Kia's production version of the Niro concept has been spied in action ahead of next year's scheduled market launch as a global model.

Kia's production version of the Niro concept has been spied in action ahead of next year's scheduled market launch as a global model.

We are not entirely certain if the production car will keep the concept's “Niro” moniker , but that's not important as what really matters is that Kia plans on offering the crossover only with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. It will use the same hardware as Hyundai's upcoming Prius-like model and it is believed Kia wants to sell the Niro as a global model.

Slotting in terms of size between the Soul and Sportage, Kia's new crossover is expected to use a 1.6-liter direct injection gasoline engine teamed up to an electric motor and a small lithium-ion battery for the hybrid version whereas the plug-in hybrid will likely employ a bigger battery.

Both the Kia and Hyundai hybrids will be introduced sometime next year and while Kia already has a fully electric vehicle in the Soul EV, it is believed Hyundai won't get a zero-emission model until 2017.

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