Kia’s compact SUV, slotting between the Seltos and the new Sportage, has officially been unveiled and its styling does not disappoint. Said to feature plenty of bold elements from the Kia Habaniro Concept, the new Niro continues to offer a wide range of powertrain choices.
Up in front, Kia’s signature ‘Tiger Face’ has been transformed for the all-new Niro and now extends from the bonnet right through to the rugged fenders. Kia calls their new DRL signature the ‘striking heartbeat’ motif, creating confidence and a remarkable look on the road.
At the sides, the dark grey-coloured overfenders extend deep into the rear doors to form a characteristic side panel. A wide rear pillar gets the most attention on the new Niro, as it has been deliberately painted in a different shade to create a unique two-tone look.
While the examples were in dark colours, Kia had sketches of a white Niro featuring Lava red pillars, similar to the concept car. Very bold indeed! The pillar is also said to offer aerodynamic performances as well as house the boomerang-shaped taillights.
The interior however is quite a big departure from the bold and distinctive, with a very safe eclipse like sweep on the dashboard. Like all new Kia models, a two-spoke steering wheel is used, with the Drive mode selector switch placed at the left spoke.
Kia says plenty of recycled and eco-friendly materials are used to line the interior, such as recycled wallpaper on the headlining, seats made from eucalyptus leaves and water-based paint which is free of volatile organic compounds (BTX VOC).
The off-centre dashboard curves around the occupants, integrating with diagonal lines on the door panels. At night, ambient lighting is emitted from the dashboard, creating a sophisticated feel. The electronic dial-type shift level takes up minimum space, allowing the placement of shortcut switches and a huge storage bin.
A range of electric and petrol powertrains will be offered in the all-new Kia Niro. Details are yet to be announced but Kia’s new distributor in Malaysia, Bermaz Auto, is keen to restart the brand presence with the Kia Niro EV now that the government has announced zero taxes for fully electric vehicles.