Kia’s second\-generation Niro has made its debut at the Seoul Mobility Show ahead of a 2022 release with a heavy focus on sustainable motoring.
Influenced by the company’s 2019 Habaniro concept, and replacing the first generation compact introduced in 2016, the all-new Niro features a complete redesign from the ground-up as well as an strengthened green initiative.
“Kia continues to take steps towards a more sustainable future, inviting everyone to join the movement into the new mobility era,” explained Kia President and CEO Ho Sung Song in an official statement. “The all-new Kia Niro makes it simple to practice a sustainable lifestyle with its eco-friendly materials, advanced technology and electric powertrains while it also fulfills the practical needs of customers.”
The striking new design is the newest instalment of the company’s ‘Opposites United’ design ethos, which draws influence from nature. The most notable elements include the two-toned bodywork over the rear wheels, Kia’s traditional-yet-revised ‘tiger face’ that now features a sleeker front grille extending round to the fenders, and a wider C-pillar, designed for more efficient airflow.
In a neat twist, the curving LED brake lights have now been incorporated into those beefier C-pillars. There’s been a similarly artistic revision to the front lights too: both the LED headlamps and running lights are now housed in separate pods, with the sequence for the latter said to mimic a heartbeat.
Inside, and in what KIA has termed “a calming, yet irregular aesthetic”, the new dashboard features a new one-piece digital display – again, sizes to-be-confirmed – and an ambient lighting strip. The centre console meanwhile features both a rotary drive mode selector and physical switchgear. Pop open the back of the front headrests and you’ll also find some convenient coat hangers too.
In a nod to its sustainable focus, the cabin incorporates recycled materials into its production: the headlining is made from recycled wallpaper; the seats from bio-based polyurethane with Tencel from eucalyptus leaves; and a water-based paint has been used on the door panels.
The crossover will be available as both a plug-in hybrid and a full EV. While KIA has yet to confirm the drivetrain for either example, it’s speculated the PHEV will feature the same – albeit updated – four-cylinder engines as its predecessor as well as the latter’s chassis, rather than the EV-dedicated ‘E-GMP’ platform at the base of the company’s new EV6.
Stylistically, the main difference between the plug-in hybrid and the EV will be the charging port, located just below the front grille on the full-electric model.