The Kia SPORTSPACE
Kia has revealed its new concept model, the SPORTSPACE, described as the ultimate ‘getaway’ car – ready to eat up the miles across continents, whether for business or leisure.
Developed at Kia’s European Design Centre in Frankfurt by Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer Europe, the SPORTSPACE is neither saloon car nor wagon; it is neither hatchback nor shooting brake. It is instead a vehicle that can meet the demands of those who refuse to be categorised when it comes to their lifestyle or their motoring needs.
Guillaume said: “I always had this picture in my mind of creating a vehicle that I could have used to go for a weekend’s skiing with friends before driving back for it to be displayed at the Geneva Salon…The ideal concept vehicle had to reflect this – and I believe the SPORTSPACE does just that!” he added.
“We set out to design a car that is a totally new breed of grand tourer,” Guillaume comments.
Representing a new direction for the company, the SPORTSPACE is still a recognisable Kia thanks to the design of the manufacturer’s signature tiger nose grille. But the solid Plexiglas insert isn’t as solid as it appears. Close examination reveals it is actually louvred and these can rotate to allow greater air intake when required.
A powerful satin aluminium strip runs across the front of the bonnet above the ‘ice cube’ LED headlights, giving a sense of strength and determination. More satin aluminium strips set into the chin-spoiler hide inset turn signals that become apparent when switched on.
The wide rear tail lamps and a full-width carbon-fibre diffuser further emphasise the car’s wide stance and sporty appeal. The tail lamps incorporate the turn indicators, which pulse outwards when in operation.
A roof-level spoiler and the diffuser maximise air flow efficiency around the rear of the car. Twin tailpipes within the diffuser echo the polygon shape of the tail lamps. A vertically oriented fog lamp is integrated centrally in the diffuser.
The SPORTSPACE is finished with unique 20-inch ten-spoke alloy wheels inset with carbon fibre which emerge from a pentagonal hub at the centre. The wheel design suggests powerful rotation even when stationary.
The door handles sit flush in the panels until required. When operated they reveal a remarkably airy four-seat interior illuminated by panoramic glazing running the entire length of the roof and bathing the cockpit with light.
The cabin is simple and pure with bold, handsome styling, a balance of luxurious leather with contemporary technical materials.
“The cockpit is defined by clean and simple volumes, ‘grand gestures’ and detailing that doesn't detract from the whole,” says Guillaume.
The hand woven ‘cuoio intrecciato’ seats are trimmed with black-polished leather backed with carbon fibre shells and provide modern and comfortable sport seating for each of the four occupants.
Ahead of the driver is a highly configurable digital instrument cluster paired with a fully operational infotainment system. The large infotainment screen – which sits clearly within the driver’s view – can be operated in single or split-screen modes. Operation is via the in-car controller located behind the gear shift – flanked by four shortcut buttons that enable fast and intuitive interaction. Additional functions can be operated via a row of fast access buttons integrated below the centre screen.
Where the rear view mirror would usually be located, a slim screen replaces it, fed by images from the rear view camera. Other driver information is also fed into this screen.
Generous rear seat legroom maximises passenger comfort and heightens the sensation of spaciousness, enhanced by the substantial glazing above.
A prerequisite for an exciting grand tourer like the Kia SPORTSPACE is the capacity to accommodate skis. Skis can be stored between the rear seats, with a padded leather armrest doubling up as a ski rest.
An innovative loading system comprising 28 rolling balls is set within the matt leather trunk floor. In combination with the low tailgate, these allow the easy loading of heavy suitcases and sport equipment. When the SPORTSPACE’s ignition is switched on, each of the stainless steel balls lowers into its recess by 3mm, ensuring cargo doesn’t slide when the journey begins.
SPORTSPACE is powered by a high-performance, turbocharged powertrain, designed to fulfil Kia’s commitment to introducing more efficient engines. A compact and lightweight 2.0-litre T-GDI (turbocharged gasoline direction injection) engine generates 250BHP, driving the front wheels, resulting in high fuel efficiency and spontaneous, powerful acceleration in all situations. It perfectly supports the active driving experience promised by the dynamic exterior design.
Guillaume commented: “Behind the sophisticated design, the Kia SPORTSPACE also delivers a drive that is easy and enthusiastic. It will make every work-day commute or dash to the mountains equally invigorating,” he added.