This is the Kia Sportspace, a luxurious concept car that will preview a new Optima wagon when it makes its public premiere at the Geneva motor show on March 3.
Announced last week but revealed in full today, the D-segment concept — parlance for a mid-sized car — is the 11th concept car created by Kia’s European design studio in Frankfurt. It was penned under the guidance of chief designer Gregory Guillaume, who reports to Peter Schreyer.
We do not have dimensions, but Kia is clear the Sportspace previews a D-segment car. Stylistically, the concept sports a wider and more aggressive take on Kia’s staple Tiger Nose grille, and a sleeker and cleaner take on the current five-year-old Optima’s edgy styling language.
Inside the cabin there is a rather sexy steering wheel, behind which sits an Audi-esque digital display. The central fascia sports a dominant screen with only a handful of buttons, controlled by what appears to be a toggle dial on the transmission tunnel.
The provided cabin images appear to show the use of carbon-fibre-look inserts to add a racier edge to the simple design. There is a lot of German inspiration in there.
“We set out to design a car that is a totally new breed of grand tourer – one for active people who need reasonable cargo space on the weekend, but don’t want to compromise moving around in style, comfort and with an element of sportiness,” Guillaume said.
Many had expected the concept to be a preview of the 2015 Optima sedan, which we have previously caught testing and which is expected to launch this year.
But the actual concept is even more interesting, given it provides a clear sign that the company will make a wagon version of its forthcoming next-generation Optima.
The Korean brand is developing a knack for pulling exciting concept cars out of the bag. Many, including the Nero crossover, Track’ster hatch, GT luxury tourer and GT4 Stinger coupe, are yet to make production.
But the odds of Kia offering an Optima wagon to rival the Ford Mondeo in Europe seem pretty strong. Wagons remain big sellers on the Continent, after all, and it would make a nice addition to Kia Australia's range.
As we reported last year, the new-generation Optima is expected to premiere in Australia late this year or potentially in early 2016. Expect an evolutionary design, but a wealth of technical changes including a high-tech diesel hybrid drivetrain and new turbo models.
The reveal of the Sportspace follows hot on the heels of the dashing little Trail'ster concept that appeared a few days ago in Chicago.
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