Kia HabaNiro Concept Is a Spicy, Self-Driving EV That’s Confused About Its Own Existence

According to Kia, the HabaNiro isn’t a sedan, a hatchback, or even a crossover—it’s an “ECEV”—an “Everything Car Electric Vehicle.”

byChris Tsui|
Electric Vehicles photo

As the makers of the Soul and Stinger, Kia has never been one to shy away from bold model names. This becomes especially apparent in the case of its all-electric concept crossover unveiled at the 2019 New York International Auto Show: the HabaNiro. Yes, folks, Kia has named a car named after a chili pepper. 

(Take a shot for every article you see today that opens with some variation of Kia "bringing the heat to New York.")


Conceived entirely at Kia's design studio in California, the HabaNiro concept aims to be all things to all people. While Kia says it'd probably be categorized as a crossover if you must give it a label, the company actually prefers to think of it as an "ECEV" or "Everything Car Electric Vehicle." The HabaNiro is all-wheel-drive, seats four, boasts a range of over 300 miles, and is theoretically equipped with Level 5 autonomous capabilities. 

"We wanted this concept to be comfortable navigating city streets, carving turns on a coastal road, and off-roading with confidence to remote wilderness adventures," said Kia Vice President of Design Tom Kearns. "We imagined a car for everyone and nearly everything."


Stepping past its "scissor-like" butterfly doors, HabaNiro occupants are treated to a seriously futuristic cabin devoid of restrictive, rectangular screens and archaic knobs and buttons. Instead, the Kia concept features an advanced heads-up display that takes up the entire windshield (this car can fully drive itself, remember) and sounds like something lifted straight out of Minority Report. In its most advanced self-driving mode, the HabaNiro's theater-style HUD can be used to watch movies. 


When a human driver is in control, however, the Kia HabaNiro's Real-Time Emotion Adaptive Driving (READ) system uses artificial intelligence to monitor the driver's "emotional state" and altering the interior accordingly. It won't do this as of yet but Kia says it hopes the tech will one day be smart enough to detect when a driver is hungry and navigate to the nearest drive-through restaurant where food will be waiting. No word on whether the HabaNiro would default to request extra hot sauce for all of its automated fast-food orders.