Kia has unveiled the new Futuron concept as an indication of what a new line of electric SUVs from the Korean manufacturer could look like.
Making its public debut at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, the concept takes the form of a two-door SUV with a coupe-style curved roofline. The firm says the model’s design is notable “for its pure, smooth form, devoid of ornament”.
Measuring 4850mm from bumper to bumper, the Futuron is comparable in length to Byton’s similarly positioned M-Byte electric SUV, the Audi E-tron and Jaguar’s I-Pace, but a roofline just 1550mm off the ground matches that of smaller SUVs like the Skoda Kamiq and the hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo.
An especially notable feature of the concept’s design is a new version of Kia’s trademark ‘tiger nose’ grille (present on all of its production cars for more than ten years), which has been significantly expanded to create a ‘tiger face’. The front end also showcases a new ‘Star Cloud’ lighting design that's incorporated into the grille and uses movable ‘scales’ to alternate between daytime running lights and full-beam headlights.
Kia hints that this front end design, itself an evolution of that sported by the four-door ‘Imagine by Kia’ concept, could soon feature across its line-up.
Exact powertrain specifications are unconfirmed, but Kia has revealed that the Futuron keeps its power in a high-capacity battery pack that's mounted beneath its floor to maximise interior space and ensure a low centre of gravity. This unit sends power to four electric motors, one on each wheel, which are said to offer “lightning-fast responses to driver inputs”.
The Futuron’s interior is equally futuristic, combining a minimalist layout with advanced autonomy functions to enhance the urban driving experience.
A diamond-shaped panoramic glasshouse is said to be inspired by ‘UFO and flying saucer design’, and offers a clear view of the road ahead while maximising the amount of natural light in the cabin. It also incorporates a network of LiDAR sensors that enable Level 4 self-driving functions.
The front seats are fully reclinable, enabling drivers to take their eyes off the road when the car is in its autonomous mode, which Kia says will help to reduce fatigue on long journeys. The exterior’s ‘Star Cloud’ lighting pattern features on the door panels, with a similarly ‘scaley’ surface housing the air conditioning and heating vents.
The Futuron’s 360-degree cabin shape is emphasised by a thin, interactive light bar that wraps around the entire body and responds to physical movements from outside the car.
Kia has offered several indications as to how its future line-up is taking shape recently. The SP Signature and Mohave Masterpiece SUVs shown earlier this year previewed a pair of combustion-engined SUVs, while the rugged HabaNiro gave an idea of what to expect from the next-generation Niro, launching in 2021.