Kia has been on a bit of roll lately and with this, the company is announcing plans on an all-new low emissions vehicle to its growing model line-up. The car in question here is hailed as the Niro HUV. The brand has gone to the extent of inventing a new acronym for the Niro – Hybrid Utility Vehicle or HUV.
In essence, the HUV means that the car will be dimensionally proportionate to the likes of an SUV while offering greater fuel economy figures. Not a bad formula at all considering how buyers are more geared toward SUVs these days.
The designers at Kia faced a bit of pickle when it came to designing the Niro simply because it’s a brand new model with no predecessors, yet at the same time it has to embody the marque’s current styling language such as the signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille. Recognisability is a key factor here when it comes to design.
Speaking of the main focus, the Niro’s engineering team has been tasked with delivering class-leading fuel economy digits in the compact SUV segment. Kia has set a benchmark for the Niro and the figure to beat is a CO2 emissions rating of 90 g/km (combined, based on the New European Driving Cycle).
Kia reckons that they could do the job with a 1.6-litre ‘Kappa’ direct injection engine with 103 hp and 147 Nm of torque. That doesn’t sound like much but with a 1.56 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack and 32 kW electric motor, it should be adequate for the job at hand. The powertrain will be mated up to a highly-efficient six-speed double-clutch transmission, Kia says.
Based upon a bespoke new platform, the Kia Niro’s body is made of more than 50 percent ultra-high strength steel, which is responsible for better safety ratings and contributes to a weight reduction of around 5 percent.
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 Niro will be built at Kia’s Hwasung manufacturing plant in Korea.