First Look: Kia KV7 Concept

The windshield doesn't wrap around, but the lines from the windshield to the side windows appear to flow across the A-pillar and the side windows feature the same tapered styling. The doors are the most interesting design element as they appear to be the same suicide style as the Soul Concept, but the rear passenger door is actually of the gull-wing variety.

Inside, Kia's Southern California design studio tried to make it as comfortable as a lounge and as funky as the exterior. It features four rotating captain's chairs, à la the Volkswagen EuroVan, or more recently Chrysler's Town & Country, and a three-seat mini-lounge in the rear. This allows all the occupants, including the driver (as long he or she isn't actually piloting the vehicle); to face each other as in what Kia calls an "inviting social space ideal for a gathering of friends." Part of that inviting social space includes the ability to connect occupants' personal devices to an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot or use the onboard computers. There are two onboard computers -- one accessed through the rear tabletop-video display and the other accessed through the dashboard infotainment system.

Other interior appointments designed to add to the inviting social space are the moveable dashboard that retracts six inches to allow for more passenger space and integrated storage compartments in the rear mini-lounge. The KV7 also features green LED accent lighting built into the floor, dash, and rear-video display.

Although it's officially a concept, the KV7 uses a completely realistic powertrain rather than some outlandish, and actually non-existent, hybrid system. It's powered by Kia's new, turbocharged, direct-injected, 2.0-liter I-4 as found in the Kia Optima SX. It produces 285 horsepower -- 11 more than in the Optima SX -- and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. According to Kia, this combination is good for over 30 mpg highway.

Will it head to production? We didn't get a promise from Kia, but the brand quickly pointed out that its last three concepts have made it to production virtually unchanged. Stay tuned.

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If Kia gets an interior like this on the road before VW can pop out the minibus, they will laugh all the way to the bank.Things like this have been appearing as concepts for decades, but nobody has taken it to the street.

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