Automotive News: Kia Motors Corp. plans a Chicago Auto Show debut for the crossover-styled Niro that will be Kia’s first dedicated hybrid model.
Teaser images of the Niro released ahead of its unveiling in February suggest some design cues may be borrowed from Kia’s newly redesigned Sportage compact crossover, including a deeply creased hood.
The Niro will be built at Kia’s assembly plant in Hwaseong, South Korea, and is slated to go on sale in late 2016.
It will be powered by a 1.6-liter gasoline engine paired with a 32-kilowatt electric motor. A plug-in hybrid variant will follow.
With the crossover design, Kia is targeting the American market, where the boxy, trucklike Soul hatchback outsold all other subcompact cars in 2015.
“Up until now, hybrids have been fairly cerebral: It’s about fuel economy and the environment,” Kia Motors America Vice President Product Planning Orth Hedrick told Automotive News at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
“Why don’t we just make a really cool car that has a lot of utility and versatility and also just happens to be a hybrid? There’s no reason that a green car needs to look unusual.”
Kia built the Niro using a dedicated hybrid platform shared with the Hyundai Ioniq, a liftback sedan scheduled to go on sale in the United States in late 2016.
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