Kia is coming up with another crowd-pleaser soon, as previewed by its Geneva-bound provo concept car. A small hatchback with coupe-style sloping profile, the Kia provo looks to be aimed right dead centre at the MINI, Citroën DS3 and Fiat 500 premium supermini market.
The Korean carmaker claims that the provo has been designed for fun – to delight and entrance its owner and bring a smile to the driver’s face. The concept was pictured at a racetrack to highlight that point. If proven right, it will be the first Kia to do so as dynamic prowess has never been part of the brand’s wide-ranging repertoire.
It sure looks the part, though. Designed by Gregory Guillaume at Kia’s European styling base in Frankfurt, the provo is a sleek and muscular representation of Kia’s latest design direction with plenty of unique touches to make it special.
The aggressive front splitter, single-piece LED headlights within the long bonnet and sculpted flanks, wraparound glasshouse and finely detailed rear end all add up to form a purposeful, dynamically able-looking sports hatch contender. Measuring 3.88 metres long, 1.77 metres wide and 1.35 metres tall, the provo concept is slightly larger but lower than the MINI.
Housed under a single piece of glass is the latest take on the Kia ‘tiger nose’ grille, flanked by tiny programmable LED headlamps. The light clusters are made up of more than 850 LEDs and can be used as daytime running lights, dipped/main beam or even race-style illuminations and various humorous and decorative displays to add an extra dimension of customisation and fun.
A unique colour combination is used to good effect here, the contrasting blood orange elements enhancing the provo’s masculine stance. Generous use of carbonfibre panels and high-gloss aluminium add a touch of raciness too, as do the gorgeous 19-inch milled-alloy wheels with racecar-style single centre nuts.
The Kia Europe Design team was able to let imaginations run free on the inside too, with a one-piece carbonfibre dash housing two customisable digital displays, each with a variety of screen displays (normal, cruise, track and entertainment modes available). The front seats are made of a single wave-like panel, lavishly covered in black quilted leather.
It’s not just a styling exercise either. There’s a working turbocharged 1.6 litre GDI engine with 204 hp under the hood driving the front wheels through Kia’s first seven-speed DCT gearbox. It’s also helped along by an electric motor capable of sending a maximum of 45 hp to the rear wheels, achieving on-demand all-wheel drive traction and performance.
There’s no word on any specific production schedule yet, but the provo does show a lot of promise. Hot on the heels of the pro_cee’d GT, perhaps Kia could excite us dynamically after all.