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

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

Published: 17 April 2019

► The future of the Niro
► Could make it to production
► And yes, it’s another crossover

There’s not much new metal at this year’s New York motor show – most of the electric buzz seems to be around Shanghai – but that hasn’t stopped Kia spicing things up with this HabaNiro EV concept. 

As you can probably make out from its rather clever name, the HabaNiro is similiar to the current Niro EV, but with a little more punch – and that means it’s fully-electric, has all-wheel drive and also boasts a range of more than 300 miles. Importantly, it’d use an all-electric platform, and therefore shows us exactly where the next Niro is headed… 

Like almost everything else we’ve seen in 2019, the HabaNiro is a compact crossover, but it tries to differentiate itself and earn its name with some bold exterior details. Very little overhang, muscular haunches and Lava Red paint licks make the HabaNiro look warmer than the standard Niro, and 20-inch wheels suggest it’ll cope with very light off-road use, too.

‘We wanted this concept to be comfortable navigating city streets, carving turns on a coastal road and off-roading with confidence to remote wilderness adventures,’ said Tom Kearns, vice president of design for Kia’s American design centre, (KDCA).

‘We imagined a car for everyone and nearly everything. Then, when we saw the finished product, we were blown away by the imagination of the HabaNiro’s creators and its laboratory of technology and we want it in our driveways. Today.’

Is it going to happen?

Probably, sort of. Like most concept cars, the HabaNiro also promises level-five autonomy, intricate outward-opening butterfly doors, and a sci-fi interior with a foldable wheel. Interestingly, the Kia also includes a full-width HUD, which is a feature we’re surely going to see in interiors of the future.

In fact, there’s a range of delightful acronyms inside the HabaNiro including Sensory Light Feedback or (SLF) and the even better Technical Option Sharing system or (TOSS) which lets you move vehicle options around the HUD screen… 

But put the TOSS and other concept features to one side, and the HabaNiro seems a good bet for production. Unlike the current Niro, it’d use an all-electric platform, and therefore hints at what the next Niro could be like. IT looks like the need to accomodate an ICE is clearly holding the current model back. 

Crossovers are clearly, a growing source of revenue for car makers – so Kia’s funky,  jack-of-all-trades would fit in perfectly. It also slots in well with Kia’s pledge to make 16 hybrids and EVs by 2025…

Further electric car reading

The best electric cars and EVs on sale today

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Future electric cars: upcoming EVs to look out for

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes