Kia’s next-generation Niro crossover has been spied again, this time in less camo wrap. The Korean brand’s latest challenger for the Nissan Juke and Peugeot 3008 will go on sale in the next couple of years, with bold new styling and either petrol or pure-electric power.
At the front, the headlights are positioned lower on the bumper, while the bonnet is a completely new clamshell design, which wraps around the crossover’s front wings. It isn’t all change, though, as Kia looks set to retain the current car’s plastic wheel arch cladding and shark fin antenna.
Kia has moved the new Niro’s rear lights to a different position, placing them vertically on the car’s C-pillars rather than horizontally across the tailgate. The rear doors also have a different shape to the current Niro’s and feature a new quarter light window.
These spies also offer some hints about the next Niro’s powertrain line-up. The crossover will be available with a pure-electric option, but both of these mules have exhausts poking out from beneath their rear bumpers, meaning combustion power will be retained.
As such, the Mk2 Niro won’t make the jump to the Hyundai Group’s E-GMP underpinnings, as it’s only compatible with pure-electric powertrains. Currently, the only Kia that uses the platform is the EV6, which is placed well outside the Niro’s more affordable price bracket.
At the 2019 New York Motor Show, Kia confirmed that the next Niro will retain the current car’s hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. This point is illustrated by the second mule in our gallery which has two filler doors – one at the rear for the filler nozzle and one on the front quarter panel for the charging socket.
To make the combustion-engined Niro as green as possible, Kia could ditch the current car’s aging 1.6-litre petrol engine in favour of the more efficient 1.5-litre unit from the latest Ceed hatchback. However, that would involve engineering new hybrid and PHEV systems to suit the engine.
All of this isn’t to say that the new e-Niro won’t borrow some of the E-GMP architecture’s technology. Carry-overs will likely include its newer battery packs and electric motor, both of which have the potential to push the EV’s maximum range past the 500 kilometre barrier.
Kia says that eco-friendly vehicles will account for 25 per cent of its sales by 2025. The firm also aims to increase its global EV market share to 6.6 percent within the same period.