The new design is heavily inspired by the HabaNiro concept.
Kia's electric revolution has started with the EV6, the first of seven new EVs underpinned by Hyundai Group's new Electric-Global Modular Platform launching by 2027. After the EV6, Kia's EV family will expand with the smaller EV4 and a three-row electric SUV either called the EV7 or EV8.
But before then, Kia will launch the next-generation Niro later this year, which will spawn a new version of the E-Niro. We caught Kia testing the next-generation Niro last year, and now the new E-Niro has been spotted for the first time. Inspired by the HabaNiro concept, the new e-Niro will have a sportier design than its predecessor.
While the prototype's design is hidden under camouflage, the concept gives us some clues about the e-Niro's new design direction. As is normally the case, the production version will be toned down compared to the concept. Disappointingly, the production E-Niro won't retain the concept's butterfly doors, but the overall shape appears to be inspired by the concept. Compared to the current E-Niro, the prototype has shorter overhangs and a longer wheelbase, allowing for more space in the cabin to improve passenger comfort.
We can also see the concept's distinctive boomerang-shaped headlights are carried over to the production model, as will the plastic cladding on the wheel arches and lower doors. The headlights still appear to be provisional, however. Since the front is fully covered, we'll have to wait and see if the new E-Niro features an evolution of Kia's tiger-nose grille.
However, Kia surprised us when it unveiled HabaNiro concept as the tiger-nose grille was replaced with a new front resembling a shark nose. While the EV6 is underpinned by the dedicated E-GMP platform, the new E-Niro is expected to ride on an evolved version of the current model's platform, which also supports combustion and plug-in hybrid powertrains.
Technical details are unknown at this stage, but the current E-Niro is offered with a single electric motor producing 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque, while a 64 kWh battery provides an EPA-rated range of 239 miles. As technology has evolved since the E-Niro launched, the new model should have more power and a longer range. The new Kia Niro and E-Niro are expected to debut later this year and go on sale for the 2022 or 2023 model year.