Spy-Shots of Cars

Some of you may be aware of the China-only Kia KX3 B-segment SUV, which was first previewed as a concept at the 2014 Guangzhou Motor Show. As shown by the popularity of compact crossovers these days, it was only a matter of time before Kia made the next move to produce a KX3 for other markets around the world.

Which brings us to this – spyshots of a prototype of the Kia “Niro” B-segment SUV undergoing winter testing. Apart from the name change, Kia’s incoming competitor to the likes of the Honda HR-V, Peugeot 2008 and Ford Ecosport appears to possess an uncanny resemblance to the KX3.

Despite the heavy camouflage, the front end of the test mule mirrors the upright, slim Tiger Nose grille found on the China-only crossover. At the rear, the tail lamps do differ slightly from the ones on the KX3, but the overall silhouette still has hints of a squashed Sportage rear end – much like the KX3.

Spy-Shots of Cars

With that said, this isn’t the first time that Kia has teased the public using the ‘Niro’ nameplate. A couple of years ago, the Korean automaker exhibited the Kia Niro concept – which presented an ultra-futuristic glimpse into what a compact crossover could look like.

Said concept was powered by a turbocharged, 1.6 litre Gamma mill with 160 hp and was hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch unit. Additionally, an electric hybrid system – powered by regenerative braking – provided an extra 45 hp to the rear wheels.

On a more realistic note, the same powertrain/gearbox combination found on its China-only sibling is likely to make the cut. That would mean a naturally-aspirated, 1.6 litre mill with 123 hp and 151 Nm of torque, paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. A more powerful turbo’ed 1.6 mill with 200 hp and 264 Nm of torque, hooked up to Kia’s new seven-speed dual-clutch unit, caps things off.

GALLERY: Production-ready Kia KX3