Kia Motors America (KMA) today unveiled four all-new customized vehicles at the opening day of the 2016 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show. Envisioning a future when vehicles will not only drive autonomously but be tailor-built to our lifestyles, each concept sparks the imagination of what could be just around the corner. Also making its SEMA debut is the Telluride full-size hybrid SUV concept that was first unveiled early this year at the North American International Auto Show.
“Over the course of our 22 years in the U.S. market, we’ve watched with pride as our vehicles have helped people live their active and diverse lifestyles,” said Michael Sprague, chief operating officer and executive vice president, KMA. “This year’s SEMA show gives us the opportunity to ponder what the future of living the autonomous life may one-day resemble.”
Any elite athlete will admit it’s a long, lonely road to the top and triathletes know that better than anyone else. All-night runs, bike rides across remote country and swims through dark waters make training for a triathlon a truly isolating experience. Kia’s autonomous Niro Triathlon offers refuge in a cabin designed to relax and recharge while also providing top-notch training and safety equipment.
Custom built by the master craftsmen at LGE-CTS Motorsports, the 2017 Niro hybrid has been transformed into a true crossover-utility lifestyle vehicle. Removal of the roof from the D-pillars back creates a small bed and allows for the custom bike rack, tool box and tablet computer mount. The Felt IA 2 road-racing bike can be easily removed or locked in place for repairs or transport. The ONEU safety laser bike lane light mounted to the rear illuminates a laser LED road behind the vehicle and the athlete can easily monitor speed, time and distance covered via the tablet while the Niro autonomously keeps pace. The tablet can also be attached inside the vehicle for entertainment or performance analysis while the Niro effortlessly drives the athlete home or to the next competition. Riding on a 2-inch lowered suspension, the Niro Triathlete is shod with 265/35R-18 Dunlop Direzza sport tires and lightweight 18-inch Method Rally Race wheels.
Removal of the passenger-side B-pillar facilitates easy entry into a cabin designed for comfort and efficiency. The back door has been modified to open on a rear-pivot hinge while the front door has been redesigned to open wider than a stock Niro, allowing the doors to open a full 90 degrees. With no reason to drive, the athlete is cosseted in an ultra-comfortable Human Touch zero gravity ergonomic reclining chair. Numerous custom cabinets hold essential supplies, attire and parts, and a portable shower allows for a quick post-race clean-up.
School of Rock Sedona1
One of the most intriguing aspects of the autonomous life is the safety aspects associated with removing the possibility of human error when behind the wheel. This is especially true when children are involved and Kia imagines a world when vehicles will someday autonomously transport our young ones to accommodate their busy lives.
Partnering with School of Rock, the leader in performance-based music education, Kia turned over a Sedona minivan to LGE-CTS, set a creative session with all the concerned parties and the School of Rock Sedona gig van was born. This rolling recording studio features everything aspiring musicians crave: a studio, a place to chill and a completely hands-free way of transporting the band to the next gig. The stunning hand-painted School of Rock imagery hides the strong bones of the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and NHTSA 5-Star rated Sedona so parents can be assured their kids will make it to the show safely and with more than 180 locations, School of Rock plans to hit the road in style to perform at various shows with their talented musicians.
Significant enhancements to the Sedona include the removal of the driver-side B-pillar, steering assembly and gear selector. This makes room for a digital mixing board and dual flat-screen monitors to record tracks. Front-mounted near-field speakers pump out the tunes and when a track is being laid down, the RECORDING light mounted to the roof illuminates. Vocalists will appreciate the boom mic that hangs from the ceiling. Sound-studio-quality acoustic foam panels line the interior to reduce exterior noise during an intense recording session. Should the band decide to host an impromptu roadside show, the Sedona’s lift gate flips open to reveal an imposing stack of amps. There is also storage on the roof for guitars, bass guitars and a myriad other instruments. Fun and comfortable custom bean bags allow the band members to relax or jam in style.
Layered on a base of candy red are contrasting white tan and black accents. The School of Rock logos and music-inspired icons are hand painted. While no modifications were made to the suspension, the School of Rock Sedona rides on flat-black painted 20-inch Vossen VFS-6 wheels that are wrapped in aggressive Toyo Proxes 255/45R-20 tires.
Sorento Ski Gondola
Taking the idea of a sport-utility vehicle to new heights – literally and figuratively – this custom Kia Sorento was built by LUX Motorwerks to tackle snow and ice as it gets you and your fellow skiers up to the top of the mountain for another run. The luxurious and self-driving Sorento Ski Gondola is all about climbing to higher ground in style, comfort and warmth.
Dominator Rubber Tracks powdercoated orange make this gondola a go-anywhere cold-weather machine. A custom metal roof rack supplies ample storage for skis and poles while the cargo area provides abundant space for boots, bags and other gear, all easily accessible thanks to the removal of the B pillar and the rear doors being converted to suicide-style doors. Up front, the Sorento’s headlights were painted black, silver and orange and LED light bars were installed for increased visibility in all conditions.
The Sorento Ski Gondola’s interior has been upgraded with custom door panels, dash and center console, which houses a personalized tablet. The interior has also been given a reboot of black and orange leather to compliment the orange and PPG Silver Metallic paint of the Sorento’s exterior. Throughout the interior the floor was given a durable waterproof Line-X treatment to protect against the ice and snow that may find its way inside.
Soul First Class
The Soul First Class is an upscale inter-city chariot that lets business travelers work and relax as they journey to out-of-town meetings and destinations. This self-driving custom-built creation from LUX Motorwerks – with its rear-facing seats, absence of steering wheel and wide array of luxury enhancements – is about optimizing work and rest amid the hectic schedule in one’s professional life.
Eliminating the need for a driver, the Soul First Class has a revamped front dash which now houses two rear-facing front seats. The Soul’s passengers are then greeted by a 40-inch Samsung LED TV connected to a Mac mini computer system and premium audio speakers throughout. A custom motorized center console reveals two tablets, which control this futuristic Kia. To match the first-class electronic system is first-class comfort with white and gray leather with diamond stitching throughout the cabin, and modern gray wood flooring to match.
The Soul’s exterior brings about the same level of luxury as the interior with PPG Lux Blue paint and modified upper and lower grilles with LED lighting. The 19-inch Rotiform Monoblock CCV wheels bring a modern vibe to the car’s exterior and round out the complete autonomous vehicle inspired overhaul.