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Kia HabaNiro: Three cars in one – and each one brilliant

  • Spicy vision for future of electric vehicles
  • Kia’s California design studio goes wild
  • Presenting the future of vehicle interaction
2019 KIA HABENIRO: New York auto show star with butterfly-wing doors and ”everything” capability. Image: Kia America

NEW YORK – Kia Motors America showed its vision of the future of electric vehicles at the 2019 New York auto show in insisted: ”It’s hot. And spicy”

Figures, because the vehicle in question is a battery buggy called the HabaNiro (geddit?) – all-electric, all-wheel drive, ”four-seat wonder car” with a claimed possible range of more than 500km and a Level 5 autonomous qualification..

And butterfly doors…

2019 KIA HABENIRO: New York auto show star with butterfly-wing doors and ”everything” capability. Image: Kia America

Kia US also claims the car(?) has more high-tech stuff than that which put men on the Moon.

COASTAL CARVING? OK!

”This is no fanciful supercar that will likely never be built,” Kia says, ”but a prescient look into the future of mobility in which automobiles will seamlessly integrate design, capability, usefulness and creativity.”

Tom Kearns, vice-president for design at Kia America, added: ”We wanted this concept to be comfortable on city streets, while carving turns on a coastal road, or off-roading in a wilderness. We imagined a car for everybody and nearly everything.

”Then, when we saw the finished product, we were blown away by the imagination of the HabaNiro’s creators and its tech and we want it in our driveways. Today.

2019 KIA HABENIRO: New York auto show star with butterfly-wing doors and ”everything” capability. Image: Kia America

”The buggy has 20” wheel rims, short overhangs, big haunches, and exudes coiled muscularity and capability – whether off to the supermarket, a business meeting – or a remote fishing spot.”

COMPACT CROSSOVER?

Michael Cole, KMA’s chief operating officer and executive vice-president, added, not surprisingly: “The HabaNiro is a genius work of skill and imagination. Not only does its beautiful design incorporate the needs of future mobility but its engineering and technology anticipate the way people will want to move in the near future.”

So, essentially, the HabaNiro is a compact crossover ute but only in terms of current industry category language. It can’t, Kia says, be so easily defined: ”It’s essentially an all-electric Everything Car – commuter, crossover, sport utility, state-of-the-art technology, workroom and adventure vehicle.”

2019 KIA HABENIRO: New York auto show star with butterfly-wing doors and ”everything” capability. Image: Kia America

The design is defined by grey cladding around the front wheels and backwards along the body sides and the red aero panel that defines the C-pillar and runs up and over onto the roof.

”These two elements,” Kia says, ”create a vibrant energy and a forward-leaning posture that suggests the HabaNiro is ready to launch. This is reinforced by a character line that wraps around the front, extends through the shoulder, and ends pointed at the rear wheels.”

READ MORE Kia features on Carman’s Corner

The grille resembles a shark’s snout, complete with black aluminum ‘teeth’ similar to the cooling blades found on electronic equipment. The chassis architecture pushes the wheels to the limit of the car’s corners – good for off-roading.

Skid plates, milled billet aluminum towballs, anodized red aluminum accents, and the embossed ‘HabaNiro’ badging says ”adventure ahead”. And the heartbeat pulse of the car’s daytime running lights, Kia says, say “I’m alive.”

2019 KIA HABENIRO: New York auto show star with butterfly-wing doors and ”everything” capability. Image: Kia America

The front seats that seem to float within the spacious cabin; there are no rectangular screens or knobs and switches. ”Instead,” Kia says, ”the HabaNiro has a full-width windshield head-up display  controlled by a concave acrylic instrument panel that doubles as a large interactive touch-and-swipe pad.

The instrument panel retracts if ”autonomous drive” is selected to increase cabin space and comfort to watch video entertainment ”for a long”.

NEW TAKE ON TAKEAWAYS

Under human control R.E.A.D. tracks the driver’s eye movements: for instance, a glance to where a convential rear-view mirror is mounted with instantly light the info screen with a wide-angle rear panorama. This could, Kia believes, lead to other detections: perhaps the driver is hungry, so the car will call ahead for his favourite food, a burger at the next hamlet.

It will be ready when heshe gets there…

2019 KIA HABENIRO: New York auto show star with butterfly-wing doors and ”everything” capability. Image: Kia America

OK, most readers will wonder if the HabaNiro concept will ever light-up. Think positive: through the previous 18 months, Kia launched two vehicles, the Stinger and the Telluride, from concepts. The HabaNiro’s butterfly doors? Maybe not today, but the future is an exciting place and Kia is ready to lead the automotive industry into this spicy world of possibility.

Fitted, you won’t be banging doors in the mall car-park or taking out a passing motorcyclist. Now there’s an improvement…

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