Automotive

Kia previews Niro concept ahead of Frankfurt Motor Show

Kia previews Niro concept ahea...
The Kia Niro concept car
The Kia Niro concept car
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The Niro uses a widescreen infotainment display
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The Niro uses a widescreen infotainment display
The Niro's interior is rather minimalistic
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The Niro's interior is rather minimalistic
The Niro was designed with an eye toward European tastes
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The Niro was designed with an eye toward European tastes
Kia says that the concept has "intriguing elements not always associated with smaller cars"
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Kia says that the concept has "intriguing elements not always associated with smaller cars"
The Kia Niro will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September
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The Kia Niro will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September
The Kia Niro concept car
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The Kia Niro concept car
The Niro is a B-Segment concept car designed for urban streets
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The Niro is a B-Segment concept car designed for urban streets
Kia uses several contrasting colors and materials in the exterior design
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Kia uses several contrasting colors and materials in the exterior design
The Niro was designed at Kia' Frankfurt studio
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The Niro was designed at Kia' Frankfurt studio
The Kia Niro prepares for Frankfurt
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The Kia Niro prepares for Frankfurt
Kia promises an innovative powertrain
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Kia promises an innovative powertrain
View 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.

The Niro uses a widescreen infotainment display
The Niro uses a widescreen infotainment display

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."

The Niro was designed at Kia' Frankfurt studio
The Niro was designed at Kia' Frankfurt studio

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

View gallery - 11 images
9 comments
The Skud
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!
Nairda
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.
BigGoofyGuy
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.
Dmoon64
Somewhere a Isuzu Vehi-Cross is spinning in its grave. I still like the Kia though.
Paul Smith
I love it! Well, everything but the seats. They make my posterior hurt just looking at them. Sort of like folding steel chairs!
Nibblonian
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.
Richard Janovsky
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.
Esi 1976
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.)
BigGoofyGuy
I agree with Richard, so many cool cars never get made and the ones that do never seem to come to the USA.