The Korean carmaker is said to be targeting evergreen Toyota Prius customers with its new model, but it won’t be staring the Prius down with a direct competitor.
Instead, Kia is said to be combining elements from both the hybrid and compact SUV markets in a new model designed to capitalise on their respective - and current - popularity.
The UK’s Auto Express claims to have previewed the new model in a ‘no camera’ session at Kia’s new Namyang design centre, near Seoul, and reports the SUV will carry styling elements from Kia’s 2012 Niro concept.
While the Niro offshoot won’t be Kia’s first hybrid, it will be the first model from the Korean carmaker to be powered exclusively by a hybrid unit.
Kia already offers the Optima, Soul and others with hybrid options in various markets, and the carmaker already has a hybrid SUV in its line-up with the Sportage.
None of those models are currently offered to Australian customers with hybrid power, and Kia Australia’s COO, Damien Meredith, revealed in July that the situation is not about to change.
At the time, Mr Meredith said the Niro may preview a future compact SUV, but the model would likely target the US and Chinese markets only.
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