LA Auto Show 2019

Refreshed 2020 Kia Niro gets exterior enhancements, high-tech additions

Kia has updated the Niro Hybrid and Niro PHEV for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

It feels like the Kia Niro was just introduced but here we are at mid cycle refresh. The enhanced 2020 Kia Niro Hybrid and PHEV see the addition of key exterior equipment and technology to help it competitive in the tough SUV market as more hybrids make their way to the market.

"It's difficult to improve on a winning formula," said Michael Cole, president, KMA, "but we're always striving to improve every product we sell and the enhanced 2020 Niro provides new owners the latest and greatest while retaining the value, utility and performance of the original Niro."

2020 Kia Niro Hybrid 2020 Kia Niro PHEV front face wheels lights Kia has given the Niro new headlights and grille.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Niro now features projector-type headlights and fog lamps. A new diamond-pattern grille brings its looks in line with the freshest Kia models. There are dual chevron-shaped LED daytime running lights.

The rear faux skid plate is wider and more pronounced in the 2020 model versus the 2019. Kia has added new 16- and 18-inch wheel designs.

2020 Kia Niro Hybrid 2020 Kia Niro PHEV back rear tailgate The back of the Niro features a faux skid plate.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The powertrain in unchanged. The 2020 Kia Niro Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor that work in tandem to get 50 mpg in the FE trim and 43 mpg in the Touring trim. The Niro PHEV is powered by the same engine and motor but also has a lithium-ion battery. The model achieves 105 MPGe. It has 26 miles of all-electric range.

2020 Kia Niro Hybrid 2020 Kia Niro PHEV dashboard screen wheel shifter The Kia Niro has a new standard 7-inch infotainment screen.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has given the cabin of the Niro a more significant upgrade with a new 7-inch instrument cluster with drive mode graphics. An 8-inch infotainment touch screen is standard but buyers can choose to upgrade to a 10.25-inch screen. There's also an available Harman Kardon premium audio system.

Drivers can utilize new optional paddle shifters. An electronic parking brake and mood lighting with six different colors are available.

2020 Kia Niro Hybrid 2020 Kia Niro PHEV paddle shifters Paddle shifters are available.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Pricing for the Niro Hybrid and Niro Plug-In have not yet available and will be announced closer to the on-sale date early in 2020. The 2019 Niro Hybrid started in the low $20,000s. The 2019 Niro Plug-In is priced closer to $30,000.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The front of the concept is very EV in its design.

Photo courtesy of Honda

The Honda SUV e:concept debuted in China this week signaling what's ahead for a future mass-production model of the Honda brand's first electric vehicle to be introduced in China. While what's sold in China doesn't always make it to American shores, there are a few things to be learned by taking a closer look at the concept.

We know that the vehicle's powertrain is electric. How many motors? What type of battery? How much power? In a nutshell, we have no idea. However, that could be where Honda's relationship with General Motors kicks in. A recent agreement to share platforms and co-build future vehicles builds on the electric vehicle platform sharing agreement the two automakers signed in April. In the first agreement agreement, Honda agreed to work with GM to develop two new electric vehicles based on GM's global EV platform powered by Ultium batteries.

Honda SUV e:concept The sloping roofline of the concept is indicative of another Honda model.Photo courtesy of Honda

The concept's sweeping looks are more crossover than SUV. While there's plenty of doubt that the model will be a two-door vehicle when it arrives in showrooms, its overall aesthetic is new for Honda, though it has hints of the current-generation CR-V and Accord in its nose.

The roofline of the SUV and side profile look a lot like the 2020 Honda Avancier, a true crossover that got its start as a station wagon and now sits as the company's flagship in China. If indeed this model is an electric Avancier, it means that the U.S. market is unlikely to see it.

From a business perspective, this makes sense. Electric vehicles are not nearly as popular in the U.S. as they are in China and Europe, where they have been regulated into residents' lifestyles. Additionally, the U.S. electric vehicle charging infrastructure leaves much to be desired.

2020 Honda Avancier

Photo courtesy of Honda

Cars built for the Chinese market also do not have to meet the same strict safety testing standards as American vehicles so they can be made for less and sold for less. Upping to U.S. standards costs more and, when shipping and taxes are added in, the model may be priced out of sensibility for American Honda customers.

Wherever it's destined to go, the Honda will be a mass-production electric vehicle.

The company is committed to equipping the car with a number of safety technologies including omnidirectional advanced driver assistance systems, the next-generation Honda SENSING safety and driver-assistive system with improved recognition, predication and decision-making performance, as well as the next-generation Honda Connect, which features an AI assistant interface, smartphone link, and wireless updates.

Honda SUV e:concept The model features a unique black end with slim lights.Photo courtesy of Honda

Expect to see the next steps in the evolution of this concept in the coming year, even if it's just in spy photos.

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Jeep has debuted a lineup of models that celebrate the company's 80th anniversary.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The 2021 Jeep 80th Anniversary Editions are a special lineup of models that celebrate a birthday few nameplates reach. The 80th Anniversary Edition grade adds a host of equipment with commemorative enhancements to each model in the Jeep lineup.

2021 Jeep Wrangler 80th Anniversary Edition

2021 Jeep Wrangler 80th Anniversary Edition

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Jeep is making the Wrangler 80th Anniversary Edition available in Granite Crystal, Bright White, Hella Yella, Black, Firecracker Red, Sting Gray, Sarge, and Snazzberry paint colors.

The exterior enhancements to the model include Neutral Grey Metallic grille bezels, headlamp rings, and fog lamp bezels as well as body-color fender flares, and 80th Anniversary commemorative badging. Each 80th Anniversary model rides on 18-inch Granite Crystal-painted wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Dueler 255/70R18 all-terrain tires.

Inside, the model has black diamond embossed cloth seats with an 80th anniversary tag. Light Tungsten interior accent stitching, Anodized Gunmetal dash mid-bolsters, and Light Tungsten accent stitching on the Berber floor mats add color to the model.

The Wrangler has remote start, an 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 80th Anniversary Edition has a starting price of $35,990 for two-door models and $39,490 for four-door SUVs. Each comes with an additional $1,495 destination charge.

​2021 Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary Edition

2021 Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary Edition

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Buyers can get their special edition Gladiator with a Granite Crystal, Bright White, Black, Firecracker Red, Hydro Blue, Sarge, or Snazzberry paint job.

It has a similar features list to the Wrangler, which includes 18-inch wheels painted in Granite Crystal and Bridgestone Dueler 255/70R18 all-terrain tires. Neutral Grey Metallic grille bezels, headlamp rings, and fog lamp bezels sit at the front while body-color fender flares grace the sides of the truck. Each model comes with 80th Anniversary commemorative badging.

The interior features list is the same too. It has black diamond embossed cloth seats with an 80th anniversary tag, light Tungsten interior accent stitching, Anodized Gunmetal dash mid-bolsters, and Light Tungsten accent stitching on the berber floor mats.

The Gladiator has remote start, an 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio.

The starting MSRP of the Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary edition is $41,740. Each model also comes with a $1,495 destination fee.

​2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition

The Jeep Grand Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition will only be sold as a 4x4. It is priced at $44,335 plus a $1,495 destination fee.

The model is available in Granite Crystal, Walnut Brown, Bright White, Diamond Black, Slate Blue, Sangria, and Velvet Red paint jobs. it rides on 20-inch wheels that have a Granite Crystal finish. The exterior also features 80th Anniversary commemorative badge.

Each Grand Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition model features leather seats and Light Tungsten interior accents. The SUV has an 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio.

It also gets Jeep's ProTech II Package, which includes full-speed forward collision warning with active braking, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, LaneSense Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and advanced brake assist.

2021 Jeep Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition

Like the Jeep Grand Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition, the Jeep Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition will be sold just in a 4x4 drivetrain. It will be priced at $33,805 plus a $1,495 destination charge.

Jeep will sell the model in the buyer's choice of Granite Crystal, Slate Blue, Hydro Blue, Olive Green, Spitfire Orange, Sangria, Velvet Red, Light Brownstone, Bright White, and Diamond Black paint colors. 80th Anniversary commemorative badging is on the SUV.

Each special edition Cherokee rides on 19-inch wheels with a Granite Crystal finish.

The cabin features premium leather seats with Light Tungsten accent stitching, power front seats with lumbar, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and a dual-pane sunroof. Anodized Gun Metal interior accents, a black headliner, and berber floor mats complete the look.

2021 Jeep 80th Anniversary Edition model full lineup

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

2021 Jeep Compass 80th Anniversary Edition

The Jeep Compass 80th Anniversary Edition is also available just as a 4x4. Its $29,695 price tag is lower than that of the same edition of the Cherokee. It too has a $1,495 destination charge.

Jeep is selling the SUV in Granite Crystal, Laser Blue, Jazz Blue, Olive Green, Redline, White, Diamond Black, and Velvet Red paint colors. It has 19-inch Granite Crystal-colored wheels and 80th Anniversary commemorative badging.

The interior of the Compass has leather seats with Light Tungsten accent stitching, a power driver's seat with lumbar, automatically dimming rearview mirror, remote start, 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and navigation. It also includes Piano Black and Anodized Gun Metal interior accents, black headliner, and berber floor mats.

​2021 Jeep Renegade 80th Anniversary Edition

2021 Jeep Renegade 80th Anniversary Edition

The smallest Jeep, the Renegade, also comes in an 80th Anniversary Edition variant. It has a starting MSRP of $27,595 and only comes in a 4x4 configuration. A $1,495 destination charge is also applicable.

Jeep is offering the model in Granite Crystal, Alpine White, Bikini, Black, Colorado Red, Jetset Blue, Omaha Orange, and Slate Blue paint colors. It rides on 19-inch wheels with a Granite Crystal finish and has 80th Anniversary commemorative badging.

Dual-zone automatic climate control, Anodized Gun Metal interior accents, black headliner, and berber floor mats come standard on the model. It also has an 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and navigation.

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