One highlight of the New York Auto Show I forgot all about in my excitement was the Kia HabaNiro concept. That was nothing to do with the Kia but more my own poor time management skills. The car itself looked amazing.
The Kia HabaNiro is a very modern small car that looks every bit as good as the current model lineup. It is very futuristic with forward swinging doors, a very upright design, high ground clearance, narrow lighting and rugged tires but looks as though it would be happy anywhere.
The design is awesome. The car is short, upright and very contemporary. It sits high, with good ground clearance but a tall body. The front end has a very modern but rugged look with angular panels and detailing everywhere. A very narrow light bar is prominent, as are the grilles and silver body trim detailing. A curious red tow hook that reminds me of Knight Rider sits proudly out front.
It’s a two door concept with the doors sweeping up and forward in a kind of gullwing configuration. Prominent wheel arches cover large alloy wheels with rugged looking tires. At the back, a very simple rounded design comes up from the bottom and down from the top to meet at another piece of silver trim with a pair of red hooks. Lights are upright just behind the B pillar.
Inside, this was a concept so there was nothing realistic about it at all. We saw another nod to Knight Rider with a steering yoke more like a light aircraft than car, a clear dashboard, minimal controls, moulded seating, matching trim and lit flooring.
There was no mention of engine or power as this was a design showcase. However, given there is a grille with air intake, any future model would include a gasoline engine as well as the inevitable electric and hybrid variants.
Kia did say specifically that the Kia HabaNiro isn’t a flight of fancy. They intimated that some version of it would hit production at some point and it was more a statement of intent rather than just an excuse for their designers to let rip.
‘We wanted this concept to be comfortable navigating city streets, carving turns on a coastal road and off-roading with confidence to remote wilderness adventures," says Kia Design Center America VP Tom Kearns. "We imagined a car for everyone and nearly everything.’
I’m not a huge fan of the crossover craze going round right now but if the Kia HabaNiro ever hit the market looking like that, I would have one!
For more down to earth Kia models, visit Georgetown Kia, 199 and 314 Guelph Street, Georgetown, Ontario.