► It’s the Kia HUV hybrid 4×4
► New Niro SUV due in 2016
► First sketches, details emerge
And you thought the SUV moniker was baffling? Kia has now deviated from the norm and announced plans to launch an HUV, or hybrid utility vehicle.
These first sketches reveal the blueprint for the company’s new hybrid 4×4, badged Niro and due in late 2016. The US/Korean design looks remarkably sober and cautious – this is not a Soul shape-shifter.
It’ll be a hybrid-only model and the Koreans forecast CO2 emissions of ‘sub-90g/km’ thanks to a 1.6-litre petrol engine spinning the wheels in conjunction with a 1.56kWh lithium-polymer battery, 32kW electric motor and six-speed twin-clutch transmission.
Kia Niro: what we know
This production car is named after 2013’s concept car of the same name and will pioneer a new ‘dedicated eco-car platform’. In line with the electrified SUVs in the pipeline from the likes of Tesla and Audi, it will be hybrid only in an attempt to shift the image of petrol-gobbling off-roaders. A plug-in version is under development, says Kia and all Niros feature high-strength steels and other weight-saving measures to trim 5% of bulk by the end of the decade.
Hyoung-Keun Lee, vice chairman and CEO of Kia Motors Corporation, said: ‘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.’
CAR’s spies have previously caught the Niro in prototype form testing cooling and brakes in the Austrian Alps; the newly released sketches mean there’s nothing left to guess about what’s beneath its camouflage.