Kia released a teaser image of its Niro Hybrid Concept ahead of the production model’s 2016 debut.
The South Korean maker used the Niro nameplate a couple of years ago on a sub-compact crossover. However, this one is new and previews a compact size, dedicated hybrid model.
The design sketches show the common Kia front fascia, with the tiger-nose grille, headlights with incorporated LED DRLs and large fog lamps. The rear end makes the Niro recognizable as a Kia, as it resembles the rest of its SUV range.
All body panels are said to be aerodynamically optimized and they are joined by the plastic body cladding around the wheel arches to give it a more rugged look. With its larger dimensions and five-door body style, the new crossover sits between the Soul and the Sportage and it is described as an HUV (Hybrid Utility Vehicle).
Under its hood it has the same arrangement as the Hyundai Prius fighter. That’s a 1.6-liter Kappa petrol engine with 104 PS (103 HP) and 147 Nm (108 lb-ft) mated to a 32kW electric motor and a 1.45kWh lithium-polymer battery. Power is sent to the wheels through a six-speed DCT.
CO2 emissions lower than 90 g/km are targeted and, at the time of its launch, the new Niro will be front-wheel drive. However, four-wheel drive could be offered as an option.
The Kia Niro will be a global model and Autocar says that, in production form, it will be introduced in the USA as well. Chances are Kia will unveil it at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show next spring, rather than the Detroit Motor Show in January. Production will begin next fall at the Hwasung facility in Korea.