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      1.5L, 1.1kWh, 139HPc, MPGe 55/49, 26e, Wt 2,987
The Plug-In Hybrid is nearly identical to the regular hybrid
Niro. The main difference is its larger battery pack which will allow up to 26 miles on electric-only power and can be rechargedusinganexternalpowersource. Afterthose26 miles, the Plug-In drives just like the standard Niro and aver- ages 46 mpg combined.
Some of the Niro’s advantages include its SUV-like styling and interior appointments. It’s comfortable and easy to get inandoutof,andtheinteriorfunctionsareeasytouse. In fact, the Niro Plug-In comes fairly well-equipped right off the
lot, with excellent smartphone integration technology, standard driver assist features and, of course, Kia’s excellent standard warranty. The2020modelwasdesignedfromthegrounduptobeagas-electrichybridratherthananadaptationofan existing model. Its attractive styling doesn’t shout “hybrid” from the rooftops.
The Niro’s strength is that it offers crossover SUV-like utility and hybrid efficiency while meeting the needs of the many shop- pers who simply need an affordable, practical around-town vehicle.
Kia Niro (PlugIn)
MSRP $33,400
Nissan Leaf continued from page 27
year; as of 2016 too few to use for stationary energy storage. Nissan plans to offer recycled batteries as 4.2 kWh home storage, called xStorage.
In addition to the main battery, the Leaf also has an auxiliary twelve volt lead–acid battery that provides power to the car computer systems and accessories such as the audio system, supplemental restraint systems, headlights and windshield wipers. The small solar panel on the Leaf rear spoiler helps to charge this accessory battery.
For the 2011 model year Leafs, Nissan recommended owners to perform the following preventive actions to help maximize the LithiumIon battery’s useful life and its ability to hold a charge:
• Avoid exposing a vehicle to ambient temperatures above 120 °F for over 24 hours.
• Avoid storing a vehicle in temperatures below −13 °F for over 7 days.
• Avoid exceeding seventy percent to eighty percent state of charge when using frequent fast or quick charging.
• Allow the battery charge to go below eighty percent before charging.
• Avoid leaving the vehicle for over 14 days where the LithiumIon battery available charge gauge reaches a zero or near zero.
As a result of the controversy regarding several U.S. owners reporting premature loss of battery capacity in places with hot climate, Nissan USA announced in early 2012, that it would offer an extended battery warranty on the 2013 model year Leaf which included 2011 and 2012 model years as well. The
2013 Leaf was covered by a “State Of Health” clause which covered gradual capacity loss. This provision allowed for the battery pack to either be repaired or replaced if the battery life reduced quicker than anticipated over the eight years warranty period.
Costs for each battery pack cost Nissan an estimated $18,000 at the car’s launch in May 2010. By 2015, the battery costs were around $300/ kWh, giving a battery cost of around $5,500 for batteries not within the eight year warranty period. Nissan reported that in Europe only 3 of 35,000 Leaf batteries had failed.
In mid 2013, Nissan announced a battery replacement program to go into Nissan Leaf continued on page 80
  Kia Optima (PlugIn)
MSRP $35,390
  2.0L, 9.8kWhLp, 202HPc, MPGe 40/40, 29e, Wt 3,788
The Optima Plug-In has a lower front fascia inspired by the
Kia Stinger performance sedan along with unique head- lights with blue projector frames and a character line that runs from the top of each headlight.
The Plug In features a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor that make a combined 202 horsepower. Power gets sent to the front wheels through a 6-speed auto- matic transmission. This Plug In has a full-electric range of upto29miles. Withtheelectricrange,thisPlugInhasan estimated fuel economy of 103 miles per gallon equivalent.
Oncetheelectricrangeisexhausteditreturnsacombinedfueleconomyof40mpg. Usingaconventionalwalloutletitcan be charged in less than nine hours while using a 240-volt outlet it can be charged in two-and-a-half hours.
The interior is similar to the conventionally powered Optima. A unique instrument panel inside replaces the conventional tachometerwithahybridstatusdial. ItonlycomesavailabletheEXtrimandcomesstandardwith17-inchalloywheels, projector headlights and LED taillights.
Lexus UX 250h MSRP $34,000
2.0L, 9.8kWh, 181HPc, MPGe 41/38, 0e, Wt 3,788
The 2020 Lexus UX 250h is offered in the several available styles which include a 2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid, 4dr SUV anFSportandLuxurymodels. Thesemodelsareavailable with output up to 181 hp, depending on engine type, and comes with all wheel drive, as well as, continuously variable- speed automatic.
The new UX Hybrid is a decent-looking little vehicle with its oversizedgrilleandrazor-sharpcharacterlines. Anycontro- versy starts and ends with that grille, and while an argument could be made that its flanks possess too much flair, given
the youthful audience that Lexus expects to attract with the UX, I’d say the rest of this car is appropriately edgy. Thankstotheinstantaneoustorquefromtheelectricdrivemotor,theUX250hfeelslively. You’renotgoingtogetpressed backinyourseat,butyoualsowon’tworrywhenmergingontofast-flowingfreeways. At75mphontheexpressway,the UXisreasonablyquiet. Whenitcomestimetostop,theregenerativebrakingsystemismostlyagreeable,feelinggrabby only on occasion.
       The NX 300h features a four-cylinder engine and an elec- tric motor that combine to produce 194 horsepower. You’ll have no trouble driving around town, but the NX Hybrid can struggle at highway speeds, and the engine gets loud when it’sunderstrain. TheNX300hexcelswhenitcomestofuel economy. Itearns33mpginthecityand30mpgonthe highway, which are among the best ratings in the luxury compact SUV class. Driving the NX Hybrid will save you more than $600 per year in gas money compared to the non- hybridLexusNX. There’sonlyoneLexusNX300htrim. In
addition to its 194-horsepower engine/motor combo, continuously variable automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive, the NX Hybrid comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker audio sys- tem, HD Radio, satellite radio, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch display screen, smartphone app navigation, smart- phoneintegrationwiththeEnformAppSuiteandSiriEyesFree. Standarddriverassistancefeaturesincludelanedeparture warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.
Lexus NX 300h
MSRP $38,535
2.0L, 9.8kWh, 194HPc, MPGe 33/30, 0e, Wt 3,788
  JUNE 2020

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