Kia is set to expand its crossover lineup with a segment-first dedicated hybrid model. Called the Niro, Kia has set its first public appearance in this year's Chicago Auto Show. Several camoflagued Niros have been spotted testing in public roads as the car draws closer to its 2017 production date.
The name Niro first appeared in 2013 as a three-door compact crossover concept. In concept form, the Niro is powered by a 1.6-liter Turbo GDI engine that delivers 160 PS to the front wheels. The rear wheels on the other hand are powered by a 45 PS electric motor that activates in electric drive mode. Transmission is a 7 speed dual clutch transmission.
From the dimly-lit preview photo, one will see Kia's trademark “Tiger Nose” grill, along with high mounted wraparound headlights. Its roof line follows the form of the current mid-sized Sorento but gradually sweeps downwards to merge the rear spoiler and the roof. At the back are LED tail lights that a reminiscent of Kia's current offerings.
The company calls the Niro a Hybrid Utility Vehicle and runs on a bespoke platform. Kia says, “(the) 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”. At the moment, Kia offers two alternative power vehicles. These are the Kia Optima Hybrid which went on sale last year and the Kia Soul EV (Electric Vehicle).