The Kia Niro targets two sweet spots in the market: booming demand for high-riding SUV-styled models and consumers' growing interest in fuel-efficient cars that are not diesels as demand for the powertrain has been hurt by Volkswagen Group's emissions scandal.
The Niro is one of the first cars underpinned by parent Hyundai Motor's new platform for electrified vehicles, another is the Hyundai Ioniq. The Niro will be offered with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains.
Unlike the Ioniq, the Niro will not have a full-electric version as a third variant because Kia already offers a battery-powered version of the Soul subcompact. While Hyundai made the Ioniq a five-door hatchback to rival the Toyota Prius, Kia decided to build the Niro as a crossover to appeal to customers who want a roomy, practical car.