Taking sustainability to another level, Kia Niro designers talk design and materials
Jerrica · Feb 26, 2022 09:00 AM
All-new 2022 Kia Niro uses recycled materials for headliner
Chopped carbon material used in crash pad to make a unique pattern
More legroom for second-row passengers than previous generation
Back when the first-generation Kia Niro was launched in 2016, the world has yet to perfect the use of sustainably made materials to be freely used on the car’s design. Fast forward six years and sustainability is the main theme of every industry, it has allowed designers of the Niro to get creative with sustainably made materials when it came to deciding what resources to use.
While Kia made it no secret that they’ve used eco-friendly materials on the all-new Niro, it wasn’t until now that we know exactly what are the components that were made using said materials.
In an interview, Colour, Material, and Finish (CMF) designers have revealed that they used eco-friendly materials in areas frequently seen and touched by passengers such as the seats, door trims and headlining.
The headlining, for example, is processed by adding about 56 percent of recycled PET to the nonwoven fabric. Another component that also utilises recycled fabric is the piece used for the cargo screen. The recycled fabric contains about 70 percent PET in the knitted material.
Meanwhile, the seats are made using artificial bio-leather. The bio-leather is made by mixing vegetable components from eucalyptus trees and mixing with PU artificial leather.
CMF designers were also proud to point out the use of chopped carbon pad print applied to the lower part of the crash pad and the door trim. Chopped carbon is a material that is re-formed from carbon fibre remains after the weaving is complete.
As a result, the crash pad features a unique crisscross pattern that gives the Niro a futuristic and elegant look.
Other than that, CMF designers also made use of paint that does not contain BTX (benzene, toluene, and xylene), three main carcinogens that are harmful to the environment. The paint is not only used on the exterior of the car but also on the interior such as the door trim.
But enough about the materials used, let’s talk about the overall design of the Niro’s interior. The lines were penned with the new Kia design philosophy of Opposites Unite in mind.
The philosophy stands out most through the diagonal line running across the crash pad and door trim. According to Senior Researcher, Kim Jong-Hyun, designers took inspiration from the stark contrasts in Mother Nature and the avant-garde style widely known in the fashion world.
He also highlighted that the new Niro’s interior is now more driver-centric thanks to the diagonally cut ‘edge-shaped’ panoramic display on the neat and slim crash pad.
The use of slimmer door trim also helps create a larger cabin space in the all-new Niro. More emphasis has also been placed on the rear seats resulting in much larger legroom for second-row passengers.
There isn’t a time in memory that doesn’t involve staring at cars. After discovering the excitement of watching Schumacher vs Hakkinen, Formula 1 became a major part of life. The love for cars and F1 ultimately led to a job with CAR Magazine. The untimely death of the magazine meant a hiatus from cars at lifestyle women’s magazine Marie Claire before another opportunity came knocking again.