2017 Kia Niro Spy Shots

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Kia has confirmed it will unveil a new dedicated hybrid model called the Niro at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show on next month. The automaker has been dropping a number of teaser shots in the lead up to the reveal but our spy shots give us a good idea of what the vehicle will be like out on the road.

First previewed as a concept car in 2013, the production model shares little with the radical show car apart from its name. Kia is calling the Niro a “hybrid utility vehicle” though judging from the shots the vehicle is more of a tallish hatch about the size of a Volkswagen Golf. In fact, engineers are even using a Golf GTE plug-in hybrid as a benchmark.

The Golf GTE shares a powertrain with the Audi A3 e-tron Sportback on sale in these parts. The powertrain combines a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a combined output of 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque plus an electric driving range of approximately 31 miles on the European test cycle.

(In the U.S. version of the A3 e-tron, however, that electric range is rated at 16 or 17 miles--likely a more realistic figure for most drivers.)

Kia Niro 'hybrid utility vehicle' teaser shot

Kia Niro 'hybrid utility vehicle' teaser shot

Enlarge Photo
Kia Niro 'hybrid utility vehicle' teaser shot

Kia Niro 'hybrid utility vehicle' teaser shot

Enlarge Photo

It’s not clear what the Niro will be packing. All Kia will say is that the vehicle has been designed around a bespoke platform featuring a “specific set of environmentally-conscious technologies,” some of which are next-generation powertrains. It’s likely we’ll see some technology borrowed from the upcoming dedicated hybrid from sister brand Hyundai, the 2017 Ioniq.

Stay tuned for the debut of the Kia Niro at the Chicago Auto Show, which gets underway February 11. Sales should start in the second half of the year, which will likely see the vehicle arrive as a 2017 model.

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