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Kia HabaNiro Concept Will Inspire New Model

Concept / Comments

It's right there in the name.

Along with the special edition Stinger GT-S, which comes with a drift mode, Kia brought the bold HabaNiro Concept to the 2019 New York Auto Show. While the flashy concept seems like just an auto show pipe dream, there may be some production feasibility for the HabaNiro. Luckily, that silly name won't stick around, but it does reveal where we will see the concept's styling end up: the next generation Niro. The Niro crossover, which is offered as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full electric vehicle, is expected to receive a major overhaul in the early 2020s.

At the 2019 New York Auto Show, Auto Express spoke to Kurt Kahl, senior design manager at Kia's California design center, about the future of the HabaNiro's design. The shape will largely stay the same when the second generation Niro goes into production, and while obvious gimmicks like the four butterfly doors won't reach the final product, some of the bolder elements will remain. "It is possible," Kahl explained, referencing the grey cladding on the front of the HabaNiro and the 'Lava Red' C-pillar that is draped over the rear of the car.

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Kia's classic tiger nose grille has evolved into a thin slit sandwiched between even thinner headlights, and this transformation of the grille is expected to reach showrooms. The squarer proportions are a good bet as well, which will help the currently anonymous Niro standout from the crowd of small SUVs. The 'heartbeat' LED daytime running lights, so named because they resemble the peaks and valleys on a heart monitor, should also appear on the final version, with Kahl stating, "It's a new idea for signature DRLs for the brand." The HabaNiro concept features an electric powertrain, and the Niro will retain all three powertrain variants in its next iteration.

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