Looking every bit the street-legal racer, this is Kia’s new provo concept car just unveiled at the Geneva Auto Salon.
This is a car designed for fun – pure and simple. Every curve, crease and line brings the Kia provo to life with a single purpose; to delight and entrance its owner and to bring a smile to the driver's face. The car is meant to be cheeky and cheerful in its compactness and to hint at the fun awaiting on the open road.
But there is more to provo than meets the eye.
Under the sleek, low, muscular coupe-style hatchback is a petrol-fuelled turbo-charged engine with clever regenerative electric motors to bring a smart hybrid solution. This fun-focused concept points to Kia Motors’ future B-segment expansion plans and highlights some of its technological advancements.
Such as the 1.6-litre Turbo GDI 150kW engine, which combines smart 4WD hybrid technology from an electric motor to deliver an additional power surge to the rear wheels when required, and also enables low-speed electric-only motion. A seven-speed DCT transmission, Kia’s first, completes the impressive technical package.
Making use of carbon fibre in the body panels, the compact provo (it’s only 3.88 metres long, 1.77 -metres wide and 1.35-metres tall) introduces itself with a steep front nose and carbon fibre lower valance that immediately conveys a sense of purpose.
Hidden behind a single piece of glass is the latest take on Kia’s signature ‘tiger nose’ grille design that links straight into the Peter Schreyer inspired headlamp units that are made up of more than 850 tiny LEDs. The programmable LEDs can be used to provide daytime running lights, full beam or even race-style configurations – as well as decorative displays to add to provo’s sense of fun!
A wrap-around front screen hides the A pillars and frameless doors, giving a visor-style appearance to the cabin glass with the clamshell-like roof floating above. This is divided at the rear by different colour sections rising up from the C-Pillars in an almost roll-over bar appearance.
Colour is used to enhance the design, with high-intensity blood-orange accents that contrast with the grey-green ‘Storm Metal’ body to draw the eye to particular aspects of the structure and equipment. The carbon fibre surfaces interplay with traditional materials and high-gloss or anodised aluminum to strengthen the connection to the track cars that inspired provo.
Planting provo firmly on the road are distinctive 225/40 19-inch milled-alloy wheels with a traditional ‘cast’ look fixed by single centre nuts finished in anodised blood-orange. And with just a 2.53-metre wheelbase, exciting handling and road-holding is guaranteed.
Developed at the Kia Motors European Design Studios in Frankfurt, the provo interior is very, very black and in the words of Kia’s European Chief of Design, Gregory Guillaume “we believe it should be to allow drivers to focus on the experience”. But it also features other design elements such as the remarkable carbon fibre dashboard that appears to float above the floor.
Guillaume adds: “The whole interior concept was designed around not having a big centre console, but instead using latest technology to provide excellent functionality in a clean, clear and attractive manner.
“By using a DCT gearbox we were able to get rid of the floor-mounted gear-shift and use paddles behind the steering wheel, which has blood-orange stitching and a race style straight-ahead indicator, allowing us to use the floor space for other controls resulting in a much tidier environment. And because the seats are fixed we have full electric adjustment for the pedal box and steering column – further simplifying the interior and giving a perfect-fit for any driver.”
Is this the sports car that Kia’s President and Chief Design officer Peter Schreyer has often said he would like to see Kia build? Time will tell.