Kia?s KV7 Concept Developed for ?Ringleaders?

Kia is exploring the modern-day ?activity van? with a recently unveiled concept called the KV7.

Expanding on recent design success like the Soul, Sorento, Sportage and the Forte Koup, the KV7 takes a functional approach to a mobile gathering space by taking the concept beyond mere transportation.?? With a single gull wing door on the passenger side opening to a spacious and adaptable interior space the KV7 becomes a great space for friends to gather, as well as go places and carry things.

The design is more box-like than swoopy expanding on the lines of the popular Soul.

?From the outset, we felt the category was in need of an honest reassessment due to the fact that everyone seems so desperate to attach the word ?sporty? to their minivan, even though vans, at their very core are simply a box,? said Tom Kearns, chief designer, Kia Motors America. ?Rather than reject the box we chose to celebrate it, just like we did with the Soul, and the result is a straightforward yet sophisticated vehicle that retains the functionality vans are known for and meets the changing and diverse needs of today?s consumers.?

The wide stance, vertical windshield design, smooth exterior and 20-inch wheels combine to give the KV7 a confident look. ?The concept?s most striking feature is its passenger-side gullwing door, which creates a massive point-of-entry to the lounge-like interior when opened in conjunction with the pillar-less front passenger door.

The modified Kia tab grille look is centered between a pair of vertical LED headlamps. ?The KV7 uses multiple LED lighting elements in the design as a way for the design team to evaluate use on other future products.? The applications include a continuous line of LED fog lights that span the entire front end of the vehicle and directional turn indicators on the outside mirrors and the rear of the vehicle that pulse in the direction being signaled.

The KV7 concept?s distinctive windshield follows the unique designs found on the new Sportage CUV and Optima midsize sedan, and a series of near-continuous windows starting at the A-pillar provide uninterrupted views of a day at the beach or a night out on the town. And despite its non-traditional look, the KV7?s length (191.85 in.), width (80.0 in.) and wheelbase (122.0 in.) are consistent with the van segment and allow flexible seating configurations and a multitude of storage options.

In the process of rethinking what a van?s exterior appearance and image, Kia?s Southern California design team also envisioned an interior to meet the needs of an entirely new group of consumers ? a group of people referred to as ?Ringleaders.? Rather than using a van to transport children and their accompaniments, Ringleaders are busy organizing road trips, social outings and new adventures for themselves and their friends to experience together. As such, the KV7 concept?s interior employs four custom-built swiveling seats, including the driver?s seat, and a rear-corner mini-lounge with seating for three and integrated storage compartments to promote interaction in an open social environment.

When the KV7 concept?s push button start is engaged, the entire front dash moves more than six inches toward the driver, bringing all controls within easy reach, including the large multi-use display, which integrates infotainment, climate and navigation systems in one simple-to-use interface controlled by a trackball mouse mounted in the dash. Rear passengers have their own, separate interface in the form of a floating tabletop touch-screen computer display. The KV7 is Wi-Fi enabled, providing both the front and rear displays with Internet capabilities and the ability for multiple passengers to connect their smartphones to the vehicle at one time and sign on to social networking sites.

Building on the experimental use of LED lighting elements found on the exterior, the KV7?s concept?s interior also features multiple flush-to-the-floor accent illumination points and standout green LED lighting throughout the front dash, instrument panel and rear display area to compliment the vehicle?s color palette.

The KV7 concept is powered by Kia?s new Theta II 2.0-liter GDI turbocharged engine, which is capable of delivering up to 285 horsepower, and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.? The pair combines to deliver V-6-like power and performance while achieving better than 30 miles per gallon on the highway.