‘Imagine by Kia’—no, that’s not a fragment sentence, it’s the name of Kia’s new EV concept unveiled this week at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.
The mid-size four-door sedan rides on an all-new all-electric chassis that features an inductive-charged (wirelessly charged) battery pack, which powers a compact drivetrain.
The new chassis and powertrain is not the main point of the Imagine by Kia. No, this car is instead a design experiment.
This is most noticeable at the front of the car, where Kia’s signature tiger nose grille has been morphed into what the Korean automaker calls a ‘tiger mask.’ LED lights are intended to resemble a pair of piercing eyes floating in the front of the vehicle. It is meant to show the new way forward for Kias of the 21st century—Kia’s sentiment, not mine.
I’ll admit, it does have some interesting design features. The body is clad, for example, in six-layers of chrome-effect paint. Side-view mirrors have been replaced with cameras that resemble twee insect antennae. And the 22-inch wheels each have acrylic glass inserts that glimmer like diamonds.
Stepping inside, occupants will be surprised and delighted by a single piece of glass that starts as the windshield and carries into the full length of the roof. This creates what Kia calls a ‘sky-window.’ It’s very much a cool effect.
Turning to the dash, rather than join in the virtual automotive arms race that is in-dash screens, designers placed 21 individual high-resolution screens across the dash. The center console floats in between the two front seats. And interior room is vast, thanks to the new EV architecture that underpins the Imagine by Kia.
It’s an interesting concept. Kia’s press release really attempted to hammer home messaging about emotion, dropping words and phrases like ‘wit,’ ‘humor,’ and light-heartedness’ throughout the document.
I don’t know about all that. The interior isn’t too witty to me. Still, though, it is a valiant effort to push the brand into a new design-focused direction. Clearly, Kia brass are working very hard to break from the brand’s perception as being an economy brand and as one that can go toe to toe with the likes of the most beautiful cars in the world.