First came Kia Motors New Zealand’s launch of the Niro Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models in March, and now the company reports strong interest in the all-electric Niro EV recently unveiled in Korea.
Designed in Frankfurt by Kia, the car is intended as a ‘styling study’ to gauge public response for a potential production model.
It is built on an all-new platform seen as the basis of “B-segment” products from Kia, and is deliberately tilting at the crossover market, but in a different way, the company says.
“Ten years ago people wanted understated style in the SUV market, but increasingly as more people migrate to the B-segment they are looking for strong character and individuality.”
The dihedral butterfly doors open into the roof panel and swing up high, with low-set flush handles.
The 4x4 powertrain uses Kia’s turbocharged 1.6L Gamma engine, developing 160hp through a 7-speed, dual-clutch transmission.
While the engine drives the front wheels, an electric-hybrid system powered from regenerative braking delivers up to 45hp to the rear wheels when road conditions require extra grip.
“It’s an exciting vehicle…. I’d love to see it go into production,” says Todd McDonald, general manager of Kia Motors New Zealand.
The parent company says the Niro could be close to on-road reality if the public wants it.
“We have to look at what the future could hold, not just what is probable… It is clear the B-segment is growing as motorists seek to downsize, but it is equally clear they refuse to give up individuality and distinctiveness.”