The new Kia Niro will be heavily inspired by the HabaNiro concept.
Back at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, Kia revealed the HabaNiro, a funky concept previewing the next-generation Kia Niro. Fast forward two years later, and Kia has been caught testing the brand new Niro ahead of production. This isn’t the first time the next-generation Kia Niro has been spied, but this latest sighting offers our best look yet at the new design direction. Initially, the prototype was fully covered up, but some of the front camouflage was removed later in the day, allowing our spy photographer to get some shots of the new Niro’s redesigned front fascia.
For the first time, the production headlights are clearly on display with sharp daytime running lights inspired by the HabaNiro concept.
Gone is Kia's traditional tiger-nose grille, replaced with a wider grille that Kia says is inspired by a shark's snout. Additional lights are also incorporated in the lower grille. At the back, the boomerang-shaped taillights from the concept have also carried over. It's a shame the production model won't inherit the concept's butterfly doors, but the overall shape seems to be heavily inspired by the concept. It also appears to have a longer wheelbase, allowing for more room inside the cabin for rear passengers. Kia is putting the prototype's components under a lot of strain as it can be seen towing a heavy trailer.
Under the skin, the new Kia Niro is expected to ride on the same platform as its predecessor. As a result, the new Niro will likely retain its electrified 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces a combined 139 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque.
Like its predecessor, a plug-in hybrid variant will be available. Spy shots have also confirmed an all-electric version of the new Niro is in development to replace the eNiro. Unlike the EV6 that rides on the new dedicated electric E-GMP platform, the new Niro EV will also share the same platform as the current model. Hopefully, it will have a better range than the current Niro EV, which will last up to 239 miles on a single charge according to EPA estimates.
Now that the camouflage is starting to peel away on the prototypes, the production version of the new Niro should debut either later this year or in early 2022.