After two teaser shots and a couple of leaked images earlier today, Kia’s “activity MPV” concept, the KV7, finally hit the showroom floor at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.Designed to challenge the notion that minivans are strictly for transporting people, the KV7 stands out with its boxy design and, according to the Koreans, also wants to serve as a “connected social hub for groups of friends and adventure-seekers”.
“From the outset, we felt the category was in need of an honest reassessment due to the fact that everyone seems so desperate to attach the word “sporty” to their MPV even though MPVs, at their very core, are simply a box”, said Tom Kearns, Chief Designer, Kia Motors America. “Rather than reject the box we chose to celebrate it, just like we did with the Soul, and the result is a straightforward yet sophisticated vehicle that retains the functionality MPVs are known for and meets the changing and diverse needs of today’s consumers”.
Unlike most MPVs on the road today, Kia’s design study has a wider and lower stance thanks to the less vertical A-pillars and windshield. This is emphasized by the LED headlights, which cover almost the entire width of the fascia. The lines of the body are simple, while the 20-inch alloys add a sporty touch.
Nothing spectacular, right? Wrong. As you can see in the photos, the KV7's stylistic highlight are the Gullwing-style rear doors, which help create a massive point-of-entry to when opened in conjunction with the pillar-less front passenger door.
Measuring 192 inches (4.87 meters) in length, the concept offers flexible seating configurations and multiple storage options. All seats can swivel, including the driver’s seat, and there’s even a mini-lounge in the rear with seating for three, which, says Kia, promotes interaction in an open social environment.
Designers chose a cheerful color palette of soft beige and green tones and used a variety of unconventional materials, such as teak wood and wool, complemented by LED “accent illumination”.
The dashboard is dominated by a large display, integrating all infotainment, climate and navigation functions, and moves more than six inches towards the driver when the engine start button is pushed. Passengers have their separate interface, in the form of a floating tabletop touch-screen computer display and the KV7 is Wi-Fi enabled.
The last piece of the puzzle is found under the bonnet. Kia fitted the concept with a 285 hp 2.0-liter direct-injected turbocharged engine, also used by the U.S.-spec 2011 Optima sedan, coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
By Csaba Daradics
KV7 specification summary
Length: 191.85 in. (4873mm)
Width: 80.0 in. (2033mm)
Height: 68.1 in. (1729mm)
Wheelbase: 122.0 in. (3100mm)
§ Wide stance, smooth exterior skin and 20-inch wheels with 225/45 tyres
§ A-pillar and windshield design that is less vertical than traditional minivans
§ Passenger-side gullwing door which creates a massive point-of-entry to when opened in conjunction with the pillar-less front passenger door
§ A continuous line of LED fog lights that span the entire front end of the vehicle
§ LED Directional turn indicators on the outside mirrors and the rear of the vehicle that pulse in the direction being signalled
§ Interpretation of Kia’s signature bold tabbed grille with vertical LED headlamps integrated within the design
§ A distinctive windshield and series of near-continuous windows starting at the A-pillar for maximum visibility
§ Four custom-built swivelling seats, including the driver’s seat
§ Rear-corner mini-lounge with seating for three
§ Integrated storage compartments
§ Modern colour palette featuring soft beige and green tones
§ Unique seat and surface materials
§ Variety of unconventional textures, including reclaimed teak wood flooring and sustainable wool and felt materials
§ Front dash moves more than six inches toward the driver when push button start is engaged
§ Large multi-use display which integrates infotainment, climate and navigation systems in one simple-to-use interface controlled by a trackball mouse mounted in the dash
§ Rear floating tabletop touch-screen computer display
§ Wi-Fi enabled cabin
§ Ability for multiple passengers to connect their smart phones simultaneously
§ Multiple flush-to-the-floor accent illumination points and standout green LED lighting throughout the front dash, instrument panel and rear display area
§ New Theta II 2.0-litre GDI turbocharged engine (as fitted to U.S. spec Optima)
§ 285 horsepower
§ Six-speed automatic transmission
§ V6-type power and performance while maximising fuel efficiency