The Kia Niro Plus is based on the first-generation model of the brand's hybrid and electric SUV.
Kia designed the Niro Plus around the requirements of taxi and ride-hailing services.
The Niro Plus is part of Kia’s expansion into purpose-built vehicles, which will see it create a dedicated platform for the segment by 2025.
Kia previously stated its intent to become a leader in building purpose-built vehicles, and now the brand is showing off its latest entry in this market class: the Niro Plus. Based on the first-generation Niro, which was recently replaced with a redesigned 2023 model, the Niro Plus is geared toward the taxi and ride-hailing industries and will initially launch in Kia’s home of South Korea.
The Niro Plus arrives in two flavors: a so-called "general" version and a taxi-specific model. Kia's marketing the general version of the Niro Plus to private owners who can use it “for many business and recreational purposes including car-hailing services.” Kia writes the non-taxi Niro Plus will be offered with all three of the Niro’s powertrain options (gasoline-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric), and it will go on sale in certain markets outside of Korea in the second half of this year. Kia didn’t specify if the Niro Plus will come to the United States, though it plans to soon share more details about other markets the Niro Plus is due to sell in.
The dedicated taxi variant of the Niro Plus will be offered exclusively as an electric vehicle. In order to create the Niro Plus, Kia stretched the body of the first-gen Niro it's based on by nearly half an inch and raised the roof by 3.1 inches. Thinner seats and door cards in the taxi version afford the Niro Plus additional interior room, while all variants of the vehicle sport door reflectors and handles mounted to the B-pillar. The taxi version also features a single display that integrates navigation, the taximeter, and other important data, such as charging station locations. No performance specifications were revealed for either version of the Niro Plus, but we imagine the vehicle weighs a few more pounds than the equivalent first-generation Niro.
The Niro Plus joins a single-seat van version of the Korea-exclusive Ray city car in Kia’s lineup of purpose-built vehicles. While these first two entries are based on existing Kias, the company is developing a platform specifically for its purpose-built vehicle program. The first vehicle to use this architecture is due in 2025.
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