| 08/02/2014 | 0 Comments

Kia’s Niro urban lifestyle concept vehicle, which was unveiled last September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, made its U.S. debut at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. The rally raid-like Niro expands on Kia’s alternative propulsion story with its hybrid electric powertrain working through an advanced four-wheel drive system.

Although Niro presents a sturdy and muscular outline, it has relatively compact dimensions. Its 164.8-inch overall length, 72.8-inch width and 61.3-inch height place it firmly in the city car bracket. The concept’s firmly planted stance is defined by a 102-inch wheelbase and a 64.2-inch track. The Niro’s powerful physique sits atop large 225/40R-20 tires mounted on milled-aluminum 20-inch five-spoke wheels.

Kia_Niro_1Entry into the vehicle is by way of dihedral “butterfly” doors with flush door handles, that swing up high into the roof. Mounted directly onto the side windows are milled “Plexiglas” door mirrors with built-in cameras. And at the rear, the large hatch opens to reveal an expansive carbon-fiber-clad cargo deck ready to swallow large quantities of equipment, gadgets, gear or luggage.
Kia_Niro_4The Niro continues its futuristic and tech-savvy theme within its 2+2 interior. The molded one-piece front seats’ clam-shell seatbacks tilt forward to allow access to a two-seat 50/50 split bench seat. These rear seats allow Niro to accommodate two extra passengers, but when folded flat they form the front edge of a useful, full-length carbon fiber load area.
For the driver, a perfect seating position is found thanks to the fully adjustable pedals and the deep-dished aluminum and leather steering wheel. Ahead of the driver is a Supervision digital instrument cluster. 

Kia_Niro_5Additional information – such as altitude, Bluetooth functions and satellite navigation – is displayed on a center console-mounted screen. This screen also allows the driver to see and record live pictures from video cameras mounted at the front, rear, sides and within the vehicle.

Kia_Niro_2Rising up between the transmission tunnel and the main dashboard structure are two anodized aluminum columns.  The left column houses the engine Start-Stop button as well as the main transmission drive control.  The right column has additional touch-sensitive panels, which allow control of the in-car entertainment and computer functions displayed on the center screen.

7952_1_2This concept comes with a variant of Kia’s turbocharged 1.6-liter ‘Gamma’ engine, capable of 160 horsepower. The engine and a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission serve the front wheels while an electric hybrid system powered by regenerative braking delivers up to 45 horsepower to the rear wheels – when road conditions require extra grip.

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