Kia previews Niro concept ahead of Frankfurt Motor Show
By C.C. Weiss
August 29, 2013
It seems that nearly every automaker is checking in early with a new model or concept car for next month's Frankfurt Motor Show. Kia is the latest, showing a small, sporty hatchback that it calls the Niro. The slightly sinister looking little Niro showcases some interesting design and tech, including butterfly doors, a widescreen infotainment display and an "innovative new powertrain."
Kia says that the Niro hints at a future urban-focused B-segment model. It was designed for the European market at Kia's Frankfurt studio. If indeed the concept morphs into a small city crossover, we expect it to do some serious evolving. The Niro is one of those concepts that's stuffed with fanciful features that seem entirely unlikely to make it to production.
Case in point: the door handle cracks open a visually interesting, but not-used-outside-of-exotics butterfly door, giving way to a spartan interior, which looks almost painful to sit in. The molded, one-piece front bench makes us scared to think about what the rear is like to ride in.
The interior includes a freestanding display that looks like it's wide enough to support Panasonic's 64:9 video. At first, we thought the display was fronted by a series of buttons to make no-look onscreen navigation easier, but upon closer inspection of the full-size photo, they appear to be lights for different vehicle functions.
Without going into detail, Kia promises that the Niro pulls momentum from an "innovative new powertrain." Combine that with the fact that one of the dash lights appears to be for 4WD, and we assume we'll be looking at some type of electrification, perhaps a version of the Smart 4WD Hybrid technology shown on last year's Provo concept. We'll have to wait for Frankfurt, or at least closer to it, to find out exactly what's underneath that short hood.
In terms of styling and exterior design, the Niro is a small, curvy number with short overhangs and a prominent Kia grille. That grille, along with the wheel caps and several other parts of the interior and exterior, is highlighted by eye-popping yellow, making for a strong contrast with the glossy black paint. Adding extra contrast is a silver roof and cabin outline. It's not a bad looking little Kia, selling an impression of "tiny, but ready for action."
Kia will reveal more about the Niro on September 10, when it will also debut the all-new Soul. It plans to gauge reaction at the Frankfurt show in order to determine the concept's future, or lack thereof.
Source: Kia Motors
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