Automotive

The Niro: Kia's new urban-lifestyle concept unwrapped in Frankfurt

The Niro: Kia's new urban-life...
Kia Niro has debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Kia Niro has debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Niro concept has special rubber in the form of 225/40R20 tires (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Niro concept has special rubber in the form of 225/40R20 tires (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Niro's rear hatch allows only part of the light cluster to open up for improved cargo visibility (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Niro's rear hatch allows only part of the light cluster to open up for improved cargo visibility (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Kia Niro has debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Kia Niro has debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Niro is designed as a new entry into the B-segment market (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Niro is designed as a new entry into the B-segment market (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Niro’s interior features a customizable instrument panel (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Niro’s interior features a customizable instrument panel (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Niro's unique dihedral butterfly doors swing up and over the roof line allowing easy access to the cabin (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Niro's unique dihedral butterfly doors swing up and over the roof line allowing easy access to the cabin (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Niro is an exercise in exploring how Kia can improve its European market share (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Niro is an exercise in exploring how Kia can improve its European market share (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Niro's front valance sports asymmetric vent holes (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Niro's front valance sports asymmetric vent holes (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Niro is powered by a revised version of Kia’s 1.6 liter turbocharged Gamma engine plus an electric motor (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Niro is powered by a revised version of Kia’s 1.6 liter turbocharged Gamma engine plus an electric motor (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Tiny ice cube lights below the valance are another of the Niro's concept features (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Tiny ice cube lights below the valance are another of the Niro's concept features (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Niro features an on-demand hybrid system that delivers up to 45 hp (33.5 Kw) to the rear wheels when conditions require (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Niro features an on-demand hybrid system that delivers up to 45 hp (33.5 Kw) to the rear wheels when conditions require (Photo: Gizmag.com)
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Having already seen the pre-show teaser shots, we had a chance to take a closer look at Kia's vision for the European B-segment at the Frankfurt Motor Show today – the Niro.

The B-segment designation is a European class of cars that are "bigger than a city car but smaller than a small family car." Kia is after this growing market as Europeans choose to downsize in favor of smaller cars with funkier design attributes.

The hybrid-drive Niro Concept is powered by a revised Kia 1.6 liter T-GDi engine that delivers 158 hp to the front wheels via a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox. This is backed by an electric motor capable of delivering 33.5 kW (45 hp) to the rear wheels when conditions require.

Designed at Kia’s Design Studio in Frankfurt, the Niro is suitably compact for the urban lifestyle, measuring 4.2 meters (13.8 ft) long, 1.8 meters (5.9 ft) and 1.6 meters (5.25 ft) tall – just slightly smaller than the 5-door Soul.

Niro’s interior features a customizable instrument panel (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Niro’s interior features a customizable instrument panel (Photo: Gizmag.com)

One design characteristic sure to draw attention is the Niro’s dihedral doors. Normally found on the likes of Lamborghini and other exotics, these butterfly doors swing up and forward over the roof, giving plenty of space for access to the concept cabin. Milled Plexiglas mirrors are inset into the side windows and sport built-in cameras.

Inside the Niro, one piece clam shell seats lined with “Orbit Silver” material feature alongside anodized aluminum and leather trim. Twin posts jutting out of the center console house the start-stop button, transmission switch and an adjustable ring for volume control.

Niro concept has special rubber in the form of 225/40R20 tires (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Niro concept has special rubber in the form of 225/40R20 tires (Photo: Gizmag.com)

The digital instrument panel can be formatted to the driver’s liking with the option to display additional information on the center console-mounted screen.

A split rear bench in the back allows for 2+2 seating and can fold down to increase storage in the carbon fiber cargo deck. The Niro also has a nifty little trick when loading groceries – the rear hatch features two-part lighting that when opened raises only part of the light cluster in order to improve cargo visibility in the dark. The secondary cluster of lights remains in place to improve safety and visibility against oncoming traffic. This light concept could actually prove to be useful given Europe’s many narrow, dimly lit inner city streets.

Niro features an on-demand hybrid system that delivers up to 45 hp (33.5 Kw) to the rear wheels when conditions require (Photo: Gizmag.com)
Niro features an on-demand hybrid system that delivers up to 45 hp (33.5 Kw) to the rear wheels when conditions require (Photo: Gizmag.com)

Stylistically, Kia is clearly looking to make a more assertive statement than with its cutesy Soul. The Niro’s “Nightfall” paint finish is designed to communicate a utilitarian attitude and Kia uses the terms “chunky” and “impish” in the same sentence when describing the car’s design. The front valance comes from Kia’s Provo concept, while ice-cube lights break up the distance between the recessed headlights and lower air dam. The remainder of the car shows influences from Subaru’s Outback, Nissan’s Murano with just a hint of Porsche Cayenne .

Kia says there are currently no plans for the Niro to go into production in the foreseeable future, but it will use the Frankfurt showing to gauge interest and obtain feedback on the ideas floated by the concept with a view to applying them to future models.

Source: Kia

5 comments
Ray Wilkinson
Love the style, and look, rugged urban look, look froward to seeing one up close.
BigGoofyGuy
I think it would help the KIA image tremendesly if they actually made this. I think it is really cool.
ActiveGuitar
Yet another example of a car with very limited vision around with those narrow windshields. Why it's "urban"? Do you really take that marketing bullshit? It's just the way that companies try to get attention when they have no really progressive developments...
Bob Flint
FUGLY
The Skud
Urban? That translates to ... "You would not want to go too far in this dodging big rigs on the highway". For a city/surburban car though it has merit.