Kia's new concept is a 'category-buster' we're not sure is cool

Imagine by Kia interior

Imagine by Kia interior

While earlier teasers pegged this as a performance EV concept, there are few technical details offered up for the it, other than that its low-mounted battery pack is charged via induction (wirelessly) and it powers a compact drivetrain.

Guillaume says the Imagine by Kia's design has elements of both a crossover and a "muscular" sedan and that it is intentionally created to not "sit within the industry's predefined vehicle categories".

Imagine by Kia is finished in six layers of hand-applied chrome paint, over top of which the same lands laid a finish of bronze tint. Its windshield blends seamlessly into the roof, both being made from a single pane of curved glass.

Kia has transformed its usual "tiger nose" grille into what it calls a "tiger mask".

"We imagined designing an all-electric vehicle that not only answered consumer concerns around range, performance, recharging networks and driving dynamism, but one that also gave you goose bumps when you looked at it, and made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you drove it", said Gregory Guillaume, the VP for design at Kia Motors Europe.

There's no detail about driving range because that's academic on a concept vehicle, but Kia did reveal this bold new look is a pointer to the design theme for all its future electric cars. The front turn signals are located high up on the hood.

The rear lights are equally compelling. Horizontal wrap-around brake lights are reminiscent of the Kia Stinger. The lighting systems play a key role in underlining the concept car's friendliness and accessibility.

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"The flush-fitting Kia script on the front of the concept lights up and glows as the driver approaches the vehicle, followed by the illuminated tiger mask - a welcoming gesture to the driver at the start of the journey", explains Guillaume.

Kia's interior designer Ralph Kluge calls it a "humourous and irreverent riposte" in the competition of which automaker has the largest screen.

Thanks to the electric powertrain, the chassis architecture is completely different from regular cars.

The back doors are hinged at the rear, so that the interior can feel more open, and the doors are covered with metallic fabric and leather on the inside.

'We imagined designing an all-electric auto that not only answered consumer concerns around range, performance, recharging networks and driving dynamism, but one that also gave you goosebumps when you looked at it, and made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you drove it, ' explained Guillaume. We see some similarities with the recently unveiled Polestar 2, but the Kia is taller without being too much off the ground.

As the goal of a concept is more to provide context for a company's vision of the future, it's no surprise that the Imagine comes somewhat light on details. "It's time to free your imagination, to stop wondering and to start driving!"

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