The surprisingly good looking Kia is based on a pre-production prototype of the new three-door cee'd Sporty Hatch (which is set to go into production come December 2007). However whilst the ex_cee'd has the same wheelbase, it features all-new exterior panels, sharing only the floor-pan and unseen components with the donor car, plus a powered folding fabric roof.
Yes a fabric roof, not a metal one. Its not because its a Kia and the aim is to save money, Kia points out that by adopting a fabric roof, the ex_cee'd deliberately goes against the trend towards cabrios with folding metal roofs as the aim of the designer was to make a classic cabrio with a traditional soft-top roof:
"I'm convinced that the fabric roof will have a renaissance. We've all lived with the romantic idea of open-air driving for a long time and for me, metal-roofed cabrios are not truly in tune with this emotional conditioning." Kia Design Chief, Peter Schreyer
You have to admit, that it is a very good looking car and certaintly, there is no reason why a Fabric roof can't make a come back - and if Kia has the guts to start the trend, then good on Kia!
Kia is also so sure of the quality that (as these are the first-ever Kia cars designed and manufactured in Europe) it is giving all cee'd vehicles sold in Europe a 7-Year / 150,000 kilometre warranty which is transferable to subsequent owners. This is following a similar trend to Mitsubishi with its 10 year warranty in Australia.
With its slight wedge shape profile, muscular extended wings over 19-inch alloy wheels, and aggressive, dynamic front styling, the ex_cee'd has instantly found a form that stands out from the cabrio crowd. The cabrio concept is finished in 'meringue white' exterior paint with a 'bitter chocolate' fabric roof - colours that are echoed by the interior's two-tone leather.
"With this new cabrio concept car, Kia has once again demonstrated that it is a young, style-conscious company that knows how to combine elegance with dynamics. The Kia ex_cee'd is a fresh, aesthetic high-point in our history, an encouraging sign of the growing internationalisation of our brand and a step in the process of evolving into a European company with Korean roots." enthused Mr Yong-Hwan Kim, Senior Executive Vice President and COO Kia Motors.
The Kia ex_cee'd cabrio concept, Kia cee'd Sporty Wagon and Kia Rio Hybrid sedan will be on display at the Geneva Motorshow from the 6th of March.