Kia has today announced its plans to introduce an all-new low emissions vehicle to its growing model line-up. The Niro – labelled a Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV) – represents a new concept from the Korean car brand, and marks the development of Kia’s first dedicated eco-car platform.
Niro will maintain all the practicality and appeal of a compact SUV, while offering greater fuel economy. Engineered from the ground up as a dedicated hybrid vehicle, its attractive, modern styling will help the car stand out in a traditionally conservative sector.
The Niro’s all-new platform has been engineered in isolation from existing Kia models, and is designed to accommodate a specific set of environmentally-conscious technologies and next-generation powertrains.
Hyoung-Keun Lee, Vice Chairman & CEO, Kia Motors Corporation, commented, “Our new model is designed to offer buyers everything they could want from a compact SUV in terms of practicality and styling, while providing the typically low running costs associated with a dedicated hybrid powertrain. By encouraging our engineers to take a ‘blank canvas’ approach, we have tried to develop a car that will appeal to a broader range of consumers.”
Lee added, “The compact SUV market remains one of the fastest-growing segments around the world, and by offering a handsome styling, modern appearance, high practicality and extraordinary fuel economy, Kia’s new Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle will be the most appealing and desirable car in its class.”
Bold styling for all-new hybrid model
A new addition to Kia’s design-led product range, the Kia Niro will boast a brand new design, with a sporty, aerodynamic body, subtly sculptured surfaces and styling details finishing off the car’s modern new look. While the Niro is an all-new model, with no direct predecessors, it is still immediately recognisable as a Kia, carrying forward the company’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille and a series of other design cues from the latest Kia products. The styling of the new Niro development project has been led by Kia’s design centres in California, USA and Namyang, Korea.
Sporting a compact SUV shape, the car’s designers highlight the most modern architectural designs and contemporary sculptural art as key inspirations behind the new HUV’s body. The vehicle boasts smooth, sleek proportions, while its relatively wide stance portrays stability and a low center of gravity. The long wheelbase minimises the size of the front and rear overhangs, while ensuring occupants enjoy the maximum possible interior space.
Class-leading fuel economy and sub-90 g/km CO2 emissions
The main focus of the engineering teams’ efforts behind the development of the new model is to deliver class-leading fuel economy in the compact SUV segment. The Kia Niro will combine a stylish SUV design with greater fuel economy than its rivals, with a target CO2 emissions rating of under 90 g/km (combined, based on the New European Driving Cycle).
Throughout the Niro’s development process, it has been conceived as a dedicated hybrid model. The car will achieve its ultra-low emissions levels and impressive fuel economy with a downsized hybrid powertrain, pairing Kia’s 1.6-litre ‘Kappa’ petrol direct injection (GDI) engine (105 ps power output and 147 Nm of torque) with a 1.56 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack and 32 kW electric motor. The powertrain’s combined power output and torque will be applied to the road through a highly-efficient six-speed double-clutch transmission.
The platform underpinning the Niro has been engineered specifically to accommodate this next-generation petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. A plug-in hybrid powertrain is due to be added to the car’s line-up later in its life-cycle.