Meet the Kia Niro Hybrid, the latest model to join Kia’s fast growing lineup of electrified vehicles and the Korean automaker’s first true small SUV.
The Niro ushers in an all-new eco car platform for Kia and competes in the subcompact utility vehicle segment against vehicles like the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and Mazda CX-3. However, unlike the competition, it uses an efficient gas-electric hybrid powertrain.
The hybrid system in question combines a 1.6L four-cylinder engine making 103 horsepower, a 43-hp electric motor and a 1.56 kWH lithium-ion battery located under the rear seat to produce a total 146 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque.
A six-speed dual-clutch transmission channels all that power to the front wheels, allowing the new Kia to deliver an estimated fuel economy rating of 50 mpg in the United States. An even more efficient plug-in hybrid version will be offered later on.
Design wise, the Niro eschews the funky appearance of most hybrid cars for a traditional SUV-crossover look. It adopts Kia’s latest design direction, featuring the brands signature “tiger nose” grille flanked by swept-back headlight and expressive, slightly over-sized taillights.
Plastic body cladding, roof rails, a rear skid plate and 18-inch alloy wheels add a touch of ruggedness.
Inside the Niro provides occupants with a high driving position similar to the Kia Soul’s, houses Kia’s well-received UVO3 infotainment system with a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, and is available with many safety tech, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection, smart cruise control, lane departure warning and autonomous braking.
Engineers focused on minimizing noise, vibration and harshness, equipping the subcompact SUV with an acoustic glass windshield, specially designed engine mounts, and equal-length driveshafts.
The Niro borrows the Eco-Driver Assistance System used by the Kia Optima Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid, which boosts fuel economy by coaching the driver when to brake and anticipates the road ahead, adjusting throttle inputs and braking accordingly.
Orth Hedrick, Kia America’s vice president of product planning, stated:
“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.”
The Kia Niro goes pm sale in the first half of 2016. Are you interested in it?
New Lincoln Aviator Arrives As Stunning Pug-in Hybrid SUV
With the new Lincoln Navigator now the benchmark in the full-size premium SUV segment, Lincoln hopes to do the same for medium luxury SUVs with a new Aviator. The previously discontinued SUV returns from the grave as a stunning plug-in hybrid.
The Lincoln Aviator Concept was a show-stopper at the 2028 New York Auto Show, impressing journalists and the public alike with its bold yet classy exterior styling and exquisite interior. To my eye, it is better executed than the latest Navigator.
Fortunately, Lincoln says the production version will look almost identical to the concept, with the biggest difference likely being toned-down mirrors and a few other small changes. Needless to say, it will have problem standing out from the crowd.
Lincoln Design Director David Woodhouse, stated:
“In Aviator, the lines of the vehicle are streamlined. You have the stature and presence of the grille at the front, then the body and tail taper off – creating a distinct aerofoil analogy.”
The simple yet elegant interior is airy thanks to relatively thin pillars. It will be available with multiple power outlets and the firm’s latest and greatest technologies, including Perfect Position seats that have a message function and can be adjusted in a multitude of ways; Co-Pilot360; wireless phone charging; standard Wi-Fi; and a pillar-mounted keypad. Truly keyless operation via smartphone allows owners to lock and unlock, open the trunk, start and drive the vehicle using an app on their phone.
What lies under the sheetmetal is just as impressive as the stunning exterior and interior. Like the Dodge Durango, the Aviator is built on a rear-wheel-drive platform that should make it more capable than traditional front-wheel drive crossovers. It will be available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain that pairs an electric drive system and a twin-turbo gasoline engine, possibly Ford’s 2.7- or 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine.
Possibly the car that will make Lincoln relevant again, the new Lincoln Aviator is expected to arrive sometime in 2019. Have Lincoln’s designers done a good job? Did they do enough?
All-New, 2019 Toyota RAV4 Gets Aggressive In Every Way
Toyota unveiled several new or updated models at the 2018 New York Auto Show, but none of them are as important as the all-New, 2019 Toyota RAV4. The compact crossover is close to becoming the best-selling Toyota in North America, so the firm went all out to get the fifth-generation right.
Completely revamped from the ground up, the new RAV4 comes to market with a new platform, slightly larger dimensions and the latest technology, including Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility. It rides on Toyota’s new TNGA K platform, growing 0.4-inches wider and 1.2-inches longer in wheelbase. Designers drew inspiration from Toyota FT-AC concept, delivering a more expressive exterior that’s more chiseled, rugged and athletic look than the previous-gen RAV4.
The modern and cleanly laid-out interior is highlighted by Toyota’s latest Entune 3.0 infotainment system, which includes a 7-inch touchscreen, WiFi connectivity, Amazon Alexa access and Android Auto and Apple CaPlay connectivity.
All RAV4 models come standard with the Japanese automaker’s TSS 2.0 suite of safety tech that includes pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steer assist, radar cruise control, automatic high beams, lane tracing assist and road sign assist.
The new RAV4 will be offered with two powertrains at launch — a 2.5L four-cylinder unit mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and a hybrid system consisting of the same 2.5L, an electric motor and CVT. There will also be three different all-wheel drive systems available — a standard system for gas-powered models, an AWD-i system for Hybrids and a new Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect system for Limited and Adventure trim levels.
All gas AWD models feature Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system, while the Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive system can channel 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, as well as distribute power to the left or right rear wheel to improve cornering.
As with the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback, engineers placed a greater emphasis on driving experience. The new RAV4’s unibody chassis is 57 percent more rigid than before and its retuned multi-link rear suspension provides better handling, minimum interior cabin noise, and the better ride comfort.
The all-new, 2019 Toyota RAV4 goes on sale by the end of 2018. The hybrid is expected to arrive in early 2019.
New, 2019 Subaru Forester Arrives Bigger, More Powerful And Advanced
The fifth-generation 2019 Forester made its world debut at the 2018 New York Auto Show with Subaru’s DriverFocus safety and EyeSight driver assist technologies, a roomier interior, and an updated 2.5-liter boxer engine.
Outside, the popular crossover plays it safe, featuring an exterior design that doesn’t deviate too much from the previous model. Even so, it is said to be more rugged than before and showcases the brand’s new design language.
The wheelbase is longer by just over an inch, increasing rear legroom by 1.4 inches and improving headroom, hip and shoulder room.
All 2019 Forester models are powered by a 2.5L four-cylinder boxer engine that generates 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft. of torque, which is a slight improvement over the previous model’s 170 horsepower and 174 lb-ft. Mated to a CVT that attempts to mimic a seven-speed manual gearbox, the four-cylinder provides quicker acceleration and better fuel efficiency.
Unfortunately, the turbo XT model has been dropped and will likely not be replaced by an equivalent package as a mid-cycle update. That’s right, there is no turbo engine for the Forester this time around.
As always, the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system comes standard.
The new, 2019 Subaru Forester arrives later in 2018 and will be available in standard, Premium, Limited, Touring and Sport trim levels.