Kia will unveil tomorrow, during the Geneva Motor Show, a B-segment concept car made to look like a road-legal racer, incorporating hybrid propulsion technology.
The coupe-looking hatchback concept, known as provo, mixes a gasoline-fueled turbo-charged engine with regenerative-electric motors to bring what Kia calls a smart-hybrid solution to this fun-focused concept.
The company stated that this provo concept points to Kia Motors’ future B-segment expansion plans.
Gregory Guillaume, chief designer at Kia’s European styling base in Frankfurt, described the concept as “an emotional and muscular car aimed at delivering pure fun and performance for today’s city-based enthusiast driver who longs for the curves of the open road.”
The provo combines a 1.6-liter Turbo GDi engine with smart-4WD-hybrid technology from an electric motor delivering an additional power surge to the rear wheels when required; this electric motor also allows low-speed electric-only motion. A seven-speed DCT transmission – Kia’s first – completes the technical package.
Guillaume went on: “This is entirely a car for European tastes and conditions. Designed purely at our Frankfurt studios the provo was conceived as a confident and single-minded statement of dynamism and energy to deliver a new sense of fun into the B-segment. The potent shaping displays a balanced and refined outline within a compact overall shape and the tiny front and rear overhangs enhance the balance within its proportions.”
Hidden behind a single piece of glass is the latest take on the Kia’s ‘tiger nose’ grille treatment linking straight into the Schreyer-inspired headlamp units that are made up of more than 850 tiny LEDs. Kia said the programmable LEDs can be used to provide daytime running lights, full beam or even race-style configurations – as well as more humorous and decorative displays to add to provo’s sense of fun!
High-intensity blood-orange accents contrast with the grey-green ‘Storm Metal’ body color to draw the eye to particular aspects of the structure and equipment, while carbon fibre surfaces interplay with traditional materials and high-gloss or anodized aluminum to strengthen the connection to the track cars that inspired provo.
The door construction is unique – the doors are made from three individual panels – the outer panel, a carbon-fiber inner panel and a neoprene-covered inner section that also features the Storm Metal body color.
Echoing the sculpted flanks of the provo, the dashboard has a business-like main binnacle containing large analogue dials on a digital display and a smaller central display of other minor gauges, but because the display is digital it can be programmed to offer a selection of functions.
Set on the center tunnel are two control hubs – the engine stop-start button and drive selector for the seven-speed DCT transmission and a Multimedia Interface control.
This latter control allows the driver to select a variety of screen displays – as well as controlling infotainment functions. In ‘normal’ mode the driver sees a speedometer, rev counter and sat-nav route instructions. In ‘cruise’ the display is centered on a large scale map, route instructions and a speedometer, while in ‘track’ mode the display features just a large rev counter, a track-map and a lap-timer. There is also a full ‘entertainment’ mode allowing visuals of music, radio and other information.
Guillaume commented: “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.”