The brand new environmentally-friendly crossover from the South Korean automaker has recently debuted during the Chicago Auto Show in US livery and is now ready to head towards the Geneva Motor Show.
The European customers will catch the first glimpse of the new hybrid and the Niro might even be more successful on the Old Continent than in the States, as Germans, Brits and French motorists are more inclined to buy hybrids due to higher gasoline prices. What we have here is the first Kia subcompact crossover with a hybrid powertrain – meaning it will go against conventionally powered models such as the Nissan Juke. Under the hood sits a 1.6-liter engine coming with a little over 100 horsepower and mated to a 32 kW electric motor and a six-speed double-clutch transmission instead of a CVT that is more common on hybrid powertrains. The battery pack is of 1.56 kWh and the total combined output of the powertrain sits at 141 PS and 264 Nm (195 lb-ft) torque. Kia didn’t share the performance numbers yet, but don’t expect the Niro to go faster than nine seconds to 100 km/h or top anything above 190 km/h.
By the way, while the Niro is a subcompact crossover, its underlying platform is actually the one that has been developed specifically for eco-friendly models and as such shares many parts with the Hyundai Ioniq line – including the engine and battery. At 4,355 mm long, the Kia Niro is actually closer to compact territory, which is the same for the 2,700 mm wheelbase. The model should be lightweight thanks to the use of aluminum for the hood, tailgate, front control arms, front and rear knuckles and it’s also coming with fully independent suspension on both axles.