Kia rocks eco vehicles with 50 mpg 2017 Niro Hybrid debut

The Kia Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV) gets 50 mpg. Kia execs call its new Niro a “no compromise” vehicle. But is it really?

Kia Niro Hybrid Utility vehicle - Promotional still

CHICAGO, February 11, 2016 – Kia literally rocked the Chicago Auto Show this morning with its debut of the brand’s first 50 mpg “hybrid utility vehicle” (HUV): the 2017 Kia Niro.

While teens from School of Rock Oak Park belted out Rolling Stones tunes, Kia launched its compact Niro CUV to a packed crowd of bleary-eyed automotive journalists still drinking coffee.

2017 Niro
2017 Niro Exterior has Kia’s signature pointy grille and sculpted sidelines

The bright red Niro drove down the stage and was met with a bit of a let down as the Niro’s exterior design is not particularly racy or unusual, but looks like a smaller version of Kia’s Sportage SUV. However, Kia did make certain to give its all-new HUV the brand’s signature sporty grille and the Niro’s sculpted sidelines, wheels and hatch help give it visual appeal.

2017 Niro
2017 Niro interior features advanced telematics

Kia execs called its new Niro a “no compromise” vehicle. But is it really?

Although Kia did not reveal much about the Niro, here’s what we know so far:

–The Niro gets 50 mpg combined

–Driving dynamics have been tuned to for a “crisp, sporty, direct” drive with “outstanding steering feel”

–Comes with a wireless charging tray for mobile devices and Kia’s latest infotainment technology

–A plug-in hybrid powertrain will be added to the Niro lineup at some point

Just before the Niro launch, Kia gave the world’s auto media a sneak peek at the upcoming 2017 Optima Hybrid and 2017 Optima Hybrid Plug-In, which have notable “visual and aerodynamic enhancements.”

Kia execs noted their first plug-in (not counting the all-electric Kia Soul EV) will have the “most advanced telematics system ever” and will be compatible with Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay.

The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Plug-In will have a range of 600 miles, will get 42 mpg combined and goes just 27 miles on all-electric power. Both of these new Optima model “will go on sale later this year,” so says Kia.

Kia is finally getting its eco feet soaked with the launch of its new eco lineup, including the Niro, Optima Hybrid and Optima Hybrid Plug-In along with its award-winning Soul EV. Certainly this good-looking compact “HUV” will be packed with Kia’s good looks, top notch technology, fun-to-drive performance and excellent fuel economy.

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