The 2017 Kia Niro marks the birth of the hybrid utility vehicle (pictures)
Kia says its goal with the Niro is to provide a vehicle that doesn't behave or look like a typical gas-electric vehicle, and create a new segment by combining hybrid efficiency with a body that boasts crossover traits.
The new gas-electric setup utilizes an Atkinson Cycle 1.6-liter four-cylinder with direct-injection, and a 1.56-kilowatt hour lithium ion polymer battery powering a transmission-mounted electric motor.
Kia says tuning the drivetrain for smooth power delivery and linear braking behavior was stressed during development to help quash typical hybrid complaints involving jumpy throttle tip-in response, and odd-feeling regenerative brake pedal behavior.
To keep the cabin quiet from road, wind and hybrid drivetrain noises, Kia piles in stiffer suspension bushings, more sound insulation, an acoustic windshield, special engine mounts and dampers inside the steering wheel hubs to minimum vibration.