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New Kia Optima Estate concept revealed

Korean car manufacturer's shooting brake concept hints at next-generation Optima, due later in 2015

Words ByAaron Smith

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This is the Kia Sportspace concept car, which shows how the next Kia Optima Estate will look when it arrives later this year.

The four-seat concept was designed at Kia's Frankfurt design studio and has styling cues and interior features that could hint at the Korean car firm’s future design direction.

Kia set out to design a long-distance cruiser for "active people who need reasonable cargo space on the weekend". The Sportspace's exterior is emphasised by front β€˜ice cube’ quad headlights, distinctive bonnet bulges and the company’s latest β€˜tiger nose’ shutter grille design. The grille opens at slow speeds and closes at high speeds, to improve aerodynamics.

Kia describes a β€˜latin’ flavour to the rear, with the rear pillar pushed forwards compared with other shooting brakes.

The Sportspace is powered by a version of Kia’s T-hybrid 1.7-litre diesel-electric hybrid powertrain, shown at last year’s Paris motor show.

It has four-wheel-drive capability, with an electric motor driving the rear axle, enabling "smart four-wheel drive when you need it". The Sportspace uses a sequential automatic gearbox, with steering wheel paddle shifts.

Three driving modes are available: Aero, Comfort and Sport. Aero mode lowers the body for less aerodynamic drag.

While much of the exterior is close to how the production car will look, the interior is described as "A pure design study with an essence for future projects".

However, some features may make it to production: the tinted glass roof, rearview mirror camera, one-piece leather seats and silver woven fabric with a brushed aluminium look.

A large rectangular touchscreen infotainment system dominates the dashboard and controls media, navigation, email, calendar and social media app functions. The rear armrest has slots for passengers to plug in their tablets, while chrome-finished roller balls are built into the boot floor space to assist with luggage movement.