Kia has today announced its plans to introduce an all-new low emissions vehicle to its growing model line-up. The Kia Niro – labelled a Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV) – represents a new concept from the Korean car brand, and marks the development of Kia’s first dedicated eco-car platform.
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 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.” Lee added
“The compact SUV market remains one of the fastest-growing segments around the world, and by offering a handsome, modern appearance, high practicality and extraordinary fuel economy, Kia’s new Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle will be the most appealing.”
Bold styling for all-new hybrid model
A new addition to Kia’s design-led product range, the Kia Niro will boast a brand new design, with a sporty, aerodynamic body, subtly sculptured surfaces and styling details finishing off the car’s modern new look. While the Niro is an all-new model, with no direct predecessors, it is still immediately recognizable as a Kia, carrying forward the company’s signature ‘tiger- nose’ grille and a series of other design cues from the latest Kia products. The styling of the new Niro development project has been led by Kia’s design centers in California, USA and Sporting a compact SUV shape, the car’s designers highlight the most modern architectural designs and contemporary sculptural art as key inspirations behind the new HUV’s body.
The vehicle boasts smooth, sleek proportions, while its relatively wide stance portrays stability and a low center of gravity. The long wheelbase minimizes the size of the front and rear overhangs, while ensuring occupants enjoy the maximum possible interior space.
Class-leading fuel economy and sub-90 g/km CO2 emissions
The main focus of engineering teams’ efforts behind the development of the new model is to deliver class-leading fuel economy in the compact SUV segment. The Kia Niro will combine a stylish SUV design with greater fuel economy than its rivals, with a target CO2 emissions rating of under 90 g/km (combined, based on the New European Driving Cycle).
The platform underpinning the Niro has been engineered specifically to accommodate this next-generation gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. A plug-in hybrid powertrain is due to be added to the car’s line-up later in its life-cycle.
Ultra-strong steel for Niro’s unique new platform
Based upon a bespoke new platform, the Kia Niro’s body is made of more than 50% ultra-high strength steel, contributing to the class-leading fuel economy and high safety ratings that development teams are targeting. Part of a wider effort by Kia, the extended use of ultra-high strength steel will help Kia reach its target of a 5% reduction in the average weight of new car bodies by 2020 compared to 2014 levels.
With a strong, lightweight body, the Niro will build on Kia’s reputation for producing cars with a strong crash safety performance. The company’s engineering teams are targeting the highest possible marks from independent safety test organizations around the world, aided by a host of the latest passive, active and pre-collision safety features Kia has to offer.
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 strong body also enables Kia’s chassis and dynamics experts to give the car a smooth, refined ride and engaging handling characteristics.
Production for global markets scheduled to start in 2016
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.