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08.03.2013 - FormTrends Concept cars of the 2013 GMS: Kia Provo concept
This compact four-seat concept is proof, if proof were needed, of Kia’s design aptitude. Since taking over as design director in 2006, Peter Schreyer (of Audi TT fame) has built a team of experienced designers that have created powerful design-led vehicles in recent years. The Provo is just one more such car to add to the list.
Created in Kia’s European design studio in Frankfurt, the Provo concept is a showcase for the potential of the brand’s B-segment platform, upon which the Soul, Venga and Rio are built. The goal was to create a car that was more accessible to car enthusiasts, and more fun to drive than typical B-segment vehicles.
The Provo’s design was therefore inspired by classic coupes of the ‘60s and ‘70s, but with a horizontal roofline to communicate strength and robustness. Its long hood and truncated rear end give the car its classic proportions, which are joined by a consistent design language with full surfacing all around. Only a couple of lines are used to break up the smooth body panels, giving the car a simple and pure aesthetic that renders it timeless.
Though the profile of the car is notable for its forward canted C-pillar, which adds dynamic motion to the design, and its chrome accented rocker panel, it is the concept car’s front face that is most innovative. Breaking the sculptural, product design-like theme are headlamps consisting of 850 LEDs. This technical approach enables the light to take on a personalised appearance of the owner’s choosing.
Inside, the low-mounted seats continue onto the rocker panels, blending the exterior design with the interior. More than just purely decorative, this detailing enhances ergonomics as well, making it easier get in and out of the car. This design, as well as the quilted aesthetic of the seats and the technical metal touch points of the interior, is a continuation of the design theme first seen on the GT concept shown last year.
The Provo signals not only Kia’s intention to enter the B-segment with a more unique proposition but, like the Pininfarina concept, a move towards a more emotional design aesthetic for compact city cars.
Eric Gallina is a freelance journalist and the editor of Form Trends, a new website covering the automotive design industry and the people who work within it.