Just a week before the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, Kia Motors teased its new electric vehicle concept model, and now we know what it is. Unveiled at the motor show is “Imagine by Kia”. That sounds more like a tagline than a model name, but at the moment, that’s what the automaker is calling this handsome, muscular not sure if it’s a mid-size crossover or four-passenger family car concept. With the intention of making electric vehicles fun to drive and no longer a luxury or niche, Kia Motors is focusing on the design and performance of the new electric vehicle along with its powertrain and range.
“Automotive design is about capturing the heart and making it beat that bit faster for that bit longer. We believe that there’s absolutely no reason why that should change simply because the car is electric…That’s why our all-electric concept is designed to not only get your pulse racing but to also signpost our holistic and emotional approach to electrification.” – Gregory Guillaume, Vice President of Design for Kia Motors Europe
“Imagine by Kia” will be the automakers first foray into a purely electric vehicle. This isn’t to say they don’t have all-electric vehicles, such as the Kia Soul EV or the Kia Niro EV (also known as e-Niro). Unlike the award-winning e-Niro electric crossover and the electric Soul hatchback, “Imagine by Kia” is the first of its line, not based on an already successful gasoline-powered sibling. That’s what Kia means when they call it their “first pure electric” vehicle.
Although some are calling it a four-door family car, it’s clearly on the larger end. The design reinterprets the iconic “tiger nose” grille, and “Imagine by Kia” features a bold new illuminated “tiger mask” that encircles the main LED headlamp units. The headlamps come with their own addition to the new tiger design with horizontal “eyelids” that separate the dipped and main beam units with a single block of clear acrylic glass that creates the effect of piercing eyes that float freely. Kia Motors has discussed changing their style going forward after the release of the 2018 Kia Stinger, and it seems like this new tiger nose front fascia will become the new look of the 21st Century for the automaker.
“It’s a large C-segment car – the vehicle size that’s incredibly popular in Europe – but the only things it holds on to are Kia’s brand values…It hints at something familiar but is something entirely new. I think of it as a category-buster, and a disruptor – it’s familiar and understood but at the same time progressive and new… The inspiration for the ‘tiger mask’ was to create the look and feel of the headlamps being suspended within a transparent block of glass,” explains Guillaume. “This identifiable lighting signature could potentially be deployed as a unifying design element across Kia’s future electric vehicle range.” – Guillaume.
A single sheet of glass from the base of the A-pillar to over the cabin make up the windshield and roof for a vast-sky window for the driver and passengers. Four turn signals are housed within deep-set tunnels for a three-dimensional effect that loops outward as it glows, and the rear light horizontal wrap is familiar of the Kia Stinger. The sports car style has had a large impact on vehicles from Kia Motors since its conception.
Inside, consumers will be greeted by twenty-one individual ultra high-resolution screens that curve their synchronized way across the top of the dashboard. Although it may seem humorous, together, the screens effectively create a single unified display from the driver’s point of view without the bulk and rigidity of traditional in-car displays.This lighthearted take spreads throughout the cabin with four seats covered in leather and silk with diamond cross-cut shells that are strong, robust, comfortable, and supportive.
At the end of the day, it’s still a concept car. It’s unclear if Kia intends to produce the vehicle or is just setting a goal for the automaker in the coming years. We’ll continue to look into it. In the meantime, keep up with Kia Motors on Miami Lakes Kia social media.