Kia has now become the latest manufacturer to join the subcompact crossover bandwagon with the introduction of the new Kia Niro. The crossover is the company’s first dedicated hybrid vehicle, and comes as no surprise following the introduction of sister company’s Hyundai Ioniq.
Powering the Niro is a 102 hp 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine mated to an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery, and a six-speed dual clutch transmission. That combination produces a total output of 146 hp and 264Nm of torque. Fuel consumption figures have yet to be confirmed, although Kia is looking at a combined cycle of 4.7 litres per 100km with a CO2 output of 89g/km for the Niro.
Interestingly, Kia plans to make the Niro a fun-driving car, something that’s quite atypical in the world of regular hybrid city cars. If that were to be true, then the Niro has a lot of expectations to live up to. But to give credit where it’s due, the design of the car certainly veers towards the sportier side, but whether or not it delivers fun driving, functional utility and hybrid efficiency remains to be seen.
Locally though, the Niro should make perfect sense for Naza Kia, but the likelihood is as good as none. Last year, the brand suffered a sharp drop in sales in Malaysia and Kia desperately needs to mitigate this by introducing several, more exciting products. The Niro, perhaps?