Kia Imagines an electric car with coach doors, silk seats and 21 screens
Kia's Geneva Motor Show concept, "Imagine by Kia," showcases its "holistic and emotional approach" to electric cars.
Steven EwingFormer managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
If you're looking for hard data about
electric Geneva Motor Show concept, you're out of luck. Dubbed "Imagine by Kia," this big four-door doesn't focus on things like power or range or advanced driving tech. Instead, it's all about emotion.
"Today's drivers understandably have many questions about electric cars. They're concerned about range, the recharging network and whether electric cars will still be dynamic and engaging to drive," said Gregory Guillaume, Kia's vice president of design, in a statement. "So, when we first started thinking about this concept and imagining what its role would be, we knew that the best way to answer those questions and address those concerns was by approaching electrification purely from an emotional point of view."
Answering questions by -- *checks notes* -- not answering them? Go on...
Watch this: 'Imagine by Kia' concept: part design study, part parody
"When they talk about their electric cars, many carmakers promote the same rational and empirical data-driven messages as they do with their internal combustion engined cars, such as range, economy and performance criteria," Guillaume explains. "Kia prides itself on its power to surprise, which is why we wanted to move away from the rational and focus on the emotional, and embrace a warmer and more human approach to electrification."
OK, so let's talk about what we do know: Kia's concept is a large, C-segment car with a high-riding stance, "intentionally designed to not sit within the industry's predefined vehicle categories," according to the automaker's statement. The front fascia has an illuminated grille surround, and the main headlights are housed in individual blocks of glass. Underneath the car is a "low-mounted, induction-charged battery pack that powers a compact drivetrain." (This vague powertrain data is as technical as Kia gets.)
Imagine by Kia Concept brings 21 screens to the Geneva Motor Show
The exterior color comes off as a sort of bronze, and there's a lot of depth to the hue. Kia says six layers of chrome-effect silver paint were applied to the car's body, and then covered in a bronze tint.
A single piece of glass serves as the windshield and the roof, and tapers into a double-bubble design over the rear of the car. The more you look at the car, the more its elegant surfacing becomes apparent. But because of its 22-inch wheels, wrapped in Goodyear 255/35-series "Intelligrip EV Concept" tires, and large car proportions, it's hard to tell if this car is really worthy of being called "pretty." Seeing it in person will surely help.
Open the coach doors and move inside, and you're greeted by 21 individual ultra high-resolution screens. The displays curve their way across the dashboard for a look that's "both casual and coordinated," according to Kia. This super techy display is actually Kia poking fun at modern cars' ever-growing infotainment displays.
"These 21 incredibly thin screens are a humorous and irreverent riposte to the ongoing competition between some automotive manufacturers to see who can produce the car with the biggest screen," Kia Europe's head of interior design, Ralph Kluge, said in a statement.
When viewed from the driver's seat, the 21 screens appear to form one single display. A robust infotainment system is said to be housed within, with "birds-eye navigation," as well as the usual roster of media and connected functionality.
The slim seating surfaces are covered in leather and silk, and the floating center console sits above the low, flat load floor. Two cargo compartments are found up front (a frunk) and around back, and the Imagine Concept uses a hatchback design, for easier access to your belongings.
Given the lack of tangible data, it's hard to, uh, Imagine this car is destined for production in some form or another. But we like what we see in terms of lighting and infotainment design, as well as body surfacing. Kia's concept car may be short on details, but there's certainly a lot to talk about.