Kia has inaugurated a range of purpose-built vehicles which will expand to include cars aimed at a wide variety of business and private users. The first member of the range is the Niro Plus, an evolution of the last generation model designed largely for professional drivers and taxi fleets.
Visually, the biggest changes between the mainstream Niro and the Plus are towards the rear. The roofline of the crossover is squarer and more like a pickup truck, the third side windows are correspondingly taller, and the tailgate is straighter. New trim pieces reduce visual mass.
Two variants of the Niro Plus will be offered at launch. The first is aimed at drivers who need a car suited to both their professional and leisure needs. Kia envisions those motorists using the Niro Plus for weekday deliveries and weekend camping, for example. Buyers choosing this version will be able to choose between an electric, plug-in hybrid and regular hybrid powertrain.
The second Plus was designed specifically for taxi drivers. Offered as an EV only, it’s about 0.3 inches longer and about three inches longer than the standard last-gen Niro, and it’s fitted with slimmer seats as well as slimmer door panels. These changes make the cabin more spacious. Kia has also added what it calls an all-in-one screen developed to replace the various screens taxi and transport drivers typically have on their dashboards. It displays the navigation system, an app-based taximeter and a digital tachograph, among other functions.
Kia expects the purpose-built vehicle segment to grow significantly in the coming years and aims to lead the pack by 2030. To this end, it has started developing a platform specifically to underpin a range of models “in different shapes and sizes”. ”, including some that will be marketed as a viable alternative to public transport and others that will also serve as an office on wheels. The first car built on this architecture will debut in 2025, and it will take the form of a mid-size model. It is not yet known if we will see it here.
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