Kia HabaNiro Concept Explores the Future of Mobility, Connectivity

Not content to allow its Genesis cousins to steal all the thunder in the runabout concept game at this year’s New York International Auto Show, Kia brought the noise with something called the “HabaNiro Concept”. It’s an all-EV urban cruiser with over 300 miles of range – at least that’s what Kia’s claiming. They’re also claiming that it’s an “all-electric everything car”, or “ECEV”. In an effort to make it tougher to define, they’ve given it upwards-opening butterfly doors, 20-inch wheels wrapped in chunky rubber, and a stocky profile.

That’s the outside; inside, the steering wheel looks more like an airplane yolk, but that’s not the best part; we’ve seen heads-up displays, but while the latest from BMW appears as big as my laptop screen, the HabaNiro takes this to the next level by making the HUD take up the entirety of the windshield. While they imagine it as a form of entertainment over – and I quote – “a long highway haul” since you can stream video there, I see it more as a way of passing the time during a rainy day on a camping trip and so forth.

Then again, since the HabaNiro offers level five autonomous tech, maybe you can watch movies as you drive; after all, once level five automation is activated, the steering wheel retracts anyway to provide more room for the occupants inside. If you want to use the HUD for more practical purposes, an eye-tracking system has been developed that can sense when drivers are looking up to where the rearview mirror would be, and activates a 180 degree rear view display.

While Kia hasn’t said if they’re going to produce the HabaNiro, they do say that it’s a look at what Kia could be capable of when it comes to integrating design, mobility and connectivity going forward.

City runabout meets weekend adventurer in this spicy concept from Kia. 4/17/2019 5:00:00 PM