Originally proposed as a concept vehicle at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2013, Kia has revealed official pictures of the first small SUV crossover to come to market with a hybrid powertrain. Sporty and versatile, the All-New Kia Niro is described as a Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV). The Niro will make its full debut at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2016.
The advanced, stylish, contemporary look of the All-New Niro was developed at the Kia Design Center America in Irvine, California, and in the manufacturer's primary facility – the Namyang Design Center in Hwaseong, South Korea. Journalists have already had a sneak peek, albeit driving a camouflaged prototype in 2015, and have described a SUV that will fit in between the Soul and upcoming Sportage in terms of size.
While the video below was released in 2013 for the concept unveiled in Frankfurt, the freshly released images show a compact crossover SUV with a an aerodynamic body, raised curves towards the rear that give the Niro an muscular, athletic stance, and high-positioned LED taillights. The sleek lines of the bodywork and rear windows highlight the car’s sporty profile.
The All-New Kia Niro is the first Kia vehicle to be constructed on the innovative dedicated "eco-car" platform, and the hybrid has been engineered to earn sub-90g/km CO2 emissions combined with its brand-new petrol-electric powertrain.
The Niro has a 1.6-litre engine generating 104bhp and 147Nm of torque, a 1.56 kWh lithium-polymer battery, and a 32kW electric motor. Auto Express described it as "one of the smoothest hybrids" and said it "quietly slips between electric and petrol power modes around town".
Interior technology and driver aids are reported to include wireless phone charging (as does the newly launched All-New Kia Optima), advanced smartphone connectivity, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, seven airbags, and other upmarket features such as heated and cooling seats and a rear-view camera to help with parking.
The emergence of the Niro certainly seems set to herald a new era of practical, super-efficient vehicles from Kia that are fun to drive as well as being environmentally friendly.