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The Kia Niro concept has been officially unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show, revealing a hybrid-powered city-sized SUV.

Previewing a potential future sub-compact four-wheel-drive SUV to challenge the likes of the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur and Ford EcoSport, the Kia Niro concept is 4185mm long, 1850mm width and 1558mm high and rides on a 2590mm wheelbase.

For perspective, the four-seat Niro concept measures in 235mm longer, 128mm wider and 104mm taller than a Ford Fiesta.

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Employing a similar hybrid drivetrain to the Kia Provo seen at the Geneva motor show, the Niro concept’s front wheels are powered by a 118kW version of the Korean brand’s turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

This leaves an electric-hybrid system, charged via regenerative braking technology, to deliver up to 33kW to the rear wheels “when road conditions require extra grip”.

First seen last month, the Kia Niro concept is finished in a unique ‘Nightfall’ colour with an exterior highlighted by a brushed stainless steel roof and ‘Limelight’-accented ‘tiger-nose’ grille and front and rear tow hooks.

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Front-hinged ‘Butterfly’ doors, spotlights, milled aluminium 20-inch five-spoke wheels and wing mirrors with built-in cameras complete the exterior look.

At the rear, a rearward-facing video camera joins a tailgate that, when opened, splits the rear tail-light clusters.

The Niro’s interior echoes that of the Provo with one-piece moulded front seats and a deep-dished aluminium and leather steering wheel. The new concept does gain a digital instrument binnacle and a dash-mounted screen able to display vehicle attitude, a compass and other infotainment information such as Bluetooth and satellite navigation functions.

Kia Niro Concept - 10

Kia’s Frankfurt design studio head, the man leading the European-based project, Gregory Guillaume, said right from the start, the Niro concept was about looking at where Kia might take its future B-segment contenders.

“As designers we have to look at what the future could hold, not just what is probable, and we believe drivers want excitement and new solutions from their vehicles,” Guillaume said.

“You have to look at where the market opportunities exist and how we can exploit them. Perhaps Niro answers that challenge.”

Kia is yet to announce any production plans for the Niro but admits the concept’s Frankfurt appearance is being used to gauge public opinion and possible demand.

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