Kia previews Niro concept ahead of Frankfurt Motor Show


August 29, 2013

The Kia Niro concept car

The Kia Niro concept car

Image Gallery (11 images)

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

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Nothing wrong with gullwing doors, once you have engineered the hinges! Sounds as if they have gone for simplicity in the interior, savng money for that fancy screen - if it is still comfortable, well done!

The Skud

I like it a lot. Tyre need to be thicker though to avoid puncture.

If the doors were detachable so you can 4WD in open air it would be even better.


I think this is way cool. I love the gull wing doors. I hope they don't change to much when they make them, hopefully it will be made.


Somewhere a Isuzu Vehi-Cross is spinning in its grave. I still like the Kia though.


I love it! Well, everything but the seats. They make my posterior hurt just looking at them. Sort of like folding steel chairs!

Paul Smith

I saw recent press that Peter Schreyer, Kia's Head of Design (and former VW/Audi designer) was promoted to President of Kia. That guy is a genius -- he definitely deserves it. As nice as they look though, they are still Kias underneath. If the quality of the mechanicals and reliability proves to rise to the same level as their styling, there will be no stopping them.


A universal law of nature is as follows : A really cool concept car like this rarely gets built and is never available in the USA.

Richard Janovsky

Gull-wing doors are cool, but they're suitable for low-height super sport cars that leave some clearance to open the doors in parking area. Although she looks shorter than other SUVs, the open-state of doors look to be about 80 cm higher than the roof, that could hit the ceiling before opening completely. (Here in Tehran, standard parking ceiling height is 2.4 meters.)

Esi 1976

I agree with Richard, so many cool cars never get made and the ones that do never seem to come to the USA.

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