Previewed in this pair of teaser renderings, the Niro will be a dedicated hybrid crossover. The automaker says that the powertrain will be based on a 1.6-liter version of Hyundai's Kappa engine producing 105 horsepower and 108 pound-feet of torque. That seems a little low to us for an engine that size, considering that the same size engine in the Rio produces 138 hp and 123 lb-ft, but we'll see how the final specs work out. It's slated to be paired to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, an electric motor good for another 47 hp, and a 1.56-kWh battery pack.
The hybrid powertrain will be packed into a compact crossover with what looks to be a fairly sleek design. Up front, you'll see the brand's signature tiger-nose grille, angular headlights, sculpted flanks, a relatively high belt line, and an aggressive rear end. Of course, the wheels on the final version won't fill the wheel wells quite as much, and you can expect them to be wearing narrower tires with low rolling resistance, as befits a dedicated hybrid.
The Niro name was previously applied to a more rounded crossover concept unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The production model with its hybrid powertrain will form part of Hyundai-Kia's endeavor to reduce its average fleet fuel consumption by 25 percent by 2020. It's slated to launch in some markets in the first half of next year.