Kia 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.
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.
The new Kia Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle is due to be unveiled next year, with production for overseas markets scheduled to start in late 2016. The car will be built at Kia’s Hwasung manufacturing facility in Korea.