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Chicago show: Kia goes back to back with Niro

Next: Kia’s Niro might be a hybrid, but it also could be the Korean company’s answer to the likes of Mazda’s CX-3.

No rest for Kia as it keeps the new SUVs coming at American motor shows


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12 Jan 2016

KIA had no sooner unveiled its plug-in hybrid Telluride large SUV concept at the Detroit motor show this week, than it was talking up its next hybrid vehicle debut at the Chicago motor show next month.

Called Niro, the so-called hybrid utility vehicle (HUV) is a production-ready crossover wagon built on Kia’s new dedicated eco-car platform.

Although details are scarce, the vehicle might be Kia’s sub-Sportage small SUV to compete with the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and Subaru XV.

If so, Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) will give it more than a cursory look, as it is in the market for such a vehicle, as long as it is available with a conventional petrol engine.

The blurb accompanying the Niro sketch released overnight confirms it is a compact SUV, but there is no word on alternative powertrains to the hybrid.

Designed in a collaboration between Kia’s design studios in California and South Korea, the Niro is said to be an all-new model with a dedicated petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, that can deliver sub-90 grams-per-kilometre carbon dioxide emissions.

Kia said the Niro “will demonstrate the considerable steps the brand has made in delivering comfortable, fun-to-drive vehicles that lead the way in low-emission motoring”.

The Niro is expected to take some of its design cues from the concept of the same name shown at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show.

No on-sale date has been confirmed, but GoAuto understands it is likely to enter showrooms in 2017.

In Australia, Kia is warming up to launch the new-generation Sportage this month at the Australian Open tennis tournament when Kia is a major sponsor.

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