“Some assume the HabaNiro concept will never be built…”
For those nay-sayers who say this is just a wacky concept Kia won’t build, the company has a response: “We don’t advise betting the farm on it.” This is the Kia Habaniro concept, and it just debuted at the 2019 New York Auto Show. Yes, it’s a silly name, but it has some serious technology going on underneath the name and striking body.
Kia’s definitely having some fun with this debut, calling the HabaNiro “hot” and “spicy”. Beyond that, it’s a fully-electric, all-wheel drive crossover with 300 miles of range. It also has butterfly-wing doors and an autonomous driving system. It has a modern look, with oddly shaped lights, sharp curves and intersecting lines and colors all over the place. With the 20-inch wheels and absurdly short overhangs, it may be somewhat outside the normal realm. But that’s not the point of a concept, is it?
The point of a concept, per Kia’s explanation of the Habaniro concept, is to attract the interest and excitement of potential customers. “In the past 18 months, Kia has launched two new vehicles, the Stinger and the Telluride, from concepts that fully captured the public’s imagination.”
Inside, the Habaniro Concept gets even more wacky. There’s less of a steering wheel and more of a control yoke in front of the driver. There’s a touchscreen in the center of the wheel for controlling everything, which is a nice touch. But if the driver doesn’t feel like actually driving, they can let the autonomous system takes over. From there, the controls move out of the way to make for more space in the cabin.
Inside the Habaniro
Then, the driver and passengers can enjoy the Perimeter Ventilation System that blows a curtain of air through the car. There is also ambient LED lighting, as you’d expect, just to set the right mood. However, one party piece is Kia’s Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving, or R.E.A.D. system. It continuously monitors the people inside and can change the interior environment to provide a more pleasant and easier drive. For instance, the system will activate a rearview video display when the driver looks up where the traditional mirror would be.
While it’s likely we won’t see this exact car in the near future, it does foreshadow Kia’s future electric offerings.