Kia used the 2016 Geneva Motor Show to show off two new models – the Kia Niro and Optima Sportswagon – as well as announce their new plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The Kia Niro is a crossover the company says has been engineered as a hybrid from the ground up.

It uses a 1.6-litre direct injection petrol engine mated to a 32 kW electric motor, powered by a 1.56 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery.

The latter is mounted underneath the rear bench seat, where it sits alongside a 45 litre fuel tank.

Combined, this arrangement delivers around 141PS and 264Nm of torque, directed to the wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Although performance and economy figures have yet to be finalised, the company is currently targeting a CO2 emissions figure of just 89 g/km.

Despite the Niro’s modest proportions – 4,355mm long, 1,800mm wide, 1,535mm tall – it is expected to offer generous cabin space and a cargo capacity of 421 litres behind the rear seats.

The Kia Niro enters production in May, with first European deliveries expected during Q3 2016.

Also new is the Kia Optima Sportswagon.  It follows on from the well-received Sportspace concept of 2015, and brings a long-awaited estate model to the company’s line-up.

The Sportswagon is still the same length as the saloon model (4,855mm), yet cargo space increases by 48 litres to 553 litres with the rear seats in place.  Strangely, the company hasn’t quoted a figure with the seats folded, which they do in a 40:20:40 arrangement.

Practical touches include a safety net built into the rear seats, sliding luggage rails, and a Smart Power Tailgate which opens the boot automatically when the key is detected in close proximity.

Other gadgets include the full gamut of connectivity options, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus the option of a 590W Harmon Kardon sound system, wireless phone charging, 360-degree Around View Monitor, electronically-controlled suspension, and others.

Engine choices include a 1.7-litre CRDi diesel with 141PS, 2.0-litre CVVL petrol with 163PS, or a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit with 245PS and 353Nm of torque.

The Kia Optima Sportswagon will go on sale in Europe in Q4 2016.

Kia also announced that a plug-in hybrid powertrain will be offered for the Optima at the same time.

It uses a 156PS 2.0-litre petrol engine coupled with a 50 kW electric motor and 9.8 kWh lithium-polymer battery to provide a total output of 205PS and 375Nm of torque.

As a plug-in hybrid, it is expected to travel for more than 33 miles on electric power alone, and at speeds up to 75 mph.

In addition, the company is currently targeting a CO2 figure of just 37 g/km.

It will follow towards the end of 2016.

Alex

Editor

Freelance journalist, ex-offroad driving instructor and long distance road-tripper. If you have any questions about this piece, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter.