With the hybrid crossover Kia Niro, this automaker is confident that they have invented a new classification for it: HUV that stands for Hybrid Utility Vehicle. Kia has taken the crossover concept to a whole new level with this car debuting in the Chicago Auto Show in 2016. Promoted as roomy, efficient and fun to drive, the 5-Passanger 5-Door Niro is expected to offer several upgrades to typical hybrid performance benchmarks in an attempt to best competitors as the Ford Escape, CR-V Hybrid, and RAV4 Hybrid. There are also plans to offer a plug-in version for next year. The Niro is a result from a little-known Kia’s EcoDynamics division, so it will also sport a Hybrid-dedicated chassis and lighter components made out of aluminum, the miracle material of the last 5 years. Aerodynamics for the Niro are important for energy saving, so Kia claims the Niro’s coefficient is 0.29 drag, which also aids an estimated fuel economy of 50 mpg combined. The Niro has a combination of a unique 106 hp Kapa 1.6 liter I4 engine with a 43 hp or 32 KW electric motor for a total of 146 hps and 195 lb-ft torque, managed by a 6-Speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. A new 1.56 KW/H lithium-ion polymer battery will store beneath the rear seat. This will account for a flat load floor and 25.5 cu ft of total cargo space. The regenerative braking system for the Niro has also been redesigned, switching to an hydraulic braking mechanism for smoother, confident stops and at the same time helps recharge the battery pack more efficiently. For safety, Kia indicates that its unique chassis and reinforced construction that includes designed industrial-strength joint adhesives will achieve better scores from both NHTS and IIHD. Pending further details as the Niro’s showroom entrance date draws near, look for exterior features such as 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, and a rear spoiler. Inside, a clean, uncluttered dashboard layout is complimented by an unusually high driver’s seating position, while full power accessories, automatic climate control, and split-folding rear seatbacks come standard. The brand new Niro will also include Kia’s upgraded UVO3 infotainment and telematics system, with eServices emergency alerts and communications, Android Auto smartphone apps, standard Pandora internet radio, and a 7-inch touchscreen display.