Here’s a first look at a decidedly weird, fully-electrified Kia Niro crossover. Actually, that’s exactly what the powers-that-be want you to think, but our sources believe this is really something quite different. Sure, it looks like a Kia Niro, albeit one that’s awaiting some kind of widebody kit. That’s not far from the truth, because we think this is actually a powertrain test mule for an upcoming EV crossover for Genesis.
Wrapping up the underpinnings in a Niro body certainly makes sense. Kia and Genesis are all part of the Hyundai family, and it’s not the first time we’ve seen such SUV shenanigans involving the luxury brand. Our first look of the forthcoming Genesis GV80 was over a year and a half ago, and it was wearing the skin of a Hyundai Santa Fe. As with that test vehicle, this Niro’s wheelbase is significantly altered, and the track is much wider as well. This suggests the Genesis model will slot beneath the GV80 – in fact, the platform could be a derivative of the G70 sedan.
Gallery: Genesis EV Test Mule Spy Photos
If that’s the case, it seems Genesis will be poised to battle premium EV crossovers like the Audi e-tron. In fact, this mule was caught testing in Death Valley with the Audi as well as a Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model 3. Those are some solid benchmarks, especially the I-Pace which has garnered accolades for being an EV with personality, great looks, and stout performance.
Whether Genesis can live up to such greatness is obviously a mystery. At this early stage, we’re unable to uncover details about its powertrain, battery capacity, charge times, or range. If these three competitors are indeed benchmarks for Genesis, expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts) and a range between 200 and 250 miles.
Testing is obviously in an early phase, so we don’t expect to see Genesis offer this as-yet-unnamed crossover until 2021 at the earliest.