Kia Niro concept revealed

The Kia Niro SUV could rival the Nissan Juke when it goes on sale in 2015

The Kia Niro SUV concept has been revealed at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show and previews a sporty crossover that could eventually take the form of a Nissan Juke rival. It could even go on sale as soon as 2015.

Kia has confirmed it will get an innovative new engine that could be seen in its other models in the near future. This is likely to be a petrol-electric hybrid, probably using a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and four-wheel drive. Kia also confirmed that should the car make production, the Niro would more than likely get the option of a 1.0-litre turbocharged engine in an effort to boost economy and lower emissions.

The raised body and aggressive styling were inspired by the Paris to Dakar-winning Porsche 959 from the 1980s. Chief designer, Gregory Guillaume said: "I had the vision of the Dakar-winning 959 when we came up with the Niro concept. I love the idea of a sports car on stilts, and the Niro has the same super dynamic look."

This should mean it will fit neatly into the compact-SUV class, as a rival for cars like the Vauxhall Mokka and Peugeot 2008. However, with the ageing Kia Venga not set to be replaced when it goes off sale in the next few years, the Niro will effectively cover two segments – both SUV and MPV.

Kia is a very busy company at the moment, with six all-new models planned for the next two years. Guillaume said: "We are not a brand that likes to stand still. Our models have a very short lifespan and our renewal rate is very fast – a strategy that has proved very successful for Kia."

The Kia Niro is based on the current Kia Cee’d hathcback, though with a shorter distance between the front and rear wheels. This will mean it is slightly smaller inside, but with all the same practical features, like split-fold rear seats and a decent-sized boot. If the car does go into production, expect a long list of standard equipment, including Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio, LED daytime running lights and alloy wheels as standard.

The car in these pictures also features doors that raise upwards instead of outwards, and strange one-piece seats that mould into the car’s central console. However, you can rest assured that if the Niro does go into production, these features will be toned down to follow Kia’s current design trends.

Prices should be on a par with the Nissan Juke, and could start from as little as £12,000 for the basic car with a petrol engine. Four-wheel-drive diesel models would command a premium, but even these should cost less than £20,000.

For the full Kia range, visit the Kia CarBuyer reviews page.

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