The Niro is designed as a hybrid utility vehicle with an elevated body for a better view of the road. Right now it only comes in a base model trim that features a hatchback and 18-inch alloy wheels. The size of the Niro falls into the subcompact crossover market with a 106.3 wheelbase, and it has bold design made from a lightweight and high-strength steel and aluminum to make to keep its weight down. The windshield features an acoustic glass and the side mirrors have a contoured design to help reduce wind noise.
The power for the Niro comes from a 1.6L 4-cylinder Kappa GDI engine designed for efficiency. It is only available in a hybrid model, and the electric piece of the puzzle is a 43 horsepower motor powered by a 1.56-kWh lithium-ion battery. The combined horsepower with the two engines is 146 and Kia expects it to get 195 lb-ft of torque. The projected fuel efficiency is 52 mpg.
The Niro has front wheel drive and it comes with a dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission. It comes standard with a Predictive Energy Control feature that uses a combination of the navigation and cruise control systems to help make the most of your gas and energy by predicting the road conditions ahead. This system will decide when the conditions are good for recharging the battery and when it should use the stored energy to power the vehicle and make the wheels go. This is the first car to use this type of technology to adjust the energy for when the car travels uphill and downhill.
Inside the cabin, you’ll find a 7-inch touchscreen system compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It has 8GB of storage space along with WiFi and Kia’s Uvo support system. The cockpit has a modern look with a clean and uncluttered dashboard. The wider stance of the Niro allows for plenty of room on the inside both in the front and back seats. The battery sits underneath the rear seats to make it roomier in the cabin and allow room for a flat load door.
Kia took advantage of all the new safety options and loaded the Niro with tech and safety features. It comes with blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning systems along with a rear cross-traffic alert system.
Even though gas prices are low right now, the Kia is ready for when they go back up. They have not announced a release date for the Niro yet they say buyers should see it on showroom floors sometime in early 2017.
Image via Kia.com