“For the gasoline-burning part of the Niro’s powertrain, Kia cooked up a new 103-hp 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine specifically for duty in hybrid vehicles. Officially called the Kappa 1.6-liter GDI, the engine is optimized for efficiency, combining Atkinson-cycle operation with a cooled exhaust-gas recirculation system, direct injection, and long-stroke/narrow-bore dimensions. According to Kia, it’s the first time these technologies have been combined in a production engine. Efficiency and emissions also are improved via the Niro’s exhaust-heat recovery system, which quickens engine warm-up -- engines are more efficient when they’re warm -- by routing coolant through a heat exchanger in the exhaust system.
“The electric portion of the powertrain centers on a 43-hp electric motor integrated with the transmission. Electrical energy is stored in a compact and lightweight 1.56-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, and total combined output for the hybrid powertrain is 146 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Expect a plug-in version to become available later in the Niro’s life cycle.” -- Car and Driver