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Geneva show: Kia confirms Mini intentions with Provo

Out and about: The Kia Provo concept stayed true to the teaser rendering previously released by the company (shown left).

Provo points to Kia’s premium B-segment Euro baby with attitude


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4 Mar 2013


KIA is seeking to broaden its appeal with a production version of the European-designed Provo concept.

Though no possible arrival date has been announced, the Korean company claims the simultaneous reveal of this show car and the production debut of its Pro_cee’d GT hot-hatch together mark a turning point.

“Whilst no specific production schedule for Provo is on the calendar, the arrival of the new Kia Pro_cee’d GT makes it clear that the company remains committed to delivering desirable, dynamic and stunningly attractive vehicles that will deliver affordable enjoyment to real, everyday motorists.

“The Provo could be just such a car,” it said in a statement.

Unveiled at this week’s Geneva motor show, the three-door, four-seat, all-wheel drive petrol-electric hybrid Provo concept not only showcases Kia’s future design direction, but also its intention to expand the company’s market presence with new niche products.

Following Citroen’s lead with the style-driven DS3, the Provo will be based on B-segment light-car mechanicals – in the concept car’s case the current-generation Rio’s – in order to keep costs and prices down.

However, emulating the Mini’s pan-generational and international success is central to Kia’s aims, with the British icon’s influence all but mentioned in the Provo’s press release.

“Created to deliver a new interpretation of the DNA from sporting coupes of the past with all the advantages of up-to-the-minute technology and materials, Provo blends a clean, simple yet muscular exterior with a stunning interior treatment mixing high-tech and luxury materials that will set pulses racing whether on busy city streets or at the race-track,” it said.

Measuring in at 3.88 metres long, 1.77m wide and 1.35m tall, the Provo concept car heralds the latest incarnation of Kia’s ‘tiger nose’ grille – a motif repeated out back with the tail-lights and rear garnish.

As a nod to the Mini’s customisable ways, the contemporary headlight design is made up 850 configurable LEDs apiece.

Under the sculptured bonnet is a 150kW 1.6-litre GDI gasoline direct injection turbo four-cylinder petrol engine – probably the same as that found in the Pro_cee’d GT – driving the front wheels via Kia’s first dual-clutch transmission – a seven-speed unit.

An electric motor, meanwhile, not only provides traction to the rear wheels, but also provides an extra 33kW of power, and is backed up by a regenerative braking system to help capture and store otherwise lost energy.

Other concept highlights include a wraparound windscreen that hides the blacked-out A-pillars and pillarless doors, giving a “visor-style appearance to the cabin glass with the clamshell-like roof floating above”, while a body coloured C-pillar is meant to evoke a roll-over bar, underlining the coupe-like sleekness.

Aluminium doors with carbon-fibre inner panels offset by neoprene-covered inner sections, push-up electronically activated door handles, and an all-black interior further define the Provo concept.

The latter includes a carbon-fibre dashboard with minimal console bulk and a changeable central display screen for most major vehicle, communication, multi-media and entertainment functions.

Like the exotically presented doors, these are probably less likely to see the light of day in the production version.

However, according to Gregory Guillaume, chief designer at Kia’s European styling base in Frankfurt, the Provo concept is not just a motor show flight of fancy, but an intention to focus on Europe first and foremost.

“This is entirely a car for European tastes and conditions,” he said.

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