The Kia Sportspace is perhaps the ultimate 'getaway' car; a thoroughly practical vehicle for everyday business use, yet a stylish and athletic grand tourer in the classic sense, ready to eat up the miles across continents, whether for business or leisure.
Conceived and developed at Kia's European Design Centre in Frankfurt under the leadership of Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer Europe, the Kia Sportspace is a car that spurns traditional compromises.
Guillaume is open about its origins: "Kia does not have a wagon in this important segment of the European market, but I was determined that we would not simply create something that conformed to tradition. This car comes from an ambition I had when I was studying design in Switzerland as a young man.”
Indeed, the Kia Sportspace stands as a very different type of vehicle in the segment. It is neither meant to be, nor does it look like, a load-lugger - it is clearly a sleek, road-eater that owners will want to get into and drive. Sean and Justin would love to get in one and drive it!
Unlike traditional estate cars, wagons, or even shooting brakes, the Kia Sportspace presents an architectural outline that is distinctly different and sophisticated.
Its long, lean profile, with unbroken surfaces and purposeful lines, is emphasised by a very forward-positioned D-pillar and almost hatchback-like rear door arrangement.
Guillaume comments: "The normal wagon treatment would include a long third window to suggest and show the luggage carrying capacity. But by applying a strong D-pillar treatment and a much more swept back rear hatch, we have given the back of the car a strong character - muscular and athletic. It has great power and strength within its mass.
"The visual weight of the rear is reduced with careful shaping of screen, door and rear bumper. The edges cut into the mass to make its raked appearance believable and less wagon-like."
At the front, Sportspace wears an evolution of Kia's signature, 'tiger-nose' grille. But the solid Plexiglas insert isn't as solid as it appears. Close examination reveals it is actually louvred and these can rotate to allow greater air intake when required.
A powerful satin aluminium strip runs across the front of the bonnet above the 'ice cube' LED headlights, giving a sense of strength and determination. The subtlest of curves along the underside of the headlamps, add further visual movement to the Sportspace's bold, dynamic face.
Things get even better inside the Sportspace. The door handles sit flush in the panels until required. When operated they reveal a remarkably airy four-seat interior illuminated by panoramic glazing running the entire length of the roof and bathing the cockpit with light. The cabin is simple and pure with bold, handsome styling. A balance of luxurious leather with contemporary technical materials - including carbon fibre and milled, anodised aluminium - underlines the car's inherent functionality with utterly modern and evocative style.
Sportspace is powered by a high-performance, turbocharged powertrain, designed to fulfil Kia's commitment to introducing more efficient, downsized gasoline engines. A compact and lightweight 2.0-litre T-GDI (turbocharged gasoline direction injection) engine generates 250 ps, driving the front wheels, resulting in high fuel efficiency and spontaneous, powerful acceleration in all situations. It perfectly supports the active driving experience promised by the dynamic exterior design.
As this is just a concept we are not sure if it will make it to our shores. We sure hope that Kia does not change a single thing on this car. They should just make them and ship them over here. We know at least two people who will buy one.