Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid To Gain AWD system


We got some exciting news to report here at, as we have learned that the new Kia Niro hybrid / plug-in hybrid will be offered as an AWD model.

It should be noted that this is not the AWD system that you might be used to, but rather the electric 4WD system that has been developed by Hyundai Wia, a South Korean automotive parts maker tied to the Hyundai-Kia group.

Kia Niro e-4WD system

In a standard 4WD system, you need a shaft and a transfer case to send power to the rear wheels, which results in a reduction of interior luggage space, as well as poorer fuel efficiency.

The E-4WD system uses an electric motor mounted between the rear wheels to deliver that power.

The positioning and size of this unit means that more cargo space is freed up inside, and improves fuel efficiency and leg room.

What is e-4WD and how it works


The electric 4WD systems are relatively new technology, and currently only seen in a small number of vehicles.

The automakers that do use this system usually do so in hybrid plug-in models.

Some of the vehicles you will find E-4WD in include the Volvo XC90 plug-in, BMW i8, Lexus RX hybrid, and Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV.

As plug-in hybrid models become more common, so will this system.

To be used in a range of Kia, Hyundai vehicles

Don’t expect the use of the e-4WD system in the Kia Niro plug-in hybrid to be the last time that we see the Koreans use it, as it will almost certainly show up in other Hyundai and Kia models.

It would make sense for the Kia Sportage and the Sorento SUV’s to start using the system, and it may also end up in the next-generation Soul crossover vehicle.

After all, the Soul Trail’ster concept vehicle from last year had this system fitted.


  1. Bryan says:

    Excellent that an upcoming next generation Soul crossover re-design will offer the e-4WD. I’m enjoying my current Soul, a white 5-speed 2011 base gas model, so much that I don’t think any other vehicle out there would do for the car to replace the one I have now. My 2011 Kia Soul just passed 75,000 miles on it. So we will be fitted out with a good, sound Kia Soul for many, many miles ahead. I just always love to shop online for my next car, and sometimes, just sometimes, I just have ta have one before I really need it. Know what I mean? Kia really outdid theirselves with the Soul, though, car lovers. It handles and drives so solid and well, it’s so fun to drive, tracks and holds the road so well, is really pretty quiet in the cabin, and is so well-buttoned down, that I can’t imagine a car that could really outdo this one in this crossover form. Bingo-boingo-bango, Kia!

  2. Robert says:

    If this is true, I want to say thank you and congratulations, this is a great move and I’m sure it will be well accepted in the US market and an important vehicle in the Kia line-up.

  3. peter says:

    Note that Kia Soul “may” get the e-4WD, states the article! Not confirmed, but highly possible, since the system is already available.

  4. Ross says:

    Too little, too late. Pulled the trigger on an Outback as I need AWD for the climate I live in. Was so excited for the Niro, but there was no indication of the possibility of AWD.

    Oh well. Only 5-7 years to go.

  5. himi says:

    Ross, did you consider a Sorento or Sportage? They both have AWD…

  6. Green says:

    Can anyone tell me on which corner of the plug in Niro will the socket be positioned,!!?????

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