Kia Niro Hybrid Europe-8

Last unveiled in Chicago, the Kia Niro Hybrid has taken centre stage in Geneva, where it’s making its official European debut. There isn’t much difference in terms of specifications compared to the vehicle we last saw. According to Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer, Kia Motors Europe, the Niro will allow Kia to meet growing demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles in Europe.

As a recap, the Niro sports Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose grille’ and the brand’s usual wide C-pillars along with other signature design cues. The B-segment SUV measures in at 4,355 mm long, 1,800 mm wide and 1,535 mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,700 mm. It’s a tad smaller than the Kia Sportage but much larger than the Kia cee’d. It achieves a low drag co-efficient of 0.29 Cd.

In Europe, the Kia Niro will be available in a choice of seven colours and a selection of 16- or 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, there’s soft-touch materials for the dashboard and the brand’s human-machine interface (HMI) system and six-speakers can be found. Similarly, it will be the first Kia model to feature Android Auto, which will be available from launch.

The Niro will be available in Europe with a black or dark grey interior, upholstered in cloth, a mix of leather or full genuine leather. Other optional items include Kia Connected Services, a seven- or eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, an eight-speaker JBL system with a 320-watt amplifier and a wireless charger. Apple CarPlay will only be available in the Niro by the end of 2016.

Also, from the fourth quarter of 2016 onwards, the Niro Hybrid will also be available with optional towing functionality. This will allow owners to tow brake loads of up to 1,300 kg.

Powertrain of the Niro Hybrid in Europe comprises of a 105 PS/147 Nm Kappa 1.6 litre GDI direct-injected petrol engine paired with a 32 kW (43 hp) electric motor, with a 1.56 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery that weighs 33 kg. All-in-all, it has a combined output of 141 PS and 264 Nm of torque, delivered via a six-speed double-clutch transmission.

Meanwhile, to allow the full output of both the engine and electric motor to be transferred in parallel through the transmission – with minimal loss of energy – a new transmission-mounted electric device (TMED) has been developed. This also allows to hybrid system to access the battery’s power directly at higher speeds, resulting in immediate accelerative response.

Safety-wise, the SUV comes standard with seven airbags. As for safety-tech, the Niro gets vehicle stability management (VSM), electronic stability control (ESC), along with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), smart cruise control (SCC), lane departure warning (LDWS), lane keeping assist (LKAS), blind spot detection (BSD) and rear cross traffic alert (RCTA).

Kia Niro Hybrid Europe-19

The Kia Niro Hybrid will be entering full series production in Hwasung, Korea in May 2016. It will go on sale in Europe towards the end of the third quarter of 2016. Similarly, Kia says that in the next five years, it will be expanding its green car line-up from four models to 11. On that note, it’s targeting a 25% global improvement to average fleet fuel efficiency over 2014 levels.

The expanded range of low-emission vehicles will include hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEV). By 2020, Kia will be replacing seven of its 10 engines with next-gen petrol and diesel units, but at the same time increase the number of turbocharged engines. Meanwhile more efficient, new multi-speed transmissions are also in the pipeline.

GALLERY: Kia Niro Hybrid