It's an all-new low emissions vehicle that Kia are planning to add to its' growing model line-up: The Niro. The first of what Kia are calling an eco-car, they have labelled it a Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV) – a car with all the practicality and appeal of a compact SUV, but with even better fuel economy.
Although still at concept stage, 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.”
That 'blank canvas' was achieved by creating the Niro away from all existing Kia models, highlighting the fact that it is the first of what Kia hope will be many dedicated hybrid vehicles with fantastic fuel economy, a modern style all of their own in what is traditionally a pretty conservative sector, and a specific set of environmentally-conscious technologies and next-generation powertrains.
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.”
The Kia Niro boasts a brand new design when compared to other Kia models with a sporty, aerodynamic body and subtly sculptured surfaces giving the car a fresh and modern look. Designed in both California and Namyang, the Niro is still a Kia thanks primarily to the signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille (and a series of other design features too) but in reality it has no predecessor to compare it to.
Yes, it is the shape of a compact SUV, but the key inspirations behind what is now an HUV are modern architectural designs and contemporary sculptural art, with the vehicle boasting smooth, sleek proportions, a low centre of gravity and a stable wide stance. It's also a long wheelbase car so inhabitants of the cabin enjoy the maximum possible interior space.
The body of the new Kia Niro is made of more than 50% ultra-high strength steel, meaning a lighter car - something that Kia are aiming for with all new models - so that fuel economy is increased, and a safer car too.
Kia already has a reputation for producing cars with a strong crash safety performance, and the aim of Kia's engineering teams is to get the highest possible marks from independent safety test organisations around the world, not only with the high-strength body but also the latest passive, active and pre-collision safety features that are now part and parcel of a Kia vehicle.
And with the high-strength safety-first platform will come a reduction in noise, vibration and harshness, to give the car a smooth, refined ride and engaging handling characteristics.
Everything about the design of the Kia Niro revolves around class-leading fuel economy and Co2 reductions in the compact SUV segment. Kia have targeted other SUVs when it comes to fuel economy thanks to the hybrid part of the powertrain as well as aiming a CO2 emissions rating of under 90 g/km (combined, based on the New European Driving Cycle).
Right at the start of the development process of the Kia Niro, it was decided that the car would be a dedicated hybrid model. The car will achieve its ultra-low emissions levels and impressive fuel economy thanks to a downsized hybrid six-speed double-clutch transmission powertrain which combines Kia’s 1.6-litre ‘Kappa’ petrol direct injection (GDI) engine (with 105PS power output and 147 Nm of torque) with a 1.56 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack and 32 kW electric motor.
And later there are plans for a plug-in hybrid powertrain 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 in 2016 with production at Kia’s Hwasung manufacturing facility in Korea scheduled to start later in the year.
In the meantime check out Nationwide Vehicle Contract's wide range of low-emission vehicles (both all-electric and hybrid) available for leasing as well as a great choice of Kia models with some great offers.