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Kia HabaNiro: spicy BEV revealed at the New York Motor Show

19 April 2019

© Kia The Kia HabaNiro is a fairly traditional crossover concept, although Kia wants it to be much more than that by incorporating artificial intelligence and full autonomy. Kia does say that the HabaNiro's butterfly doors probably won't make it to dealers anytime soon, but with that comes the statement that "The future is an exciting place".

"We wanted this concept to comfortable navigating city streets, carving turns on a coastal road and off-roading with confidence to remote wilderness adventures", said Kia's American design boss, Tom Kearns. Also, if we've learned anything from Tesla, wacky doors on a auto regular people buy are not a good idea.

Kia hasn't provided many details about the electric powertrain, only saying that it features two motors and an all-electric range (AER-no, seriously, it used an acronym for that, too) upwards of 300 miles.

The idea is that the compact four-door crossover is ready and meant to go anywhere, from urban errands to winding roads to "off-roading with confidence to remote wilderness adventures".

Kia next applies futuristic technologies to fit HabaNiro to driver like a set of leather gloves.

Inside, the designers have dispensed with conventional touchscreens, instead installing a full-width windscreen head-up display that occupants control from an similarly full-width acrylic touchpad. Level five autonomy systems are present and can be engaged via the steering wheel - allowing the auto to completely drive itself while the head-up display can be turned into a giant entertainment screen for occupants. The driver and passengers can use it to watch a movie, collaborate on a work project, or gather information about their passing surroundings and destination.

Kia's HabaNiro concept is an electric compact crossover that has been packed full of superlatives. There is also the Real-Time Emotion Adaptive Driving and the Eye Tracking system.

So long as it puts an "off" switch on that READ system, we'll entertain the idea. "HabaNiro is our idealised view of where NIro could go, so don't be surprised if you see some influence in the next Niro". It says the HabaNiro "can't be so easily defined", so we're going to let Kia's fairly ridiculous press release do a lot of the talking here. In the past 18 months, Kia has launched two vehicles, the Stinger and the Telluride, from concepts that fully captured the public's imagination. The concept's designer Kurt Kahl said: "This [platform] is what we'd like for the next Niro". A production version of the four-door performance Kia by Imagine concept from this year's Geneva motor show is due in 2021. The headlight bands plummet sharply before rebounding and stretching clean across the grille.

You can also sign us up for demos of the "Perimeter Ventilation System", which "quietly and evenly blows curtain of air throughout the cabin" and sounds like what you get on a Greyhound.

Kia HabaNiro: spicy BEV revealed at the New York Motor Show