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Chicago Auto Show

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Revealed

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2017 Kia Optima Hybrid

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In its quest to increase the average fuel efficiency of its lineup by 25 percent, Kia has introduced a new hybrid and plug-in hybrid version of its popular Optima family sedan.

Starting with the 2017 Optima Hybrid, it is powered by an eco-friendly powertrain consisting of a 2.0-liter GDI four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a 1.62 kilowatt hour lithium-polymer battery that work together to produce a combined output of 193 horsepower and return an estimated fuel economy rating of 42 mpg combined in the United States.

The Optima PHEV, on the other hand, makes due with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine and a transmission-mounted 50 kW electric motor that crank out a combined 154 horsepower, sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.

An efficient 9.8 kWH lithium-ion battery enables it to travel up to 27 miles (43 km) on electricity alone — longer than many of its rivals — and 600 miles (966 km) with the aid of the four-cylinder engine.

The battery can be fully charged in less-than three hours when a 240V charger is used and less-than nine hours with a 120V charger.

Visually, the Kia Optima Hybrid and Optima PHEV are distinguished from the regular Optima by an active shutter grille, standard LED-infused headlights, modified bumpers, an aerodynamic rear diffuser, aerodynamic alloy wheels and special badging.

Their interiors feature unique instrumentation, an Eco Driver Assistance System with a Coasting Guide that tells drivers when to coast and when to brake for optimal fuel-efficiency, and more soft-touch materials.

Both models were designed to appeal to eco-conscious buyers. The Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2016 and is only available in EX trim.

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Chicago Auto Show

Ram 1500 Adds More Versatility With New Split Tailgate

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Rram 1500 Multifunction Tailgate, opened

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It can fold like a traditional tailgate, or swing open like double door.

Not to be outdone by the GMC Sierra’s multi-function tailgate and even the Ford F-150’s simpler ‘Man Step’ setup, Ram has given it’s 1500 pickup truck a new split tailgate option that should provide a owners some added versatility.

The aptly-named “Ram Multifunction Tailgate” is essentially a standard tailgate that can be swung open in a 60/40 fashion. It still drops down like a traditional tailgate, but users are also able to lower a single side of the unit. See it in action…

“The Ram Multifunction Tailgate is intuitive to operate, and owners will find it immediately useful,” said Reid Bigland, Head of Ram Brand – FCA. “Combined with Ram’s class-exclusive RamBox feature and new tailgate step, we’re taking Ram’s cargo management and storage to the next level.”

The doors also swing open nearly 90 degrees, allowing easier access to the truck’s bed. Moreover, the split opening function can be used when trailering, and despite the added complexity, the tailgate has a 2,000 pound load rating.

The Ram Multifunction Tailgate is a $995 option that will be available across the entire 1500 pickup truck lineup starting in the second quarter of 2019.

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Chicago Auto Show

Dodge Makes Charger And Challenger Sublime

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2019 Dodge Challenger Charger Sublime Green

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The company wants you to make your friends green with envy.

Dodge has brought back ‘Sublime’, an eye-catching shade of green first introduced in 1970 on a number of its models.

The heritage-laced color made a returned on a limited run of Charger R/T Daytonas in 2007, as well as for the Challenger’s 2015 model year. It will once again be offered on the Charger and Challenger starting in February 2019, specifically on the Charger Scat Pack, the Charter SRT Hellcat, the Challenger Widebody, and the Challenger T/A.

“By bringing back a high-impact color like Sublime across the 2019 Challenger and Charger lineups, we’re continuing to give our enthusiast customers another way to make their muscle cars even more unique when they showcase the legendary Dodge performance attitude,” said Steve Beahm, the head of passenger car brands for Dodge, Chrysler, and Fiat.

Don’t like the green but still want to stand out from the crowd? Fortunately, Dodge offers a wide selection of other special colors that should strike your fancy, including B5 Blue, Go Mango, F8 Green, Plum Crazy, and TorRed.

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Chicago Auto Show

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid And Plug-in Hybrid Get Refresh For 2018 MY

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2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

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Hyundai used the 2018 Chicago Auto Show to unveil the refreshed, 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid.

Both models benefit from an updated design that’s similar to the regular Sonata, featuring a bolder front fascia, a more modern rear end and new wheel designs.

Interior upgrades include a new instrument panel center stack, upgraded infotainment system with an available audio/video navigation system, wireless phone charging, and USB charging ports.

Safety has been beefed up with automatic emergency braking, lane change assist and standard blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert.

The 2018 Sonata Hybrid is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that works together with a 38 kW electric motor and a six-speed automatic transmission. The gas engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque, while the electric motor adds an additional 51 horsepower and 151 lb. ft. for a combined total of 193 horsepower.

In the United Sates, the Sonata Hybrid is rated at 39 mpg in city driving, 45 mpg on the highway and 42 mpg combined.

The 2018 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid utilizes much the same powertrain as the Sonata Hybrid but is equipped with a larger 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack that’s more than five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid’s battery, helping give it an all-electric range up to 27 miles.

Hyundai says the steering system, anti-roll bar and rear suspension on both models have been modified for more responsive handling without sacrificing ride comfort.

The updated, 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid goes on sale in the first quarter of 2018, while the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid arrives in the second quarter .

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