Hybrid Kia SUV revealed
Kia aims to take on the Toyota Prius with new SUV hybrid
Kia is set to steal sales from the Toyota Prius with a new hybrid SUV that's due to be launched in 2016. The company hopes to capitalise on a gap in the market for a small, stylish SUV hybrid.
Although we couldn't take photographs, we have seen the car and its interior, and our pictures reveal exactly what you can expect. It may look like a scaled-down version of the new Kia Sorento, but in the metal it's much smaller and has a lower ride height. The car will fit between the Kia Soul and Kia Sportage in the company's range.
The car's interior is based on that of the new Kia Optima, which is due for release in 2015. It features a large central touchscreen and switchgear arranged in long horizontal lines – similar to what you'll find in a BMW. White and blue trim will be used to mark this SUV out as a hybrid model.
The new car is aimed directly at buyers who want the low running costs of a Prius, but a cooler body shape. Kia's head of overseas marketing told Carbuyer's sister site Auto Express: "Our research showed that Prius owners want a hybrid, but aren’t happy with the design. This is the answer to that."
The Kia will use a 1.6-litre petrol engine boosted by an electric motor to help it achieve around 60mpg. The SUV body style means the new car's economy falls slightly short of the Toyota Prius' 72mpg, but Kia says buyers are willing to make that sacrifice in return for the trendier design.
A plug-in hybrid model is set to follow the conventional hybrid, and the SUV's platform could be used to underpin a whole range of new hybrid Kias.
Bookmark this page for more information on the new Kia as we get it, and see all the latest reviews of the Kia range on the Carbuyer Kia reviews page.