Kia has today announced its plans to introduce Niro, an all-new hybrid SUV that marks the development of a dedicated eco-car platform. The Niro – labelled a Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV) – represents a new concept from the Korean car brand, will combine the typical appeal and practicality of compact SUVs with a greater fuel economy – with a target CO2 emissions rating of under 90 g/km (combined, based on the New European Driving Cycle).
Engineered from the ground up as a dedicated hybrid vehicle, it will be characterized by a design aimed at helping 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.
While the Niro is an all-new model, with no direct predecessors, it will be recognizable as a Kia thanks to a number of styling cues, including the company’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille.
The styling of the new Niro development project has been led by Kia’s design centers in California, USA and Namyang, Korea.
The proportions feature a low center of gravity and a relatively wide stance which coveys a sense of stability, while the long wheelbase minimizes the size of the front and rear overhangs, and optimizes the interior space available to occupants.
The Niro will be equipped with a downsized hybrid powertrain, consisting of Kia’s 1.6-liter ‘Kappa’ petrol direct injection (GDI) engine (105 ps power output and 147 Nm of torque) coupled with a 1.56 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, a 32 kW electric motor, and a six-speed double-clutch transmission.
A plug-in hybrid powertrain is expected to be added to the car’s line-up later in its life-cycle.
The Kia Niro’s body is made of more than 50% ultra-high strength steel, which will help achieving the target of a 5% reduction in the average weight of new car bodies by 2020 compared to 2014 levels.
The high-strength platform will not only result in a high safety rating, but also help minimize noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), a key focus throughout the Niro’s conception.
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.