For Kia to call the exterior design of the new Niro a refresh is an understatement. Designed with the brand’s “Opposites United” philosophy and drawing strong inspiration from Concept Haba Niro 2019 (which should have told us everything we needed to know – I mean it’s right there in the name), the design is fine… interesting.
Featured at the Seoul Mobility Show 2021, sustainability is the name of the game with the new Niro as Kia seeks to make strides in attracting those who live their lives green.
The front fascia is a reinvention of Kia’s “tiger face”. Following a design trend set by vehicles like the Hyundai Kona and Santa Fe, Chevy Trailblazer, and more, the front is accented with LED daytime running lights and headlights placed below the hood line. The Niro has always been more of a wagon (with the Niro just four inches taller than a Mini Clubman and four inches shorter than the Kia Seltos) than a full crossover. Apparently to bolster the ‘I’m a crossover, not a wagon’ look, the black body trim runs along the dashboard and down the body, giving the Niro a two-tone paint treatment that the designers call the high technology.
The most unique part of the Niro’s new design can be found at the rear. If you are thereLike me, the first thing that probably caught your eye was the contrasting stripe between the taillights and the C-pillar. Kia says the design “combines simple surface treatments with dynamic sections to emphasize modernity and offer another point of attraction for consumers ”. I would say it’s a bit inconvenient and looks unfinished or in a state of repair.
The C-pillar strip was taken from the HabaNiro concept. Fortunately, it has been toned down since the concept’s original inception. Aside from small taillights that blend into the rear quarters and a lower bumper that looks like it was lifted from another car and placed upside down, the rear is pretty straightforward.
Kia was serious when it came to durability. Using materials like a headliner made from recycled wallpaper and seat fabric made from eucalyptus leaves, the entire interior of the Niro has been redesigned. With a steering wheel that wouldn’t look out of place in a tank from the 70s (It also looks like the steering wheel of the Genesis G80) The most noticeable difference inside is the shift away from the shifter for the buttons. Surprisingly, there aren’t the acres of screens we’ve seen in other cars lately.
No word on pricing or specs for the American Niro, but Kia says the Niro will be available in HEV, PHEV, and EV powertrains next year.