There's a new rivalry between automotive manufacturers. While the competitions of the past were settled by speed and performance, a new breed of environmentally focused consumers means it's now all about fuel efficiency.
Toyota has a range of competition from almost every major manufacturer.
These traits are especially important for drivers with fuel cards. The savings they offer on their own are one thing, but pairing them with vehicles designed to get more distance out of each tank is a great way to reduce the cost of travel.
While Toyota may have led the hybrid market for almost 20 years with its segment-defining Prius, it now has a range of competition from almost every major manufacturer. Who's the latest to throw their hat into the ring?
Kia launches hybrid assault
Kia's range of vehicles has grown massively over recent years. From hot hatches to SUVs, the South Korean marque has positioned itself as a genuine rival to some of the more established Japanese manufacturers.
The companies recent announcement at the Chicago Auto Show cemented this revolution, with Kia confirming it's preparing three new hybrid vehicles for release in the coming years. Of the three vehicles announced by Kia, one is likely to gain more attention than the others.
The upcoming Niro Hybrid mixes two popular consumer trends. Both across the ditch and here in New Zealand, SUVs are still growing their market share, and could even become the dominant vehicle shape on the roads in just a few years' time.
— Kia Motors America (@Kia) February 11, 2016
Vice President Product Planning at Kia Motors America Orth Hedrick believes the Niro is perfectly positioned to capture the excitement of both of these trends.
"The Niro hits the sweet spot by offering the best combination of outstanding [fuel economy], an engaging driving experience, utility, and most importantly, a stunning design that doesn't shout 'hybrid,'" he explained.
"The subcompact CUV market continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the world, and the Niro offers a uniquely alluring yet practical package that consumers haven't seen before."
Kia sedan receives hybrid treatment
It's not just Kia's new SUV that will be augmented by hybrid technology. The marque's longstanding Optima sedan will come with two different hybrid options so fleet managers can pick the fuel-efficient vehicle that's right for their business.
Drivers will be able to choose between a regular hybrid or one with plug-in functionality, allowing the batteries to be replenished at charging stations or from a power supply.