Apparently, it’s called the Provo Concept and, as you can imagine, it looks absolutely bonkers or at the very least, right up what Kia promised as a "racy new urban concept.” It sure wasn’t kidding, huh?
But the radical conceptual design of the exterior, particularly the eye-catching front profile, only tells part of the story of the Provo Concept. The interior is also awash in some fine and fancy suede and carbon treatments while the wheels, well, those ridiculous bad boys sure do speak for themselves.
It’s also worth noting that the Kia Provo Concept is looking like the Korean automaker’s answer to the growing crossover market, one that could have the likes of MINI in its crosshairs.
Find out more about the Kia Provo Concept after the jump
Kia describes the Provo Concept as a car that was designed for fun, a description that we certainly can’t argue. If the singular purpose of the concept was to catch attention and determine whether a future production model would be offered, then Kia accomplished both of those in spades.
The overall shape of the Provo Concept isn’t a surprise, considering the treatment the Korean automaker was looking for as it tries to introduce us to the future of its B-segment offerings. What was surprising was how it managed to accomplish blowing us away with a look that completely caught us by off guard.
The two-tone color - Storm Metal with high-density Blood Orange accents - plays a critical part in enhancing the Provo Concept’s stance while also endearing itself with a balance of subtlety and sporty aggression. And Kia made use of carbon-fiber surfaces and high-gloss or anodized aluminum on the Provo Concept, which immediately shows you that these guys mean business.
The real treat with the Provo Concept, though, is the way Kia designed the uncharacteristically aggressive profile, highlighted by the “tiger nose” grille treatment that links into the equally fabulous Schreyer-inspired headlamp units made up of more than 850 tiny LEDs. The concept’s flat hood also appears to have some muscle-car inspiration behind it, particularly the two creases that hint at the concept’s aggressive nature.
And to put the final exclamation point on what arguably is Kia’s best-looking concept in years, the Korean automaker fitted the Provo Concept with a new set of 19-inch milled-alloy wheels.
Suffice to say, this is how you make a splash at Geneva.
3.88 meters (152.75 inches)
1.77 meters (69.7 inches)
1.35 meters (53.1 inches)
2.53 meters (99.6 inches)
The Provo Concept’s interior is, in a word, confusing.
We’re not exactly sure how to feel about it because, while Kia wanted to deliver functionality with style with the interior design, they did so while combining retro-style accents, a very black dressing, and modern functionality.
Add all that with the exuberant exterior and you figure why we’re a little confused about Kia’s approach to the interior. One distinct feature about the Provo’s interior is the lack of a center console, something Kia deliberately left out to provide excellent functionality in a clean, clear and attractive manner.
Meanwhile, the Provo’s dashboard is made entirely of carbon fiber, which doesn’t extend down to the floor, something Kia also deliberately did to keep clutter away from the cabin. Put that aside and you’ll notice that the dash does have a nice look about it, particularly the way Kia seamlessly integrated pretty much every interior components into it. The instrument cluster is particularly neat and has analogue dials on a digital display with a smaller central display. Everything on it is digital, which means that it be reprogrammed to the functions you want it to display.
Then, there are the seats, in particular, the two front ones. Oddly enough, Kia thought it would be a good idea to upholster the two seats in such a way that it appears to extend from the driver’s side all the way to the passenger’s side. It says that it’s a single wave-like panel running from one door sill to the other and covered in quilted leather. We have no qualms about the material - we love quilted leather - but there’s no sense of ownership of the seat akin to sitting on one end of the bench with the front passenger on the other end.
At the very least, Kia did admit that the cockpit had some moodiness about it, and they tried to capitalize on that by adding tiny red LEDs set in the multi-layered doors, in the air vents and also in roof to cast a low-glow ambient illumination that we think is unnecessary.
For all of the impressive design characteristics of the Provo, it’s important to also know that the concept carries what Kia is calling a Smart 4WD Hybrid powertrain.
That’s made up of a 1.6-liter, turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engine that can produce around 204 horsepower and mates to a seven-speed DCT transmission and a regenerative-powered electric motor that drives the rear wheels and gives an additional power boost of up to 50 horsepower.
The extra juice can be used either automatically when required during or in a button-activated creep-mode at low speeds so you won’t have to burn away that precious fuel when you’re stuck in a bumper-to-bumper.
It’s still a concept and Kia has even acknowledged that no specific production schedule for the Provo is on the calendar.
If Kia decided to take the leap and green light the Provo Concept’s production, it’s going to enter a market that comes with a steady diet of palatable choices. None of them will look as sexy as the Provo, and Kia’s claim that it could be a future premium B-segment model makes us wonder if it can compete with the likes of MINI.
Looks-wise, the German automaker caters to an entirely different market, one looking for some retro looks to their vehicles. Clearly, there’s nothing retro about the Provo Concept’s ’tiger grille’, is there?
Where the Provo could have the advantage over MINI is its hybrid powertrain that eclipses 200 horsepower without any aftermarket work done on it.
Having said all that, this discussion is purely hypothetical because like Kia said, "no specific production schedule for the Provo is on the calendar.”
The exterior blows us away while the interior underwhelms. That’s out takeaway from the Provo Concept. The powertrain’s nice, too, considering that at its peak, it can produce more output than any of its prospective competitors.
But if you really think about it, this concept is all about its looks. From this day forward, this is how Kia should design their cars. They can still make improvements on the interior, but in terms of completely reinventing the way it’s aesthetically perceived, Kia should just design their new line-up the way they designed the look of the Provo concept.
Front profile blows us away
Impressive performance credentials
Interior could have been better
Still a concept
Is there a production future?