Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul EV

Autocar is reporting that Kia plans to introduce a Toyota Prius killer rival for 2017, with codename "DE".

This dedicated hybrid model should be interesting for because it's expected to spawn a plug-in version.

On the drivetrain side "new-generation hybrid transmission with a 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor" should do the job, but for now there are no details.

An important attribute for DE will be more mainstream exterior styling, as according to Kia research, many Prius buyers would like something more conventional-looking:

"Kia sources say that the new car, which will be sold globally, has two roles. One is to help Kia meet the 95g/km fleet CO2 regulations to come into force in Europe in 2020. The second is take sales off the market-dominating Toyota Prius.

Unlike existing dedicated hybrids such as the Prius and Honda Insight, the DE’s exterior styling is quite mainstream, with the most obvious nods to aerodynamic efficiency seen in the extended, wrap-around, spoiler on the tailgate.

The interior of the DE benefits from Kia’s latest styling shift, which be seen first in the new-generation Optima, likely to be revealed early in 2015."

We expect to hear (and see more details) about the new plug-ins from both Kia and sister-company Hyundai at the NAIAS in Detroit next month.

Source: Autocar