HUV, HEV and PHEVs, oh my! March 16th, 2016




With the recent announcement of three new eco-friendly vehicles at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, Kia Motors introduced a number of exciting firsts that provide a look into the brand’s future for clean mobility. Today, Kia BUZZ takes you on a guided tour of the latest green additions to the Kia range!


Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV)




Kia Niro, our first ever dedicated HUV model, strikes a brilliant balance between stylish crossover and efficient hybrid vehicle while offering quite a competitive edge in the currently fast-growing compact SUV market.



Aerodynamically sleek with subtle but robust design elements, the Niro boasts a bold, athletic exterior with a light Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) core. The reduced weight of the body contributes to the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.




This five-seater hybrid SUV also features a high-tech, streamlined interior characterized by its ergonomically straightforward center console and interface system. The cabin interior, upholstered with soft touch materials, is spacious, comfortable, and modern.



Most notable about the Kia Niro is the all-new eco-car platform. The lightweight but energy-dense lithium ion polymer battery paired with the 1.6L Kappa GDI engine and six speed dual clutch transmission allows for a powerful yet environmentally conscious driving experience. With the combination of outstanding design and state-of-the-art technology and performance, Niro truly hits the sweet spot between a low-emission hybrid and a dynamic CUV.

Kia Niro is scheduled to enter production for overseas markets in May 2016. Experience the all-new 2017 Niro up close!


All-New Optima Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)




Originally launched in 2011, the Optima HEV was met with impressive reviews and went as far as setting a Guinness World Record that year for the lowest fuel consumption driving through all 48 contiguous U.S. states in a gasoline hybrid car. The all-new Optima Hybrid features a full range of upgrades from the previous generation model, most notably, a new hybrid powertrain that aims to increase fuel economy by 10 percent.



The new Optima HEV houses a compact 2.0L GDI four cylinder engine with hybrid starter generator and upgraded six-speed transmission. The electric motor is boosted by a 1.62 kWh lithium battery pack that aids in the fast and seamless transition between the EV and hybrid mode. The addition of a new electric water pump and oil pump help contribute to increased fuel efficiency.




In addition to the enhanced hybrid performance, the new Optima HEV possesses touch ups to the interior that result in a more comfortable and luxurious passenger compartment. With revised packaging and configuration, the vehicle’s hybrid components now fit neatly into the trunk floor, freeing up more cargo space. The overall cabin design has been simplified and optimized for more comfortable and convenient accommodations.


All-New Optima Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV)




In addition to the Optima Hybrid, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) version of the all-new Optima has also been brought to life. The all-new 2017 Optima PHEV boasts great energy efficiency, low running costs and minimal environmental impact.




The Optima Plug-in Hybrid features three driving modes: all-electric (EV), hybrid, and charging mode. While the EV and hybrid modes are suitable for short range travel and highway driving, respectively, the charging mode offers convenience as it allows drivers to continue operating the vehicle once the battery runs out of charge.



Designed to achieve energy efficient, dynamic driving, Kia has partnered the 2.0L Nu GDI engine with a transmission-mounted 50 kW electric motor. The result is a more rapid and refined transition between driving modes and consistent high-level performance.



Left: Optima PHEV air-flap grille, Right: Optima PHEV charging port


The Optima PHEV also possesses model-specific external enhancements that make it stand out among the segment competition. Meanwhile, the new battery pack situated behind the rear seat and tire well gives the model one of the largest cargo spaces among all midsize PHEVs. The car’s all-new air-flap grille enables more efficient airflow over the car body, resulting in increased aerodynamics. The charging port is conveniently integrated in the driver side of the front wing.

Built in Hwasung, Korea, Optima Plug-in Hybrid will go on sale in overseas markets in the latter part of 2016.


Kia Lays Out a Green Future

These state-of-the art additions to Kia’s model line-up are only the beginning. As part of an elaborate 2020 Eco Roadmap, Kia plans to expand our EcoDynamics line-up to include compact models and SUVs in the coming years. With the ultimate goal of being recognized as a reputable eco brand, Kia Motors continues to strive diligently to realize future possibilities and innovations.

With its current momentum in green technologies, Kia’s future is looking bright and very green.


▶ Read more about Kia’s eco-friendly production efforts