Crossovers are all the rage in the auto market, and Kia is taking full advantage with its new Niro hybrid utility vehicle, which will be unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show.
The Niro, which was designed both in California and Korea, is reminiscent of the Sportage compact sport utility vehicle, especially in the rear where the taillights have a distinct family resemblance.
In front, the Niro has the same characteristic “tiger nose” grille that’s become the company’s signature design. Proportionately, the crossover looks less distinctive and more standard two-box crossover. Even though the pictures released by Kia only show a small part of the car’s exterior, it looks like an attractive if not quite ground-breaking design.
What makes the Niro special is how normal it looks. Kia didn’t take the Toyota route and make their alternative-powertrain vehicles look purposely weird. Making hybrid, electric and other alternatively-powered cars look like normal cars is a big step toward consumer acceptance.
The big news is under the hood. Kia designed an all-new hybrid powertrain specifically for the Niro. It features a downsized gasoline engine that helps it achieve an expected sub-90 g/km CO2 emissions rating.
The Niro is the first car to be built on the company’s all-new, dedicated eco-car platform, which most likely means there will be even more hybrid vehicles from the company.
The Chicago Auto Show will take place from February 13-21 with a media preview on February 11. Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more news and updates from the show.
Check out this snowy TFLcar video review of the 2016 Kia Optima: