Kia has announced that they will introduce their own champion in the realm of hybrid SUVs, dubbed “HUV”. And it’s all up in your face.
The concept introduced in Frankfurt in 2013 will get a production model. After a prototype version was test driven by a select few in South Korea, the manufacturer is ready to show their newcomer to the world. The Niro has been developed in its own little bubble, isolated from the other Kia models. The result is a brand-new, hybrid-dedicated, “eco-car” platform that combines all the convenience of a utility vehicle with the fuel economy of a hybrid powertrain. The new architecture is made of over 50% ultra-high strength steel, making for a platform that is both lightweight and strong.
The sketches of the upcoming production version of the Niro hint at a slightly less extreme styling than the one introduced in Frankfurt, with the oversized wheels, triangular headlamps, massive concave silhouette and butterfly doors. The new lines reveal a more conservative, Kia-inspired design and well-balanced proportions. The Niro should be offered with a 1.6L “Kappa” direct injection engine rated at 103 hp and 108 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a 1.56-kWh lithium-polymer battery pack and a 32-kW electric motor. The hybrid powertrain is expected to be combined with a six-speed, double-clutch automatic transmission.
This new model is part of Kia’s dedication to reducing emissions by improving the fuel efficiency of its lineup by 25% comes 2020. The Kia Niro Hybrid should head for production in late 2016 at the Hwasung plant in Korea.