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Kia previews future SUV design with Futuron Concept

All-electric Futuron Concept offers early taste of Kia’s evolving SUV design language

5 Nov 2019

KIA has taken to the China International Import Expo in Shanghai to reveal the Futuron Concept, an all-electric SUV ‘coupe’ that foreshadows the South Korean brand’s future crossover design language.


According to Kia, the “Futuron Concept is built around a single, strong ‘360-degree’ design notable for its pure, smooth form devoid of ornament”.


“The delicate diffusion of the body’s surfaces creates a series of taut, flowing shapes which twist, expand and contract around the body. The result is a sleek and streamlined shape, creating an aero-efficient profile,” it added in a press release.


Critically, the Futuron Concept features an evolution of Kia’s signature ‘tiger nose’ grille, which maintains its pinched middle section but has been stretched out towards the front fenders to create a ‘tiger face’.


This new design element therefore incorporates the Futuron Concept’s Matrix LED headlights, which take a unique geometric form called Star Cloud that is said to be inspired by nebulae in the night sky.


With its surroundings mimicking the look of scales on dragon skin, a similar treatment is applied to the Futuron Concept’s wedge-like rear end, with both interpretations also featuring a full-width horizontal light that responds to physical gestures made outside the vehicle.


Measuring in at 4850mm long and 1550mm tall with a 3000mm wheelbase, the Futuron Concept is similar in size to BMW’s X6, one of the original SUV coupes, although it only has two doors for ingress and egress.


That said, the Futuron Concept still offers seating for four, with its diamond-shaped panoramic glass roof ensuring that occupants are bathed in natural light. It even extends all the way down to the bonnet so that the driver has a clear view of the road ahead.


Notably, the Futuron Concept’s extensive glasshouse incorporates a network of LiDAR sensors that enable Level 4 autonomous driving.


When this mode is engaged, the steering wheel retracts and the flexible front seats recline to create a fatigue-reducing ‘zero gravity’ seating position.


The rest of the cabin is a technological tour de force, with the Star Cloud lighting and dragon skin scales found outside incorporated into the door panels and dashboard, with the latter acting as air vents that can be opened and closed.


The Futuron Concept’s digital instrument cluster “flows out of the driver-side door and wraps around the steering wheel in a seamless arc”, according to the marque, while the steering wheel itself is crowned by its own display.


The infotainment system is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and is able to present key information to the driver and their passengers, including navigation and self-driving data.


Described by Kia as “a sportscar on an SUV platform”, the Futuron Concept has a zero-emissions powertrain that features four electric motors, with one connected to each corner to create an all-wheel drive system that “delivers lightning-fast responses to driver inputs”.


Creating a low centre of gravity, an underfloor high-capacity battery has been confirmed, but its size and the driving range it enables are yet to be detailed.


The Futuron name is a combination of the words ‘future’ and ‘on’, hinting at the “switched-on, electric nature” of marque’s future SUVs, which remain to be seen.

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