At the 2021 Seoul Mobility Show, Kia unveiled the all-new Korean-market Niro for the first time. The Mobility Show is an event meant to help make sustainable mobility more widely accessible. Kia claims that the new Niro was made with sustainability as a priority and that this vehicle will be a look into future model developments moving forward.
Redesigned from the current model, this new Niro has been transformed using Kia’s Opposites United design philosophy, much like the EV9. While the EV9 used “Bold for Nature” as its inspiration, the Niro used “Joy for Reasons.” The color choice, use of sustainable materials, and finish are all meant to create a balance between environmental responsibility and an outlook toward the future.
The exterior of the car resembles the 2019 Habaniro concept with a two-toned body, swooped roofline, and a bold crossover look. It has also been touched up with simple lines and a wider rear pillar that improves the aerodynamics of the car. The taillights are more vertically placed, shaped like boomerangs that blend into the roofline while the back end combines surface treatments and dynamic sections to give a more modern look. Also newly changed is the use of so-called heartbeat LED daytime running light headlights and the classic Kia “tiger face” front bumper, which has expanded and now extends from the hood to the fender.
In the cabin, again much like the EV9, Kia uses recycled materials in the headlining, seats, and paint to help show its commitment to reducing waste and helping maintain the environment. The seats are slimmer to add style and a spacious feel and have a lightweight mechanism to improve comfort. The headrests also have a built-in hanger behind them for convenience. As for the dash, it is off-centered at an angle that slightly favors the driver while working with the diagonal lines of the other side of the dash. The large screen and digital gauge cluster blend into the air vents using the diagonal lines for a more seamless and sleek look. The shift gear resembles an electronic dial and is located on a high-gloss surface with minimal gadgets for a simple and modern look. Ambient lighting on the dashboard also works to create a modern and welcoming interior.
Much like the EV6, this Niro will be a model for Kia’s future electrification. Kia claims the Korean version will be available in varying powertrains including HEV, PHEV, and EV beginning from next year, though it isn’t clear if the U.S. version will get the same options at the same time. No specific powertrain options have been listed, but this vehicle does have several other features of note. The Greenzone Drive Mode, for example, which transfers the PHEV or HEV drive mode into EV drive mode automatically in order to help meet sustainable mobility solutions. The Niro will use navigation or driving history to automatically switch to electric power when driving in green zones like residential areas or near schools and hospitals. It can also recognize places the driver goes to often, like work and home, as green zones. These features are meant to integrate more environmentally-friendly consciousness into daily life.