Kia Niro concept: all-paw hybrid unveiled

The Kia Niro concept has been officially unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show, revealing a hybrid-powered city-sized SUV.

Previewing a potential future sub-compact four-wheel-drive SUV to challenge the likes of the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur and Ford EcoSport, the Kia Niro concept is 4185mm long, 1850mm width and 1558mm high and rides on a 2590mm wheelbase.

For perspective, the four-seat Niro concept measures in 235mm longer, 128mm wider and 104mm taller than a Ford Fiesta.

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Employing a similar hybrid drivetrain to the Kia Provo seen at the Geneva motor show, the Niro concept�??s front wheels are powered by a 118kW version of the Korean brand�??s turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

This leaves an electric-hybrid system, charged via regenerative braking technology, to deliver up to 33kW to the rear wheels �??when road conditions require extra grip�?�.

First seen last month, the Kia Niro concept is finished in a unique �??Nightfall�?? colour with an exterior highlighted by a brushed stainless steel roof and �??Limelight�??-accented �??tiger-nose�?? grille and front and rear tow hooks.

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Front-hinged �??Butterfly�?? doors, spotlights, milled aluminium 20-inch five-spoke wheels and wing mirrors with built-in cameras complete the exterior look.

At the rear, a rearward-facing video camera joins a tailgate that, when opened, splits the rear tail-light clusters.

The Niro�??s interior echoes that of the Provo with one-piece moulded front seats and a deep-dished aluminium and leather steering wheel. The new concept does gain a digital instrument binnacle and a dash-mounted screen able to display vehicle attitude, a compass and other infotainment information such as Bluetooth and satellite navigation functions.

Kia Niro Concept - 10

Kia�??s Frankfurt design studio head, the man leading the European-based project, Gregory Guillaume, said right from the start, the Niro concept was about looking at where Kia might take its future B-segment contenders.

�??As designers we have to look at what the future could hold, not just what is probable, and we believe drivers want excitement and new solutions from their vehicles,�?� Guillaume said.

�??You have to look at where the market opportunities exist and how we can exploit them. Perhaps Niro answers that challenge.�?�

Kia is yet to announce any production plans for the Niro but admits the concept�??s Frankfurt appearance is being used to gauge public opinion and possible demand.

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