Kia Motors has revealed its new Futuron Concept, an illuminating all-wheel drive SUV coupe which proposes new designs for future electric vehicles.
The Futuron Concept represents the modern and confident image of a progressive electric SUV coupe. All envisioned by Kia; so the Futuron name itself is a portmanteau of ‘future’ and ‘on’, hinting at the switched-on. Thereby an electric nature of future SUV designs from the brand.
In addition and with a design based around the notion of dynamic purity. Because the Futuron Concept merges elegant proportions with pure shapes and surfaces. Its lightweight SUV coupe body incorporates a fully-electric all-wheel drive powertrain. All wrapped in bold yet modern exterior surfaces, and with a flexible, high-tech interior.
The Futuron makes its public debut at the 2019 China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. Also it was on display to the public until 10 November.
An electric SUV coupe with a ‘360-degree core’
The Kia Futuron Concept is built around a single, strong ‘360-degree’ design. Thereby 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. As well as expand and contract around the body. The result is a sleek and streamlined shape, creating an aero-efficient profile.
The novel proportions of the car are immediately striking. Its low-profile SUV coupe body makes a strong statement of intent for Kia’s future cars. One which will be confident, sporty and modern; yet also elegant.
It stands at 4,850 mm in length, 1,550 mm tall and with a 3,000 mm-long wheelbase. Also the Futuron’s elevated ground clearance is matched with a low, lean body. Finally, creating a dynamic, confident posture.
The Futuron’s fully-electric powertrain also makes this shape possible. Because it’s a high-capacity battery is mounted low in the vehicle’s body. I mean beneath the cabin floor; then it’s providing electrical energy to four powerful in-wheel electric motors.
So the elevated stance of the car is therefore matched with a low center of gravity and a cutting-edge e-AWD system. One which consequently delivers lightning-fast responses to driver inputs.
Furthermore, it’s a sports car on an SUV platform. Then you’re combining with comfortable, lean-back seats. I mean Futuron offers users a new type of interactive driving experience. One most importantly suitable for urban city environments. That’s because various elements of the vehicle’s structure and design foster that connection. As well as an interaction between the car and driver.
The front fender flows backwards from the front of the hood. All before plunging into the cabin itself. It’s establishing a connection between the driving seat and the road ahead. The concept’s roof is a diamond-shaped panoramic glasshouse. One which sits atop the 360-degree core. Because in the best traditions of UFO and flying saucer design. So it’s flooding the cabin with natural light. It also extends down the bonnet to give drivers an unparalleled view ahead. The glasshouse also incorporates a network of LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors. One capable of providing Level 4 autonomous driving features. I mean enabling hands-off and eyes-off driving in most conditions.
Furthermore, the 360-degree theme is evident in the lighting. That’s because it that illuminates a sharp character line encircling the Futuron’s body. A playful and interactive new feature, this lighting responds to physical gestures and movements made outside the car. Thereby eliciting a close connection between vehicle and driver before they even set foot in the cabin.
The new ‘tiger face’ of Kia
The front of the Futuron features a new reinterpretation of Kia’s ‘tiger nose’ grille, a signature for Kia design now for over a decade. While maintaining the basic principle of the design – a clear outline with tabs in the middle – Kia’s designers have expanded the boundaries, widening the shape across the front of the car to create a restrained, yet elegant ‘tiger face’.
The newly-designed front of the car, like that of the Imagine by Kia Concept first revealed earlier in 2019, expresses a new design interpretation for Kia’s future electric vehicles.
With a wider ‘tiger face’ shape, the grille incorporates the Futuron’s headlamps. They are an innovative ‘Star Cloud’ design. One which gives the car a dazzling new night-time identity. The concept’s Star Cloud lighting not only highlights a new design form for the front of the car. However it also embodies a new lighting concept for Kia. All taking inspiration from nebulae in the night sky. Therefore creating a geometric patchwork of matrix LED lighting. The Star Cloud is also incorporated into the rear of the car. Then displaying a distinct light signature to anyone following the Futuron.
Revealed for the first time in Shanghai, the Futuron also incorporates Chinese legend in the design and form. That’s so of its new Star Cloud lighting. The Dragon Skin surface covers the lighting area emulating the scaled armor that adorns Chinese dragons. So known both in mythology and modern-day cultural celebrations. The Star Cloud lighting incorporates a kinetic surface. All enabling the car to alternate between daytime running lights and full-beam headlamps as the scales open and close.
Flexible and autonomous cabin space
The layout of the electric powertrain and incorporation of Level 4 autonomous driving systems has enabled the creation of a spacious and flexible cabin. I mean it’s so unlike any other vehicle on roads. The two front seats are created out of flexible materials and can offer an upright ‘driving’ position, or a reclined ‘rest’ position, similar to the flexibility afforded to first-class airline passengers. With the activation of the Futuron’s autonomous driving features, the two front seats recline as the steering wheel retracts. The ‘zero-gravity’ seating position this creates helps to reduce fatigue on long journeys.
The Futuron’s seamless interior also reflects its autonomous driving nature, with surfaces flowing uninterrupted from the dashboard and through the door panels. The doors feature the same Star Cloud lighting and scaled Dragon Skin motif found on the outside of the car, creating a glittering interactive ambient lighting system. The ventilation system is also housed behind Dragon Skin scales, which open and close to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the cabin.
In conclusion, one of the most prominent features of the cabin is the ‘cockpit’ area surrounding the driver. The graphical user interface (GUI) of the cockpit flows out of the driver-side door. It also wraps around the steering wheel in a seamless arc. This merges the instrument cluster directly with the audio-visual display at the center of the dashboard. Best part is it is linked to the display integrated within the surface of the steering wheel.
Finally, the GUI is operated by artificial intelligence technologies. All displaying useful information about the car various autonomous driving. That’s as well as the powertrain and navigation features to create a unique user experience. The apex of the cockpit arc sees the GUI lunge forward towards the road, creating an interactive Star Cloud light display at the very front of the cabin.