A Kia Niro prototype dressed in full body camouflage was spotted testing and it was towing a white Picanto.

A Kia Niro prototype dressed in full body camouflage was spotted testing and it was towing a white Picanto.

On the outside it looks like some sort of Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan competitor based on the recently facelifted cee’d compact hatchback, but in reality this is actually a production version of the Niro concept that was unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. In terms of size, it will be positioned between the Soul and Sportage crossovers and based on our intel it will be offered exclusively with a hybrid powertrain.

The hardware is pretty much known already as it will be sourced from Hyundai’s Prius competitor, so it will mix up a specially developed Atkinson-cycle 1.6-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine with an electric motor. The combustion engine is good enough for 105 PS (77 kW) and 147 Nm (108 lb-ft) and according to Hyundai it has a Prius-matching thermal efficiency of 40%.

Kia apparently has plans to sell the Niro both as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid, just like Hyundai will be doing with its Prius fighter. It’s a known fact that Kia’s crossover will be an all-new model as it will utilize its own platform which probably will eventually be shared with other hybrids. The Niro could go full electric at some point in its life cycle, but it’s too early to tell when this will actually happen.

Expect to see Hyundai’s Prius rival (rumored to be called Ioniq) in January 2016 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit whereas the Kia Niro (name not confirmed) will likely debut in production guise two months later in Geneva, but an online reveal of both cars should take place before the year’s end.

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Kia Niro hybrid crossover spied towing a Picanto