Kia KV7 says its hip to be a box

Kia unveils the KV7 concept at the 2011 Detroit auto show.

Kia KV7
The Kia KV7 embraces its boxy design. Josh Miller/CNET

DETROIT--Kia tries to break new ground with the KV7 concept in the world of minivans, but others have been there before. The front-end of the KV7 concept uses an upright grille and windshield, purposefully bringing a trucklike design to the minivan.

In a typical concept move, the side door opens upward, the floor is wood, and the podlike chairs swivel around. It looks like a comfortable place to ride. And Kia even points out its past record of turning forward-looking concepts such as the Soul and Forte into production vehicles with few changes.

But many concepts have shown similarly loungelike interiors not practical for road-going safety and comfort. And the exterior style of the vehicle has already seen expression in the Ford Flex.

Of course, Kia could still bring something similar to market, and even specifies its new turbocharged direct-injection 2-liter engine for the KV7. We would expect the seating arrangement to end up a little more conventional.

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