UFO? No, it’s Kia’s Futuron Concept

can be reached at pavel@aol.com
can be reached at pavel@aol.com
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If the Kia Futuron looks like it just rolled off the set of a sci-fi movie, that should be no surprise considering the Korean automaker says it’s “in the best traditions of UFO and flying saucer design.”

  • Futuron is a portmanteau of “future” and “on.”
  • Range would likely exceed 200, and perhaps 300, miles.
  • Moving batteries and motors under the floorboards ensures a cavernous interior.

Perhaps the only giveaway that Futuron can’t fly comes in the form of the oversized tires that are prerequisites for concept cars. It’s a companion to the “Imagine by Kia” concept vehicle that debuted last winter at the Geneva Motor Show, and the Korean carmaker hints both will influence the battery-electric vehicles its preparing to bring to market.

But where “Imagine” offered a glimpse of a futuristic wagon or SUV, Futuron is more of “a sports car on an SUV platform,” the automaker explains.

Futuron uses four electric motors, one for each wheel.

At 191 inches, nose-to-tail, the all-electric concept vehicle slots in-between the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron. But even with its significant ground clearance Futuron’s diamond-shaped greenhouse peaks at barely 61 inches in height.

Up front, it features a broad take on the familiar Kia tiger-nose grille, framed by “Star Cloud” headlamps, a similar lighting pattern in the rear. An aggressively sloped windshield flows into Futuron’s all-glass roof, giving occupants a 360-degree of the world around them.

The cabin, as can be expected of any modern concept vehicle, is loaded with high-tech features, including Level 4 autonomous-drive operable without human intervention – albeit in a “geo-fenced” area. When in self-driving mode, the Jetsons-style front seats can lay back nearly as flat as those in a first-class cabin.

Futuron’s interior is cavernous. (Photo: Kia)

Not much was revealed about Kia Futuron’s all-electric drivetrain beyond the fact that it relies on four separate motors, one for each wheel. That would permit an extremely flexible all-wheel-drive system, as well as electric torque vectoring, where outer wheels receive greater levels of power to enhance cornering capabilities.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Kia already offers one long-range battery-electric vehicle, the Niro. But it plans to join key competitors like General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen and Nissan by adding a number of additional BEVs in the coming years, and Futuron suggests it wants them to carve out a distinctive visual style.

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can be reached at pavel@aol.com
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