Once a year in Las Vegas, automakers tend go “all out” and show off their newest creations at SEMA. Having won many awards and making noise during 2016, is it any wonder that Kia is also bringing a few surprises to SEMA this year? The auto brand has three vehicles to debut, and they’re looking pretty great.
The SEMA trade show, or the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show, an organization that deals exclusively to the vehicle aftermarket, holds a show every year in Las Vegas so automakers and buyers can see what’s on display, discover new auto parts, or just attend seminars and network with the right people. It started November 1, and only lasts four days. The SEMA Show attracts more than 100,000 industry leaders from more than 100 countries to discuss and share profit opportunities in the automotive, truck and SUV, and other auto markets. However, it’s not open to the general public.
We’re not here to talk about it anyways. We’re here to discuss Kia’s new vehicles being brought to light. First up is a vehicle we’ve been waiting for, but with a couple of modifications – the new Kia Niro.
New Kia Niro Concept
On display at SEMA is a really cool modified version of the all-new Kia Niro (pictured above). On Kia’s Facebook page, they state “…[we] wanted to make a car as tough and versatile as a triathlete with the comfort of a day spa.” It’s a little odd at first, but think it over – a vehicle that can do anything with a buff exterior, but on the inside is comfy and cozy. However, the Niro is looking nothing like the original concept.
The Kia Niro is a compact SUV that has an overhauled tailgate versus the traditional trunk design. The roof from the d-pillar (back of the car) to the back-end of the bumper has been removed to create a small bed, like a pick-up truck, with design implementations for equipment storage in an included toolbox to carry on-the-go items like a tablet, and has grooves designed specifically to hold a bicycle. Its exterior is also getting a gloss black paint finish. On the inside, the interior is going to be covered with lush material, including the center console, along with cushions and leg support. Yep, sure sounds like a spa.
Kia Sedona’s “School of Rock” Concept
If you didn’t see the Jack Black movie School of Rock, you may be surprised that the “School of Rock” is a real thing. Around the globe, several technical schools have opened up in various countries that focus on teaching kids about and how to play music. The schools teach guitar, bass, vocals, keyboards, and drums, and then combines it all into weekly private music instruction and group band rehearsals to prepare students to take the stage in front of live audiences in an authentic concert setting.
Okay, what does this have to do with Kia? Well, before SEMA began, Kia debuted its future autonomous minivan concept, a Kia Sedona that is affectionately dubbed “School of Rock.” This re-imagined Sedona is a rolling recording studio and gig van for aspiring musicians too young to drive so they can travel to their next performance and keep their fingers loose.
First off, there is no steering wheel or transmission. Since the vehicle is all automatic, there’s no need for those parts. In their place is a digital mixing board and dual flat-screen monitors to record tracks that have been set up, along with a front-mounted audio system. Inside, custom bean bags will allow band members to relax or jam as they please. If recording a song or melody, a “RECORDING” light mounted on the roof of the Kia Sedona will glow, just like a real recording studio. A hanging boom mic is also available for the vocalist(s) of the group. #KiaSEMA #AutonomousLife #SchoolofRockSedona
“Soul First Class” Concept
An autonomous Kia Soul concept is also on display and is a very innovative look at what could come to self-driving cars in the future. For starters, the upper and lower grilles have been modified with LED lights; the wheels are now 19-inch Rotiform Monoblovk CCV wheels; and the inside has been torn apart. Like the Sedona, drivers can expect a little more room in the Soul’s interior, given that it has a rear-facing front for a lounge-like interior arrangement that provides seating for five passengers, and a 40-inch flat screen with premium audio system. That’s right – a 40-inch TV in this bad boy! The Kia Soul is controlled by two tablets concealed in a custom center console. #SEMA2016
Kia isn’t only bringing glamour to SEMA this year, cause it’s also bringing the pain. That is, in the eyes of its competitors. Later this month, we’ll know a little more about what happened at SEMA, so check back again.