eco-car platform and is an important next step on the path to nearly tripling the brand’s global green car line-up by 2020. A plug-in hybrid powertrain is due to be added to the car’s line-up later in its life-cycle.

     

    An “Un-Hybrid” Design
    Designed at Kia’s design centers in Irvine, California, and Namyang, Korea, the Niro demonstrates that owners don’t have to sacrifice emotionally engaging design or functional utility in the name of efficiency. The HUV’s design language is atypical of a hybrid, appearing strong and confident with subtly sculpted surfaces offset by robust styling cues. The Niro sports wide and low proportions with a long roofline and short overhangs that give it an overall athletic profile. Up front, the Niro bears a familiar front fascia highlighted by Kia’s signature grille and flanked by aggressively shaped headlights that accentuate the Niro’s strong shoulders. Contours on the hood lend visual interest and, along with voluminous wheel arches, rocker cladding, roof rails, and rear skid plate, contribute to a sporty look. Although the Niro has a cohesive crossover theme, it was designed with aerodynamics in mind, with its carefully shaped bodywork contributing to a relatively slippery coefficient of drag of .29.

     

    Stepping inside the Niro reveals an inviting, modern, and high-tech interior. Glossy white or black accents underline the HUV’s straightforward theme. The instrument panel is uncluttered and clean, with colorful and informative gauges at the forefront and perfectly positioned primary and secondary controls falling readily to hand. Interior roominess comes by way of the Niro’s 106.3-inch wheelbase, body height, and wide stance, which affords ample leg-, head- and shoulder-room. Seats with increased pad density in the cushions ensure a comfortable ride, helping to prevent fatigue on longer trips. With its crossover-like proportions, the Niro boasts an elevated seating position much like the Kia Soul, providing drivers with a more commanding view of the road as well as easy ingress and egress. While the clever packaging of the high voltage battery assists in delivering a desirable driving experience, its location underneath the rear seats also increases cabin and cargo space and allows a flat load floor.

     

    In addition to spaciousness and comfort, ensuring a quiet interior environment was also a key development focus for engineers. Copious insulation in the Niro’s front structure, optimized suspension bushing stiffness, careful body sealing, and application of expanding foam inside the A- and B-pillars all prevent road and tire noise from entering the cabin. Furthermore, acoustic windshield glass and carefully shaped side mirrors mitigate wind noise.

     

    Engineers also worked hard to address the innate issues often associated with hybrid powertrains. To that end, they minimized system noise and vibration at the source with specially designed engine mounts, equal-length driveshafts, and even added a damper inside the steering wheel hub to minimize vibrations felt in the steering wheel. Other NVH measures include a special embossed foam in the floor (under the carpet), and a dense insulating pad underneath the hood also help to keep unwanted noise to a minimum.

     

    Strong and Light CoreThe platform underpinning the Niro has been specifically engineered to accommodate the unique gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, and with 53 percent of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS), including reinforcement in the A- and B-pillars as well as the roof rails, it is both a lightweight and durable structure. Extensive use of hot-stamped components and industrial joint adhesive increase torsional rigidity and structural integrity. As such, engineers are targeting the Niro to earn top honors from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).

     

    Weight reduction was a critical Niro development aspect, and in addition to the body, AHSS was also used to engineer other elements, including novel lightweight seat frames. Further, engineers were able to bring down the overall weight by using aluminum for the hood, tailgate and several suspension elements including the front lower control arms, front and rear knuckles, and in the brake calipers. Even the parking brake pedal contributes to the weight savings through the use of fiber-reinforced plastic construction. Finally, the engineers eliminated the traditional 12-volt battery to reduce weight, instead, utilizing the high-voltage lithium-ion polymer battery.

     

    Uniquely Engineered Hybrid Powertrain
    Motivating the Niro is a highly efficient and engaging powertrain starting with an all-new, state-of-the-art Kappa 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine, engineered specifically for hybrid applications. Making 103 horsepower, the new engine marks the first combination of the Atkinson Cycle, cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), GDI and a long-stroke-narrow-bore specification to maximize efficiency2. Efficiency and emissions are further improved via the Niro’s exhaust heat recovery system, which speeds engine warm-up by routing coolant to a heat exchanger in the exhaust system. A 43-hp tractive motor, known as the transmission-mounted electric device (TMED), works in tandem with the gasoline engine to produce a robust 146 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque.

     

    That power is transmitted through a newly developed, second-generation six-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), which not only boosts efficiency but is also a key factor to the Niro’s great driving experience. The transmission delivers smooth, quick shifts for a natural and spirited feel in stark contrast to that of other hybrids equipped with continuously variable transmissions. Bringing the whole system together is a compact and lightweight 1.56-kWh Lithium Ion Polymer battery located underneath the rear seat. Because the high-voltage battery is both power and energy dense, engineers were able to use the downsized gasoline engine to maximize fuel economy and reduce emissions.

     

    With its unique combination of the lightweight TMED, proven GDI and Atkinson Cycle technology in the internal combustion engine, along with the DCT providing a dynamic driving experience, the Niro offers enjoyment and efficiency all in one, targeting a combined fuel efficiency rating of 50 mpg.

     

    Driving Fun
    The Niro’s parallel and simplified hybrid system creates seamless transitions of power delivered to the front wheels, resulting in a very un-hybrid-like driving experience. The hybrid system is neither intrusive nor obvious. The Niro accelerates quickly off the line and continues its smooth power delivery, inspiring driver confidence in everyday driving maneuvers like merging onto the highway.
    Special attention was also paid to brake feel. Applying lessons learned through development of two generations of Optima Hybrids as well as the fully electric Soul EV, Kia engineers designed the Niro’s regenerative system to seamlessly blend in hydraulic friction braking. Consequently, deceleration feels more consistent and linear than other hybrids.

     

    Advanced Hybrid Tech
    Like the rest of Kia’s lineup, the Niro will be offered with a suite of advanced driver assistance and convenience technologies. Familiar features that will be available on the HUV include Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist; Advanced Smart Cruise Control; Lane Departure Warning; and Autonomous Emergency Braking3.

     

    All-new Eco-DAS1 (Driver Assistance System) features Kia’s first application of Coasting Guide and Predictive Energy Control. The Coasting Guide aims at maximizing fuel economy by essentially coaching the driver on when to coast and brake. Predictive Energy Control, meanwhile, uses the navigation system and cruise control to anticipate topographical changes on the road ahead and actively manage energy flow, seamlessly determining when its best to recharge the battery and when its best to expend stored energy to optimize overall efficiency. Similar systems have been seen on German luxury makes, but Kia’s system is the first in the industry to monitor and adjust for both ascending and descending scenarios. Other notable features include Smart Air Intake, which reduces drag by carefully managing the intake of outside air for the HVAC system, and also an accompanying Auto Defog system that prevents condensation from building on the glass by monitoring cabin air conditions to manage the cycling of the A/C compressor.

     

    Kia’s award-winning infotainment and telematics system aims to keep Niro drivers connected at all times4, with the newest version, UVO3, trickling down from the all-new 2017 Sportage. Complete with Android5 Auto™, Apple6 CarPlay®, and UVO eServices featuring 14 telematics services, the enhanced system features up to 8 GB of music storage, access to onscreen apps such as Pandora®7 and Soundhound and Wi-Fi tethering capability. All this is displayed on a 7-inch capacitive touch screen.

     

    1 Actual mileage will vary with options, driving conditions, driving habits and your vehicle’s condition.
    2 40 percent thermal efficiency
    3 These features are not substitutes for safe driving, and may not detect all objects surrounding vehicle. Always drive safely and use caution.
    4 Warning: Driving while distracted can result in a loss of vehicle control that may lead to an accident, severe personal injury and death. Always drive safely and use caution.
    5 Android™ is a trademark of Google, Inc.
    6 Apple® is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.
    7 Pandora® is a registered trademark of Pandora Media, Inc.

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    The Station Wagon is Reborn as a Hybrid. Not bad looking, very functional. I bet this will do better for Kia in Europe than the US.

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    The Station Wagon is Reborn as a Hybrid. Not bad looking, very functional. I bet this will do better for Kia in Europe than the US.

     

    I don't think so. Europe isn't as hybrid crazy as the U.S. I forget how many of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs sold in the UK (Best selling hybrid model there).

     

    WHY DO I LOVE THIS?

     

    QUICK, GET THIS MEMBER SOME CAMARO 1LE TO TRY AND RETURN HIM TO NORMAL

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    The Station Wagon is Reborn as a Hybrid. Not bad looking, very functional. I bet this will do better for Kia in Europe than the US.

     

    I don't think so. Europe isn't as hybrid crazy as the U.S. I forget how many of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs sold in the UK (Best selling hybrid model there).

     

    WHY DO I LOVE THIS?

     

    QUICK, GET THIS MEMBER SOME CAMARO 1LE TO TRY AND RETURN HIM TO NORMAL

     

    Agree that the Hybrid is not as big as their polluting Diesel's, but I was thinking they are much crazier about the station wagon than the US.

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    This is actually a pretty impressive vehicle, all things considered. It's good-looking, promises great fuel economy (if it delivers), doesn't have a cvt, and hits the sweet spot of the market. Depending on how everything holds up in the real world, this could be a fairly successful vehicle for Kia. 

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      In-vehicle Connectivity
      In-vehicle connectivity is taken to a whole new "family connectivity" concept.  Old-fashioned family connectivity – sometimes called a conversation – is made easier than ever with the quietest cabin in the class, and is augmented with a multitude of new connected-vehicle features and technologies, including:
      New Display Audio – featuring a new Honda-developed operating system, more intuitive menus and customizable app tiles, this 8-inch high-resolution (720P) touchscreen interface serves as the nerve center for a multitude of new audio and telematics options, including Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ compatibility, and adds a physical volume knob for improved usability. System updates – users can download available updates to the Display Audio operating system and rear entertainment system at their convenience via 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, or USB. CabinWatch – using a camera, CabinWatch lets the driver and front passenger keep tabs on passengers both day and night via the 8-inch Display Audio screen. CabinTalk – enables the driver to talk to second - and third-row passengers though the second-and third-row speakers and rear entertainment system headphones. Connected Rear Entertainment System – second- and third-row passengers can enjoy streaming video on the ceiling-mounted, 10.2-inch WSVGA Rear Entertainment System, including PBS Kids, iHeart Radio, Spotify and more, through the available in-vehicle 4G LTE Wi-Fi, public Wi-Fi or user's cellphone data plan. A new "How Much Farther?" app lets passengers track the family's trip progress. CabinControl – using a downloadable app, users can use a smart phone to control the rear entertainment system, rear cabin heat and air conditioning, and send destinations to the embedded Honda navigation system. Social Play List – part of CabinControl, Social Playlist operates like a virtual jukebox, allowing up to eight family members to upload their music choices to the audio system via their smartphones. Cabin quietness is enabled by new features and technologies including triple door seals, available acoustic front and side glass, and increased use of sound deadening materials under the floor, in the engine compartment and under the fenders, along with standard Active Sound Control technology.
      New Magic Slide™ seats
      A major innovation to family-friendly cabin seating flexibility is the Odyssey's new Magic Slide™ second-row seat, easily reconfigurable for optimal passenger comfort, people- and cargo-hauling flexibility, and easy access to third-row seating – even when one or two rear-facing child seats are placed in the second row. Use modes include:
      Easy Access mode – with the center seat removed, the outboard seats slide laterally through five selectable positions, allowing for easy access to the third row even with one or two rear-facing child seats installed in the second row. And with the center-most seat slid forward, a child is put within easy reach of the front seat occupants. Super mode – like Easy Access mode but with the driver's side seat set to walk-in position (slid full forward with the seatback tilted) for maximum access to the third row. Wide mode – with the center seat removed and two outboard seats in their outer most positions, providing a wide center walkthrough to the third row (and no more "Dad, he's touching me again!"). Buddy mode – with the center seat removed and two outboard seats abutting one another in the center of the vehicle, putting two people in close proximity and within easier reach of the front seat occupants. Safety for the Family
      All 2018 Odysseys in EX and above trims, expected to comprise about 95 percent of all Odyssey sales, will feature the Honda Sensing™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment, including Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS™), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Combined with the Odyssey's next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure and advanced airbags, including new driver and front passenger knee airbags, the Odyssey targets the highest available safety ratings – an NCAP 5-star Overall Vehicle Score and an IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating.
      Additional Features and Technologies
      Additional new standard and available features include LED headlights, heated and ventilated front seats, heated side mirrors and steering wheel, auto high-beam headlights, rain-sensing wipers, blind spot information (on all models with Honda Sensing), front and rear parking sensors, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, Electric Parking Brake with Brake Hold, three-zone automatic climate control, wireless device charging, multi-zone audio, Sirius 2.0, Pandora compatibility, HD Radio™, and HondaVac® in-vehicle vacuum.
      Advanced new powertrains, body and chassis
      The 2018 Honda Odyssey will be powered by a 3.5-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC™ V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™). Peak engine output is 280 SAE net horsepower (+32 HP) and benefits from the advanced capabilities of its two available new transmissions – a 9-speed automatic and, for upper grades an all-new, Honda-developed 10-speed automatic, the first of its kind in a minivan, providing more confident and refined performance.
      These advanced new powertrains, together with a more rigid and lightweight body, new chassis technology, and Odyssey's sleek and aerodynamic new design are expected to result in class-leading performance and top-in-class EPA fuel economy ratings. Honda's Intelligent Traction Management system adds normal and snow modes and combines with Agile Handling Assist and a more powerful braking system for improved all-weather traction and control.
      Advanced new body and chassis
      An all-new body and chassis design underpins the new Odyssey's incredibly quiet cabin and class-leading steering precision, handling prowess and ride comfort. The Odyssey body utilizes advanced materials, including ultra-high-strength steel, aluminum and magnesium to simultaneously minimize weight and improve body rigidity. Vehicle weight is down by up to 96 pounds, depending on trim, and torsional body rigidity is up 44 percent from the outgoing model.
      New chassis features include a highly-responsive new Dual-Pinion Electric Power Steering (EPS) with .44 fewer turns lock-to-lock for increased response and easy maneuverability; and a compact new trailing arm rear suspension with stabilizer bar that not only enables improved handling and ride comfort, but also provides for the most spacious rear cargo area in the class.
      Design, Development and Manufacturing
      The all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey was designed and developed by Honda R&D in North America. The Odyssey and its 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine will be manufactured exclusively at the company's Lincoln, Alabama plant using domestic and globally sourced parts. The new 10-speed transmission will be produced at the company's transmission plant in Tallapoosa, Georgia. The 2018 Odyssey is the second generation Odyssey to be designed and developed in North America and the fourth generation to be manufactured exclusively in North America.
    • By William Maley
      It seems that rumor was true. The Nissan Qashqai will be coming to the U.S. later this year, but under a different name, the Rogue Sport.
      The Rogue Sport boasts the same shape and design cues as the larger such as the V-shape grille. We'll admit we find the Sport much better looking than the Rogue thanks to the smaller size - more than a foot shorter. The wheelbase is 2.5-inches shorter than the Rogue.
      Power will come from a 2.0L four-cylinder - the same engine found in the Sentra. Power figures 141 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque. Like most Nissans, the Rogue Sport will come with a CVT. Front-wheel drive comes standard and all-wheel drive will be on the option list. On the plus side, the Sport will boast a more sophisticated suspension layout than the Rogue - a multi-link independent setup in the rear.
      Nissan says the 2017 Rogue Sport will arrive at dealers this spring.
      Source: Nissan 
      Press Release is on Page 2


      2017 Nissan Rogue Sport takes the stage at NAIAS today – joins record-breaking Rogue lineup this spring
      "Right sized" Rogue Sport slots just under popular 2017 Rogue, Nissan’s #1 selling vehicle in the U.S., and further expands Nissan’s extensive SUV lineup Brings Intelligent Safety Shield technologies, fun-to-drive performance and affordability to young, urban compact sport utility vehicle buyers DETROIT – The new 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport, which is designed to expand the audience for Nissan’s top-selling Rogue crossover when it goes on sale this spring, is set to make its auto show debut this morning at the North American International Auto Show.
      The redesigned Rogue broke Nissan’s all-time U.S. single month sales record for an individual model in December 2016 with sales of 40,477 units. Rogue also passed Nissan’s longtime sales leader, Altima, for the 2016 calendar year Nissan U.S. sales crown.
      The new Rogue Sport will be joined on stage by a new Nissan sedan concept. Presenting the two new vehicles will be José Muñoz, Chief Performance Officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.; Chairman, Nissan North America, Inc., and Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President, Chief Creative Officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
      "The new Rogue Sport is a perfect addition to the red hot Rogue lineup, which is also adding a first-ever Rogue Hybrid model for 2017," said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. "With Rogue Sport’s slightly smaller dimensions and sporty maneuverability, it’s ideal for singles or couples without kids – or empty nesters – who want a sportier vehicle and can live with a little less cargo capacity than the current Rogue offers."
      Rogue Sport has a 2.3-inch shorter wheelbase and a 12.1-inch shorter overall length than Rogue, helping make it more maneuverable in city traffic and an ideal size for tight city parking spaces. Other helpful city adventure features range from up to 61.1 cubic feet of cargo space (2nd row seat folded) and available innovative Divide-N-Hide® Cargo System to the Around View® Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD)1.
      Rogue Sport offers available Nissan Intelligent Safety Shield technologies including Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection2, Intelligent Cruise Control3, Rear Cross Traffic Alert4 and Forward Emergency Braking2.
      Rogue Sport is offered with a standard 141-horsepower 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG™) system engine and Xtronic transmission. It goes on sale at Nissan dealers nationwide – in a choice of S, SV and SL grade levels – beginning in spring 2017.

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