Detroit motor show 2011 - Kia KV7

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Kia unveiled its new KV7 MPV concept at the Detroit Motor Show today.

Designed by the company’s California design team, it follows on from the Soul’s styling and builds on the Kia’s philosophy of ‘embracing the box’. The KV7’s styling consciously rejects the sharply raked windscreens and wedge-shaped noses that dominate the looks of cars in the large MPV class.

Tom Kearns, chief designer Kia Motors America, said: ‘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.’

The KV7 is about the same length as the Renault Espace, but where it differs from conventional MPVs is in having a gullwing door on the passenger side. This – in combination with the pillar-less front door – opens up to allow easy access to the cabin.

At the front of the car are LED lighting elements that Kia is considering using on production cars in the future, while the near-continuous run of side windows is designed to give a good view out for passengers.

Inside, the emphasis is not on catering to a family’s demands, but to a new group of consumers.

As a result, the KV7 features four swivelling seats (including the driver’s seat), and a rear-corner ‘mini-lounge’ with seating for three and integrated storage compartments. Rear passengers can use a floating tabletop touch-screen computer display, and the car is wi-fi enabled, so several passengers can connect their smartphones to the vehicle at once.

To create a warm and welcoming environment, the cabin features soft colours – complemented by LED lighting accents throughout – as well as reclaimed teak flooring and sustainable wool and felt materials.

Up front, the dash incorporates a multi-use display, which controls the infotainment, climate and navigation systems through a trackball mouse, and the whole thing moves more than 15cm towards the driver when the engine is started.

In the past, Kia’s concept cars have turned into production cars that strongly resemble them, and there are reports that the KV7 could develop into a replacement for the Sedona. However, as we announced last week, the KV7 concept is understood to have been ruled out for Europe because Kia believes the market for full-size MPVs is shrinking. ??

Sources say the new five- and seven-seater Carens MPV due in 2012 will be more flexible and do a better job of filling the hole left by the Sedona in European markets.

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