Niro front view Niro front view

2022.03.17 Kia 분량7min

The Other Hybridness in The Two-Faced Niro

The Niro Hybrid, an eco-friendly SUV that utilizes the power of both an engine and an electric motor, has another ‘hybrid’ aspect that we did not know about. Here's the secret charm of the two-faced Niro Hybrid.

Hybrid means having a combination of two or more distinct elements. Originally, it referred to a different type or mixture, but recently it is used more to refer to a hybrid car. As we well know, hybrid vehicles run on two power sources: an engine and an electric motor. In other words, it is called a hybrid vehicle in the sense that it contains all the different characteristics of an internal combustion engine and an electric vehicle. However, in the newly evolved eco-friendly SUV Niro Hybrid, ‘hybrid’ elements are included everywhere - other than the powertrain. Their personalities are diverse, from small specifications that make a pleasant daily life to environmentally friendly technologies. Here's the secret charm of the two-faced Niro Hybrid.

1. Hybrid system - an electric vehicle with an internal combustion engine

Engine and electric motor placed side by side

Table highlighting the maximum output and efficiency of Niro

The Niro Hybrid has both an internal combustion engine and a motor; using two driving principles, it indeed lives up to its name - the Niro Hybrid. The kinetic energy released as thermal energy during braking is converted into electrical energy, stored in the battery, and then used when necessary to operate the electric motor to increase efficiency. Unlike electric vehicles, you do not have to worry about charging, and it is eco-friendly as it has better fuel efficiency than internal combustion engines and emits fewer pollutants.

2. Paddle shift works as both gear shifter and regenerative braking controller

The paddle shift is a device that helps you change gears quickly and safely while holding the steering wheel even during dynamic driving. By using this, you can conveniently use a gear that is suitable for the driving situation. In addition to this basic role, the paddle shift can adjust the intervention of regenerative braking to three levels. This device houses a technology that controls how much kinetic energy should be converted into electrical energy when the accelerator pedal is released while driving - in other words, when the speed is reduced. If you pull the left paddle, the regenerative braking intervention becomes stronger one step at a time, and if you pull the right paddle, it weakens one step on the contrary.

In addition, the Niro Hybrid houses two additional functions using the regenerative braking function, adding to the convenience of driving. If the left paddle is pulled for more than 0.4 seconds, regenerative braking is set to the strongest level MAX. At this level, using the resistance that occurs when the electric motor generates electrical energy, it decelerates quickly as if you hit the brake and maximizes efficiency. Also, in this state, you can come to a complete stop without pressing the brake pedal. Conversely, pulling the right paddle for over one second activates the smart regenerative system.

Controlling the paddle shift to adjust the regenerative braking level

By pulling the right paddle shifter (+), you can shift into a higher gear or lower the level of regenerative braking

Regenerative braking control paddle shift user guide

The smart regenerative system automatically adjusts the regenerative braking according to the road conditions and traffic flow ahead; This minimizes unnecessary braking and acceleration, increasing energy efficiency and reducing driver fatigue. In situations where the vehicle's speed needs to be reduced - for example, the vehicle in front is too close or is going downhill - the system optimizes driving speed by increasing the level of regenerative braking intervention. This is thanks to the recognition of the road conditions ahead by using various driving information, such as a front sensor that detects the distance between vehicles. However, the smart regenerative system cannot completely stop the vehicle or avoid a collision in unexpected situations such as sudden stop or cut-off of the vehicle in front, so the driver's attention is required.

3. Ambient lighting sets the mood inside the cabin and induces safe driving

The ambient light on the crash pad not only sets a sensual mood in the cabin but also delivers a three-dimensional image and sense of speed. However, this is not just a device that subtly illuminates the cabin. It also provides a personalized user experience. The driver can freely select 10 colors and 64 custom colors selected by the UX designer for ambient light, and the color changes according to the drive mode, helping the driver to focus on driving.

Ambient light on the passenger dashboard

Setting the high speed alert with ambient light

In addition to these emotional functions, it also plays an additional role in inducing safe driving. In order to effectively guide the safe driving section, when speeding guidance is provided in conjunction with the infotainment system, the 'speed guide linkage' function is implemented, which visually warns the interior mood lighting by blinking. Such detailed consideration would be one of the true charms of Niro, which considers customers' safe driving.

4. 10.25-inch cluster: The tachometer with analog looks & the digital UX

Niro dashboard design

Niro's 10.25-inch cluster maximizes the advantages of digital UX in a full-graphic way with a gorgeous design. In particular, the Niro's powertrain uses both an engine and an electric motor, so the battery charge status is displayed on the right circular gauge. Through this, the operation of the engine and motor can be easily monitored while driving, and the status of the regenerative braking system that charges the battery can be easily identified. If the driving mode is changed to a sport mode with dynamic driving sensibility, the right circular gauge indicating the battery charge status is changed to an RPM gauge similar to that of ordinary internal combustion engines.

Of course, you can change the cluster settings to display the RPM gauge even in eco mode to suit the driver's preference. In the sport mode, the red needle of the RPM gauge moves up and down, creating a dynamic analog driving sensibility, and in the eco mode, the power operation status is notified to help you drive efficiently.

Niro dashboard setting

5. One device that controls both the infotainment system and the climate control

Infotainment / climate controller

An innovative user environment that maximizes both space efficiency and convenience is applied to the center fascia - infotainment/climate controller. One panel with LCD touch technology provides two types of UI (User Interface): climate control settings and infotainment settings, reducing physical buttons and creating a more modern interior.

Two user-intuitive physical dials on either side of the touch panel can be used as a thermostat or as an audio volume/settings controller, depending on the settings. Currently, the infotainment/climate controller is housed by Kia's key models such as the Niro, K8, Sportage, and EV6.

Infotainment / climate controller

6. Boomerang-shaped C-pillar for air curtain

Niro C-pillar accent color layout

The exterior of the Niro has a unique SUV design that extends from the headlamp to the boomerang-shaped rear lamp. In particular, the two-tone color C-pillar with a dynamic image catches the eye. You can choose different colors for the body and C-pillar, completing the unique exterior of the Niro.

But Niro's C-pillar isn't just about being pretty. Its design is also for air curtains; It improves aerodynamic performance, such as lowering the aerodynamic coefficient by 0.004cd. This is because the part of the airflow passing through the side of the body should also go through the C-pillar.

Niro C-pillar vent holes

7. Multi-functional console tray creates two different atmospheres

Large-capacity tray center console

The center console can be shaped according to the purpose of use; For example, by separating the open-type variable cup holder from the center console, you can efficiently store small items such as tumblers and smartphones. However, when storing bulky items, it can be used as a multi-functional console tray by removing the bulkhead that separates the center console from the cup holder.

The efficient use of the storage space was thanks to the electronic shift dial (Shift by Wire, SBW) and the electronic parking brake (EPB). As the current shift lever and parking brake are no longer needed, passengers can use the cabin space smarter and more efficiently.

Large-capacity tray center console

8. A headrest that not only protects the occupants but can also be used as a hanger

Rear view of versatile first-row headrest

Niro's first-row headrest not only minimizes the risk of neck and back injuries in a rear collision, but also can be multi-purpose hangers. The unique design on the back of the headrest improves convenience by allowing you to hang bags or clothes. You can hang a jacket, shopping bag, or bag on the back of the headrest to keep your belongings clean and neat. The design of the back of this headrest is made up of elegant curves, providing visual satisfaction. The secret charm of the two-faced Niro Hybrid also lies in the headrests.