The stylish new Kia Sportspace mid-sized show car is claimed to be "neither saloon car nor wagon", "neither hatchback nor shooting brake", stating that "it is neither meant to be, nor does it look like, a load-lugger".
The European-designed Sportspace concept was penned, planned and developed by Kia's team in Frankfurt under the eye of chief European designer Gregory Guillaume, with weekend getaways in mind.
The company's designers claim the new concept is "a thoroughly practical vehicle for everyday business use, yet a stylish and athletic grand tourer in the classic sense - ready to eat up the miles across continents, whether for business or leisure".
That said, the Sportspace is tipped to presage the first-ever Kia Optima wagon in a bid to enhance the car's appeal in the European market, as Guillaume explained. CarAdvice reported on plans for an Optima wagon, as well as hybrid and turbo models, at last year's Paris motor show.
"Kia does not have a wagon in this important segment of the European market, but I was determined that we would not simply create something that conformed to tradition. This car comes from an ambition I had when I was studying design in Switzerland as a young man," he said.
"I always had this picture in my mind of creating a vehicle that I could have used to go for a weekend’s skiing with friends before driving back for it to be displayed at the Geneva Salon. Geneva is a special show for me – it comes as winter starts to release its grip. It has a special atmosphere and a particular appeal. The ideal concept vehicle had to reflect this – and I believe the Sportspace does just that," Guillaume added.
The Sportspace is about the size you'd expect a medium wagon to be, measuring 4.85 metres long, 1.87m wide and 1.42m tall while riding on a 2.84m wheelbase. For context, a Mazda 6 wagon measures 4.80m long, 1.84m wide, 1.48m tall and has a 2.75m wheelbase.
The car is powered by an evolution of the drivetrain seen in the Optima T-Hybrid. It combines a 1.7-litre turbocharged diesel engine with a 48-volt electric "booster" that is said to enhance "engine torque at very low engine speeds, as well as under acceleration for more effortless overtaking". While the Optima T-Hybrid was a front-drive only proposition, while this time around the Sportspace features all-wheel drive.
The interior of the Sportspace is designed to be "very black" with a focus on "control and function", while being lined with leather and carbonfibre, as well as milled, anodised aluminium. There's no rear-vision mirror - instead a thin display screen acts as a monitor for a rearward-facing camera.
The clean dashboard appears to float inside the cabin, and you'll note there are no air vents - instead, ventilation comes from the centre tunnel below. The four individual seats feature carbonfibre shells, while the driver gets a flat-bottomed steering wheel, configurable digital instrument cluster, and media controls are managed by a new system mounted behind the gear selector.
Stay tuned for more on the potential Kia Optima production car in the coming months.
See our previous story about the Kia Sportspace concept for more images, or click the Photos tab above to see further new images of the Kia Sportspace.