Autonomous electric-vehicle concept looks like an SUV mated with an alien sports car.
While our eyes here in the US are fixed on the SEMA show in Las Vegas, way on the other side of the world the China International Import Expo is opening its doors in Shanghai. And that's where Kia has unveiled this sleek concept.
Called the Futuron, it takes the form (as you could probably tell) of an electric crossover coupe, looking something like a cross between the Local Motors Rally Fighter and the futuristic spaceship from 1986's "Flight of the Navigator." And it might have looked as out-of-this-world to our childhood selves who grew up watching that movie.
Obviously more of a design study and statement piece than a production-intent prototype, the Futuron is dynamically styled to hint, as Kia puts it, "at the switched-on, electric nature of future SUV designs from the brand."
The bodywork is all taught, high-strung, and swept from the reinterpreted "tiger-nose" grille and "star cloud" dragon-scale matrix LED headlights on back. But don't let its sports-car-like profile fool you: stretching 191 inches long and riding on a 118-inch-long wheelbase, it takes up more road than a Sorento, and almost as much as a Telluride – though at 61 inches, it's barely taller than a Niro.
A good deal of that height is taken up by its unusually high ground clearance that makes it look like it's designed for traversing the rocky surface of Mars. High as it is off the ground, the battery is mounted as low in the vehicle's floor as possible, with individual hub motors in each of the four wheels. That leaves plenty of room inside for the lean-back seats, under the diamond-shaped panoramic roof that incorporates the LiDAR sensors for Level 4 autonomous driving. Designed to adapt to hands-off driving, the cabin features an AI-powered graphical user interface extending in an arc from the driver's side door to the dashboard to create an interior as dynamic as the bodywork enveloping it.