New 2022 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid SUV spotted testing

The plug-in hybrid version of the next-generation Kia Niro has spied testing, ahead of the model's unveiling later this year

The next generation of the Kia Niro SUV has been spied testing again, this time in the Austrian Alps. The prototypes are still sporting heavy camouflage, but the images do show a charging port on the front bumper, confirming that a plug-in hybrid variant will remain part of the Niro range.

Aside from that detail, we can’t discern much about the styling of the new Niro. We can see that the prototypes are sporting vertical tail-lights, suggesting the Niro will be influenced to a degree by the Kia Habaniro concept from 2019.

The rest of the new design remains under wraps, but the new Niro may well borrow some styling cues from the Kia EV6 electric coupe-SUV and the recently unveiled Kia Sportage SUV, which have established the Korean brand’s new ‘Opposites United’ design language following its rebranding earlier this year.

The new Niro is expected to be unveiled later in 2021 before being launched on the market in 2022. The prototypes suggest at least the petrol and plug-in variants will be returning, but it's unknown whether there'll be a new e-Niro, or whether Kia will focus solely on the new platform underpinning the EV6 for all its future pure-electric models.

The current Niro is a highly popular model for the brand, offered with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure-electric drivetrains. Continued use of hybrid technology means the new car is unlikely to use the e-GMP platform for electric cars that underpins the EV6 and its Hyundai Ioniq 5 sister model. Instead, the new Niro may continue to use the J-Eco platform that the current Niro shares with the Hyundai Ioniq hatchback and Hyundai NEXO hydrogen fuel-cell SUV.

The new Niro will go up against a huge array of mid-size family SUVs when it goes on sale, including the latest Honda HR-V, the facelifted Vauxhall Grandland, the Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid and the Toyota RAV4 Plug-In.

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