Kia to launch sub-90g/km hybrid crossover
Unveiled as a pair of sketches, it’s likely that the Niro will be positioned in the B-SUV segment against the Nissan Juke, though Kia hasn’t confirmed this, and is said to offer the practicality of a crossover with the fuel economy of bespoke hybrid products such as the Toyota Prius.
The Niro’s platform is bespoke, developed specifically for alternative-fuel drivetrains and utilising lots of ultra-high strength steel to keep weight down. Its drivetrain combines a 103bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine and 43bhp electric motor, through a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and a plug-in hybrid is due to follow shortly after launch.
It kick-starts a much wider range of electrically-driven vehicles for Kia, which is targeting a 25% improvement over its 2014 average fuel efficiency by 2020. The brand will have 11 models with electric drive by the then, including a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle with a fuel cell stack similar in size to a 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engine.
Ki-Sang Lee, Senior Vice President, Eco Friendly Vehicle R&D Center, Kia Motors Corporation, said: “We don’t believe that there is any one ‘silver bullet’ that can satisfy the demand for low emission technology within the car industry, so we foresee a wide range of eco-friendly powertrains co-existing for an extended period of time. The plans we’ve announced today represent Kia’s ambition to become a worldwide leader in advanced propulsion technology.”