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SUVs have been the top choice among buyers for years, but will it always be this way? To find the answer, Autocar turned to Kia's head of design Karim Habib, who pointed to the increased flexibility that comes with electric powertrains. He thinks it will eventually change the basic design principles that define SUVs today, turning them into what he considers the "post-SUV."


“I don’t like to pretend that I can tell people what they’re going to be doing in the future,” he told Autocar. “SUVs were maybe a learning from people driving [MPVs] and being tired of it. The post-SUV is coming.”




Kia's latest EV9 three-row is already a prime example of the freedom EVs give to designers. Its boxy lines and short overhangs represent the brand's latest design philosophy, Opposites United. That same direction has also been applied to the EV6, EV5 Concept, Sorento, and the Sportage, all of which stand out against the typical SUV crowd and are likely the reason behind Kia's recent popularity.


The EV9 also displays the "more efficient ways of doing space" in electric SUVs. They may carry the same dimensions as their gas counterparts, but the lack of a transmisison tunnel and engine bay in EVs will inevitably make them roomier inside. Habib said that Kia "will try different things" when it comes to packaging the brand's future EVs, and that the boxy shape and cavernous cabin of the EV9 won't be something seen in every Kia SUV going forward. Instead, some models will be sleeker and smaller like the EV6.


“I wouldn’t say we’re abandoning anything, honestly,” Habib said. “We tried to develop a design philosophy that isn’t based on dogma. There are maybe certain principles that will be repeated in the other cars, but the execution and the different ways of using it I think needs to be open.”



But it's not just the openness in designers to new ideas or the opportunities in terms of space that may alter the shape of SUVs in the future. Another major factor is the need for sufficient aerodynamics in EVs, in order to increase range and efficiency. This may drastically change the 'soft-roader' demeanor in today's SUVs, despite the demand for road-going crossovers being at an all-time high.


Habib told Autocar that he personally prefers traditional, boxier SUVs over those that may look rugged but really aren't meant to leave the pavement. "A love for that authentic proportion is part of it. And to be honest, the other reason is now that EV SUVs are all trying to be super-sleek, so we just wanted to try to not do that and [yet] still try to achieve the aerodynamic efficiency that would get us to the range that we want to have."


What do you think will eventually replace today's SUVs?

Image Credits: Kia
Report
Jun 26, 2023
 •

Kia's Head Of Design Believes There Will Eventually Be A "Post-SUV"

Electric powertrains provide more design freedom, which may alter today's SUV.

SUVs have been the top choice among buyers for years, but will it always be this way? To find the answer, Autocar turned to Kia's head of design Karim Habib, who pointed to the increased flexibility that comes with electric powertrains. He thinks it will eventually change the basic design principles that define SUVs today, turning them into what he considers the "post-SUV."


“I don’t like to pretend that I can tell people what they’re going to be doing in the future,” he told Autocar. “SUVs were maybe a learning from people driving [MPVs] and being tired of it. The post-SUV is coming.”




Kia's latest EV9 three-row is already a prime example of the freedom EVs give to designers. Its boxy lines and short overhangs represent the brand's latest design philosophy, Opposites United. That same direction has also been applied to the EV6, EV5 Concept, Sorento, and the Sportage, all of which stand out against the typical SUV crowd and are likely the reason behind Kia's recent popularity.


The EV9 also displays the "more efficient ways of doing space" in electric SUVs. They may carry the same dimensions as their gas counterparts, but the lack of a transmisison tunnel and engine bay in EVs will inevitably make them roomier inside. Habib said that Kia "will try different things" when it comes to packaging the brand's future EVs, and that the boxy shape and cavernous cabin of the EV9 won't be something seen in every Kia SUV going forward. Instead, some models will be sleeker and smaller like the EV6.


“I wouldn’t say we’re abandoning anything, honestly,” Habib said. “We tried to develop a design philosophy that isn’t based on dogma. There are maybe certain principles that will be repeated in the other cars, but the execution and the different ways of using it I think needs to be open.”



But it's not just the openness in designers to new ideas or the opportunities in terms of space that may alter the shape of SUVs in the future. Another major factor is the need for sufficient aerodynamics in EVs, in order to increase range and efficiency. This may drastically change the 'soft-roader' demeanor in today's SUVs, despite the demand for road-going crossovers being at an all-time high.


Habib told Autocar that he personally prefers traditional, boxier SUVs over those that may look rugged but really aren't meant to leave the pavement. "A love for that authentic proportion is part of it. And to be honest, the other reason is now that EV SUVs are all trying to be super-sleek, so we just wanted to try to not do that and [yet] still try to achieve the aerodynamic efficiency that would get us to the range that we want to have."


What do you think will eventually replace today's SUVs?

Image Credits: Kia

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Kia's Head Of Design Believes There Will Eventually Be A "Post-SUV"

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