If you follow auto show news, you’re probably used to getting excited about cars that will never really see the light of day. Many automakers use car shows to roll out concept vehicles that are unlikely to be released, but illustrate technology, styling cues, or brand trajectory. It’s heartening, then, that Kia has consistently demonstrated an interest in bringing its most popular concept cars to production, more or less as they were initially revealed.
The current Kia Soul, one of the most distinctive vehicles on the road, takes its design cues from a concept vehicle, and we’re hoping the all-wheel drive Soul concept that was recently teased at auto shows will follow a similar path to production. Fortunately for us, we no longer have to wait to find out if one of our favorite Kia concept vehicles will ever reach production: Kia recently announced the upcoming release of the Kia Niro, the first ever dedicated hybrid vehicle developed by Kia.
The Niro is a stylish HUV (Hybrid Utility Vehicle) that utilizes a mix of high-strength steel and aluminum components to minimize weight and maximize fuel efficiency. Kia hopes the Niro will be able to achieve a combined EPA fuel efficiency rating of 50 mpg. The Niro represents the first step in Kia’s concerted effort to introduce an entire lineup of fun, eco-friendly vehicles.
Although Kia’s Optima has been available as a hybrid since 2011, the Niro is a groundbreaking vehicle in Kia’s history. Since it was designed from the ground up with its hybrid drivetrain in mind, the Niro looks poised to compete with the Prius for fuel efficiency while also offering the storage space and versatility required to compete in the crossover segment.
We can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the Niro, and we’re excited to see what Kia concept vehicle sees production next!