Meet the Designers: Kia Niro Concept

The Niro is the work of Kia’s Frankfurt-based design team and follows the brilliant compact Provo concept from the recent Geneva motor show. As with most concepts, its goal was to gauge public reaction to a compact B-segment crossover for the European market, where Kia sales are strong and gaining momentum.

The Niro is brimming with character, from its ‘ice-cube’ light clusters through to its off-road tow hooks at the rear. It’s a rugged aesthetic that is also sensual — thanks to the body’s overall form language — and technical. Topped off by a stainless steel roof which acts as a ‘helmet’, communicating the vehicle’s go-anywhere characteristics and enhancing perceived safety for occupants, the concept’s raised ride height and low overhangs really make it look like it could tackle any obstacle in its path — as was the brief for the design team.

Inside, the concept eschews more natural elements — save for the reversed leather on the door panels — for a more technical message, communicated in large part through the human machine interface (HMI) and driving controls situated on two beams protruding from the instrument panel. The HMI functionality and graphics have also been designed entirely in-house.

We spoke to exterior designer Juergen Jose and interior designer James Moon about the Niro’s design elements.


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