One of the UK’s best-selling electric cars is about to get a new look. The all-new Kia e-Niro has just been unveiled in Seoul ahead of a UK launch next year.
Although the profile bears a striking resemblance to the current model, the new model has been completely redesigned from the ground up. It also gains a new name, changing from e-Niro to Niro EV. However, unlike the recently launched EV6 – which is built on a dedicated all-electric E-GMP platform, the Niro EV will still be based on a car designed to accommodate internal combustion engines.
In terms of design, the new Niro takes elements first seen on the brand’s 2019 Habaniro concept, with the most striking feature being a contrast colour rear ‘blade’. This, according to Kia enhances air flow to improve aerodynamics.
Kia’s signature ‘tiger face’ has been updated for the all-new Niro and now extends from the bonnet through to the wing below. The front design is finished with new ‘heartbeat’ LED daytime running lights. As before, the Niro EV’s charge port will be at the front of the car, although as the pictures show, the flap has been moved to the centre of the front bumper.
Like the current model, customers will be able to buy a PHEV version. This will come with Kia’s clever ‘Greenzone Drive Mode’ which automatically transfers the (P)HEV into EV drive mode. When driving in green zones such as residential areas, schools and hospitals, the car automatically uses electric power based on navigation cues and driving history data. It also recognises a driver’s favourite places including home and office registered in navigation system as a green zone.
Kia has incorporated a host of new design features made from sustainable materials. For example, the headlining is made from recycled wallpaper, the seats are made from Bio PU with Tencel from eucalyptus leaves, while water-based paint is used on the door panels to minimise the impact on the environment and reduce waste.
Inside, the off-centre dash curves around occupants with horizontal and diagonal lines opposing each other. The centre console features an electronic dial-type shift lever and is positioned on the wide high gloss black surface. The main infotainment screen and air vents are incorporated within the diagonal gaps of the dash design, while ambient mood lighting has been introduced to give the cabin a more premium feel.
Kia has yet to announce any technical details relating to the new Niro EV, although these are expected very soon. The new car is understood to be based on the platform of the existing car, which would suggest that battery capacities and drive systems for the new one will be similar. The current model is available with two battery options; 39kWh and 64kWh and offer WLTP ranges of 180 and 282 miles respectively. We will update this story as new information is revealed.
The Niro is highly significant car for Kia, accounting for 61,000 sales in the UK alone since its launch five years ago. The e-Niro is currently the best-selling model in the Niro line-up, with 10,347 UK sales year-to-date.