2017 Kia Niro debuts in Chicago and Toronto

The Korean brand’s new small crossover was unveiled in not one, but two auto shows on the same day.

The 2017 Kia Niro is the company’s first dedicated hybrid model, and it will go on sale early next year. It will rival the Toyota Prius, and especially the roomier Toyota Prius v.

The Niro’s dimensions are smaller than those of the redesigned 2017 Kia Sportage, and the vehicle boasts a dynamic overall shape with a low roofline, lower body cladding and roof rails. The five-passenger hybrid is said to offer a high driving position such as the one in the Kia Soul, while the battery pack is located under the rear seats as to not compromise cargo space.

Under the hood of the 2017 Kia Niro is a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder engine that runs on an Atkinson cycle and produces 103 horsepower, a 43-hp electric motor and a six-speed, dual-clutch automated transmission. Combined output is rated at 146 hp and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. This powertrain is also said to consume an average of 4.7 L/100 km.

The manufacturer is claims that experience learned from the development of the Kia Optima Hybrid and the Kia Soul EV helped them improve the regenerative braking system and seamlessly match it to the vehicle’s conventional hydraulic brakes.

Following the launch of the 2017 Kia Niro hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions of the vehicle will be introduced next year as well. The Niro’s price has yet to be announced.

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