KIA is preparing a radically restyled version of its popular second-generation Niro crossover for launch in 2022, with strong design influences from the outlandish 2019 HabaNiro concept.
The second generation Niro will retain its hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric powertrains, but it will be different from today’s model. The new Niro will follow shortly after the EV6 electric flagship and Sportage SUV as the latest in a series of boldly styled models shaping the South Korean brand’s new image.
While the EV6 uses the new E-GMP electrical architecture with 800V power and reverse charging functionality, the Niro’s electric variant will have an updated version of the current car’s hardware.
This means that the rival Peugeot e-2008 will be technically similar to the current car, which is available with either a 39 kWh or 64 kWh battery, which gives a maximum range of 450 km. The efficiency upgrades for the second iteration will likely push that official range to over 480km, in line with the recently revamped Hyundai Kona Electric. The 4×4 HabaNiro concept hinted at four-wheel drive, at least in the top-end versions, but it’s important to note that it’s installed on a purely electric platform.
The influence of the HabaNiro concept on its production-ready predecessor is evident in elements such as the bonnet, the steeper C-pillar and the raised lip on the boot lid. The camouflage hid key details of the recently discovered prototype, but it looks like the Niro will also get boomerang-shaped vertical taillights similar to those on the smaller Bayon crossover from sister brand Hyundai.
Equally extensive changes have appeared in the cabin, where buttons and switches will become touch-sensitive, as well as the climate system panel. As with the EV6, the infotainment center touchscreen and digital instrument cluster occupy a free-standing dashboard, while the same minimalistic single-spoke steering wheel is inherited from the concept.